About five years ago, Michael Crichton gave a speech at the National Press Club Washington, DC, where he put forth his view on global warming. I hope you the read the whole speech found here. Food for thought for when Earth Hour comes around in a few days and Earth Day in about a month: Power to the People (borrowed from Laura).
He ends with this:
Finally, and most important — we can't predict the future, but we can know the present. In the time we have been talking, 2,000 people have died in the third world. A child is orphaned by AIDS every 7 seconds. Fifty people die of waterborne disease every minute. This does not have to happen. We allow it.
What is wrong with us that we ignore this human misery and focus on events a hundred years from now? What must we do to awaken this phenomenally rich, spoiled and self-centered society to the issues of the wider world? The global crisis is not 100 years from now — it is right now. We should be addressing it. But we are not. Instead, we cling to the reactionary and antihuman doctrines of outdated environmentalism and turn our backs to the cries of the dying and the starving and the diseased of our shared world.
And if we are going to remain too self-involved to care about the third world, can we at least care about our own? We live in a country where 40% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. Where schoolchildren pass through metal detectors on the way to class. Where one child in four says they have seen a murdered person. Where millions of our fellow citizens have no health care, no decent education, no prospects for the future. If we really have trillions of dollars to spend, let us spend it on our fellow human beings. And let us spend it now. And not on our impossible fantasies of what may happen one hundred years from now.