How much stupidity is needed to win a Pulitzer? The competition is fierce, apparently certain writers are piling it on high and deep in the attempt.
For example, there is a sterling example of post-modern post-journalistic brilliance that just popped up at Salon by David Sirota, Would we give up burgers to stop climate change? As will be seen, the heaping begins with the subtitle: “A new report suggests that adjusting our diet can slow global warming. Now let’s see if our politics will let us”
The first paragraph is quite revealing:
In case you missed the news, humanity spent the Earth Day week reaching another sad milestone in the history of catastrophic climate change: For the first time, measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million, aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.
On the NOAA/ESRL Mauna Loa Observatory CO₂ measurements page, currently the last released monthly atmospheric concentration mean was March 2013, 397.34 ppm. Where the “surpassed 400” came from is quite unknown, not revealed. And overall not that important, as about now is when the annual cycle is peaking. The annual mean is far more scientifically relevant, and was 393.82ppm in 2012. The 2013 mean will not be breaking 400ppm. There may indeed have been a recent daily measurement above 400ppm, which shows why they use monthly means due to the range of daily variations. It will be quite surprising if the final April mean breaks 400ppm.
And how has the ecosystem responded to the “earth-shattering” increase? Crop yields up, the Sahel is greening, etc. Perhaps the ecosystem is having the equivalent of a surge of manic behavior right before a nervous breakdown. Sure, it looks great now, but soon it’ll all come crashing down. Yup, any decade now. No longer away than the next century, certainly.
BUT, there is hope! A new report, just as it says, done by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, former advisers to the World Bank, shows us the way. All we have to do, is give up meat. Bold added:
If you find it demoralizing that we are incinerating the planet and dooming future generations simply because too many of us like to eat cheeseburgers, here’s that good news I promised: In their report, Goodland and Anhang found that most of what we need to do to mitigate the climate crisis can be achieved “by replacing just one quarter of today’s least eco-friendly food products” — read: animal products — “with better alternatives.”
Does this sound like something you’ve heard before? Guess what, it is! The World Watch institute has the report (pdf). It was published at the end of 2009. For 3 ½ years now, this report has been chewed up, digested, rendered into the appropriate final form. Even a major vegan site found their numbers way too high.
Now, suddenly, Mr. Sirota has become aware of this amazing new report which, in the shadow of a nigh-impossible atmospheric CO₂ measurement of currently unknown origin which clearly shows the ecosystem has been broken, gives us the hope of avoiding planetary incineration by switching to great-tasting better-for-us non-animal foods. Which we would gladly do IF we could only overcome the politics!
Forget the Pulitzer, this stuff is GOLD. This is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize of Journalism. Please, feel free to send your recommendations in to Al Gore, I hear he has some pull with the Nobel Committee.
Also notify the publishers of Roget’s Thesaurus, as Mr. Sirota has revealed two previously unknown synonyms for politics, which is that which must be overcome to avert planetary incineration: physiology and instincts.