Wait, there’s ice in the Arctic?
RNC overshadows climate reality check
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 16:09
My job requires me to stay up-to-date with the latest in current events news on campus, around the country, and across the world. Last week, the front pages of the newspapers and websites I most often frequent were plastered with coverage from the Republican National Convention.
I scrolled through page after page of conservatives praising their heroes and liberals pouring satire on their opponents. And somewhere, lost in the wasteland of partisan politics, I strayed across the news that the polar ice cap has reached its smallest area in recorded history. At 1.58 million square miles, it eclipsed the previous low record of 1.61 million set in Sept. of 2007.
Meanwhile, at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney accepted his party’s nomination to run against Barack Obama in this fall’s presidential election. In an acceptance speech that was heavy on metaphors and light on actual ideas for moving our nation forward, Romney even took the time to mock President Obama’s dedication to environmental causes.
And, in another corner of the world, the Royal Dutch Shell company has begun preparing to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean, off Alaska’s northwest coast. Rather than taking mother nature’s hint that global warming has gone far enough, that we need to stop pumping nearly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every single day, the capitalists in control of America’s economy continue their profiteering, with no regard for environmental consequences.
And even with this horror story unraveling in the Arctic, our nation’s eye was focused upon an ice hockey arena in Tampa, Florida. The newspapers reported not on dramatic events that will very soon be shaping the future of our earth, but instead upon trivial speeches and clichés at a political rally. The conservatives cheered, the liberals jeered and the environmentalists shed a tear.
In America, we depend upon the news media to inform us on what is going on in the world. We are in an age of instant communication, an era of constant information bombardment. The barrage of constant news that we have access to is unprecedented in history, and yet some of the most important events of our day are being completely underwhelmed by trifling, bickering politics.
Because I nurture a passion for the environment, I tend to come across environmental news on a regular basis. To the average American, who may only take a pass at the headlines each day, these issues remain hidden. To think that desperately important headlines such as these are not reaching the masses in our age of instant information is sickening. The news media need to step up to their duties, stop covering political garbage, and seek out those headlines that people need to hear most.
Nathan is a senior majoring in landscape architecture. Follow him on twitter @nwstotts.