Educating the public

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue May 9 13:36:50 MDT 2000

(New York City has just declared an Environmental Emergency. It has been
over 96 degrees for the past 3 days and there are deep worries about a
blackout. My building has shut down half the elevators and urged tenants to
keep electricity use to a minimum. The heat wave has thrown maintenance for
a loop at Columbia University, as air conditioners--normally not turned on
before June--are not ready for use. Never has the university seen it so hot
in early May. My department was let out early and I took the opportunity to
go running my normal 4 miles in Central Park a couple of hours early. After
completing my route, I am drenched in sweat and leaving the park, where I
catch the eye of a short, bearded, rather perplexed looking middle-aged man.)

HIM: With the weather like this, what's the summer gonna be like.

ME: A season in hell?

HIM: What's going on?

ME: (Pointing to a string of cars waiting at a red light at the entrance to
the park). That's what's going on. They're causing global warming.

HIM: Oh yeah, pollution.

ME: Actually, not pollution at all. It's carbon dioxide, the normal output
of an internal combustion engine. When it hits the atmosphere, it causes a
greenhouse effect, raising the temperature.

HIM: That's crazy.

ME: Only if you think that the capitalist system is crazy. General Motors
depends on car sales to make profits. The more cars that are sold, the
hotter it gets. We don't just have to worry about the heat. We also have to
worry about a new outbreak of West Nile Encephalitis from the mosquitoes
that survived an abnormally hot winter. Or about getting cancer from the
Malathion the city used to try to kill them.

HIM: And we get stuck with two nobodies running for president.

ME: We don't need good candidates. We need a revolution.

(He smiled and waved as I trotted off back to my apartment.)

Louis Proyect
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