This week has been a real push and pull on my climate consciousness. We had been looking forward to attending the GreenTown Conference at University of Illinois for weeks. This would be our first opportunity to show off the model of our project in Bronzeville to a large conference. The conference was also packed with some real leaders in the sustainability world like the Swedes who have outpaced the United States by far. Sweden comes in 6th place in environmental sustainability while we come in at 86th. That’s depressing. Nonetheless we were excited about attending and hearing from sustainability leaders from our neck of the woods like Gordon Gill of Smith and Gill Architects. We were also ecstatic to find the Chicago Metropolitan Area Planning Commission had added food production to the list of important things to be considered in sustainability. A bunch of grapes shipped in from Chile to Chicago has a big carbon footprint.
Just after setting up our 5.5 ft. x 3 ft. model we set down to check emails and get ready for the first panel discussion. I booted up my IPad mini, logged on to the UIC guest wifi and settled in with a cup of coffee. My mistake was reading the first email that popped up. It was about Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune and his unbelievably stupid tweet regarding global warming. In case you missed it here’s what he tweeted. “"I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night.” Wow, at that moment I wished he was fighting fires in California with a dry hose. I quickly reasoned that wouldn’t be fair to the burning homes or forests.
GreenTown is just one of many organizations attempting to bring together people who have a healthy respect for the planet and who are really worried that we’re in big trouble if we don’t do something and fast. It’s people like Pat Sajak that have our country ranked #86 in environmental sustainability. Just this week it was determined that 100% of California is in drought (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA). Interestingly enough Sajak lives part of the time in California. You would think he might have smelled the smoke or at least heard about the devastation the drought is causing. Of course he does admit to drinking on the job so maybe we can attribute his remarks to alcoholic brain damage. Whatever!
GreenTown was still a terrific event. We made great contacts. Intelligent people were all over the place. People who have followed the scientific literature and considered both sides of the equation. Possibly one or more of them might have been skeptics at one time or another. The point is can we really take the chance? Below is one of my favorite cartoons by Joel Pett.
California is really in a drought. Across the world people are suffering from intermittent drought and flooding. Storms are getting worse, tornadoes are more frequent and more virulent. So Pat can we get a “U”
For Understanding Climate Kamikaze because that is exactly what we will be doing if we listen to people like U.
I don’t want to forget to mention one other detail, Pat. You were born in Chicago a city that sits on the site of 21% of the world’s fresh water. We’re starting a petition that will completely ban you from coming into any Great Lakes Basin region to live when the rest of the country is out of potable water. After all we’re racists who discriminate against jarhead deniers.