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Climate Change Dialogue

The climate change issue is a real one. It is now widely accepted that our climate is changing, and the Earth is warming. No one can deny this, since meteorlogical data confirms the last few years are the warmest on record. The only discussion whether this effect is manmade or natural.

What opponents of environmental activism fail to state, however, is that even if these changes are natural, that is still not a reason to refrain from action. Quite the contrary; if this is a natural phenomenon, it is all the more reason to take whatever action we can not to make it worse.

Their contention would be that we do not know that climate change is necessarily harmful. However, numerous empirical data make clear that it is disrupting weather pattern, habitability, etc.

However, climate change is only one piece of the puzzle. The fact is that there are a whole range of environmental concern whcih we have neglected for far too long.

Part of the reason for this is imple indifference. However, another reason is that the environment, like evry other issue, has become the subject of partisan warfare, rather than an open, genuine discussion. The reason for this is the general polarization and divisiveness which has pervaded our political atmosphere. For more on this, you may read Our Political Functionality.

Right now though, our purpose here is to look at the various aspects of trhe environemnt, and how it may benefit from true deliberation.

There are numerous ways ion whcih the environment requires our attention and open deliberation. For example, in the realm of energy consumption. Right now, (March 2005), oil prices are rising to record levels. The reason for this is largely to demand from new economies, mainly China and India. The question we must now ask is to what degree we want to be subject to this pressure.

To what degree do we wish to dependent on foreign oil? To what degree are we ready to help to make our economy more self-sufficient? what resources are available to help us in this?

These are alll questions which must be answered. But to answer them, we cannot simply repudiate any valid need for our nation to have access industrial energy supplies. Nor can we simply assert our right to unlimited energy however we want it. In other words, we cannot fall into the same partisan, dogmatic grooves which have pervaded this debate for far too long.

What is required is a new, open-minded outlook. We need to be, on the one hand, ready to understand and identify with America's goals as a nation. We need to be ready to buy into this effort, to show our willingness and readiness to be active members of the national community.

And on the other hand, we need to be ready to acknowledge the inherent constraints on our ability to consume. We need to be able to recognize that alternative apperoaches to energy consumption and development are not negations of our rights as a nation. Rather, they strengthen our ability to control our destiny and to protect our future. By acting as a community and heeding our public concerns, we will only serve affirm our national stregnth, not negate it.

In other words we cannot fall into the trap of what we have been told is correct left-wing or rgith-wing thinking. We can only use a proces which is genuinely open, takes note of the actual paths open to us, and takes a thorough and open exploration into them. This is precisely where deliberation's strengths lie. We invite you to join the process.

Created on the NCDD wiki by members of the dialogue & deliberation community.

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