The other day I was quoted in a campus newspaper about global warming. Actually, I was asked to give my opinion about a colleague who was serving on a government panel that was looking at global warming. I’m not a global warming expert. In fact, the closest I will ever get to being an expert on global warming is producing copious amounts of  sweat on warm, muggy days. That’s probably too much information, and besides the point…

So, what I said was this — my colleague was a respected scientist so I’m sure he’s doing good work, and that it is interesting that we often wait for experts to tell us how to behave. For example, I wonder how long people in Los Angeles would have continued going outside for a breath of fresh air before thinking, “wow, I can almost taste what I’m breathing, so maybe I should walk to work or take the bus,” or did they need experts to tell them that was not the orange groves  in Orange County they were smelling? How about current situation in the Gulf? Do we really need experts telling us not to pick up the oil globs that are washing up on the beaches — often attached to some poor dying creature — or can we figure that one out ourselves? If the reaction to my comments are any indication, probably not.

What where those comments?  Well, shortly after my name was attached to global warming I received an e-mail from a gentleman who told me the earth’s climate had not changed, and that it was silly to think humans could do anything to change the earth’s temperature. I replied that I hoped the person was right, but that even a one-degree temperature change could be catastrophic (think about what happens when 32 degrees becomes 33 degrees — by the way, scientists can’t agree on whether water freezes at 32 or if it’s really ice that thaws at 32). I then received a reply e-mail to my original reply e-mail that the globe was actually cooling down, to which I wrote yet another reply e-mail and said, “but you just said it hadn’t changed.” I took into account what Mr. Murphy said — “Never argue with a fool, as people might not be able to tell the difference” — so I decided to end this diatribe with this (or something like it) — even if the earth’s temperature is not changing, I believe that the things we need to do to stop global warming, such as walking more, finding cleaner energies, etc. are good anyway, and asked my adversary if he would be kind enough to share his own agenda. After all, he had to have some reason for spending all that time proving that  global warming was a hoax. His reply — I’m still waiting…