Monday, December 10, 2007

The importance of critical reading

The explosion of anonymous and semi-anonymous blogs and other non-traditional outlets makes critical reading skills even more key. But even with "mainstream" news outlets, this skill remains important.

For example, take this story from Bloomberg.

Government officials and activists flying to Bali, Indonesia, for the United Nations meeting on climate change will cause as much pollution as 20,000 cars in a year.

Conservative bloggers have jumped all over this, citing it as 'proof' of the hypocrisy of climate change activists, jaunting around the world, sipping their chardonnay. They're probably French too!

20,000 cars sounds like a huge amount of pollution if you have no frame of reference. And this 'objective' news article provided no frame of reference.

20,000 cars represents less than 0.01 percent of all the motor vehicles in the United States alone. This means American-owned cars will cause more pollution in 8 hours than this conference.

Another fact: there are over 20,000 cars in Essex County, one of the most rural, least populous counties in New York state.

This conference climate is going tackling planet-wide issues of climate change, problems that could cause havoc across the globe. The pollution equivalent to that produced by cars in one small US county is a mere drop in the bucket if some of these planetary issues can be addressed.

That is the real perspective needed.

3 comments:

Mark said...

Perhaps next time they can try a videconference?

A Social Skidmark said...

I don't know about conservative bloggers and that stuff. But I do think there is alot of hypocracy involved in it, but there's also alot of hypocracy involved in conservative stances on most of the crap in the world. Who knew?
I do think that the enviroment is very important. But I see alot of crazy stuff. This friend of my Mom's was always talking stuff like that. The last time I saw that woman, whe was in a H2 with a save the planet sticker in the back window.
I don't know about alot of stuff. I'm not the smartest person on the planet but I have to wonder why a United Nations conference on climate change had to be held in Bali or anywhere. Change should start with the people hollaring for change. It's my simple view on things. If someone whats the world to change for any reason, they should lead by example; not exception. It's hypocritical to tell people "Do as I say, not as I do". Just my view for what it's worth. LOL.
ttyl
Kier

Brian said...

Mark,
I'm sure they do videoconferences all the time. But there's no substitute for face to face meetings. Besides, these conferences are only held once every year or two. It's really taking your eye off the ball to be worried about this.

Kier,
In the example you cite, your mom's friend is wrong for not putting her stated desire into action, but that doesn't mean her stated desire is wrong.

There may be a lot of hypocrisy involving people with bumper stickers on Hummers or whatnot, but that in no way invalidates the critical importance of addressing climate change. Especially since climate change is already harming developing countries.

And while you could say that change starts with people hollering for change, it certainly doesn't end there.