global warming

Family Values, Global Warming, and Memories of the Future

by Joe Tye CEO Values Coach Inc. on November 22, 2010

in Environmental Commentary

It’s ironic that some of the shrillest chest-thumpers for “family values” are also the most adamantly opposed to taking any real action to reduce greenhouse gases and minimize our energy dependence of foreign oil. If these people really cared about family values, even the slightest possibility that future generations might be seriously harmed by global warming would be cause for an all-out “put a man on the moon” urgency to minimize environmental damage.

Wikipedia writes regarding the climate change controversy, “The controversy [surrounding global warming] is significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, where there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view.” – Wikipedia

For many years, I was active in the fight against unethical marketing practices of the white collar drug pushers of Big Tobacco. Their main tools for fighting pro-health measures were doubt and denial. They didn’t need to prove that smoking was healthy, they just needed to sow enough doubt for their legislative supporters to justify not voting for those measures.

The opponents of meaningful environmental protections are using the same strategy. They know they could never prove that the millions of tons of pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere are not responsible for global warming, but they don’t need to. All they need to do is create enough doubt for their legislative allies to block legislation which they are doing very effectively. (except in California).

If the family values chest-thumpers really cared about their future families instead of insisting upon 100% proof from a scientific community where there is already substantial consensus that global warming is a real threat to our world and that human pollution is a substantial contributor they would be willing to make the minimal sacrifices needed to save both energy resources and the natural environment for their grandchildren.

The book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond is ultimately about stewardship or more precisely, its absence. The author describes how a number of ancient societies collapsed mostly as a result of human-induced environmental degradation. He points out that because of rapidly accelerating population growth and the globalized economy, the stakes today are higher than ever before.

In his final chapter which is entitled “Reasons for Hope” he comments on the seriousness of the environmental challenges facing us, then says: “If we don’t make a determined effort to solve them, and if we don’t succeed at that effort, the world as a whole within the next few decades will face a declining standard of living, or perhaps something worse.”

Every parent searches for a better world for their children. That is the ultimate charge, and challenge, of stewardship. And it is a test we are failing and no one is failing it worse than the family values hypocrites who care more about cheap gas today than they do for the health and welfare of their grandchildren tomorrow.

About the author – Joe Tye founded Values Coach in 1995. He teaches and speaks on values-based leadership and cultural transformation. He is the author or co-author of eleven books, the best known of which is “Never Fear, Never Quit”. He is a frequent speaker and consultant for hospitals, corporations, government and education agencies, and professional associations. He lives in Iowa but spends at several weeks every year hiking in the Grand Canyon.

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