May 6, 2012

Connect The Dots on Climate Change, St. Armand's Circle

Many times, large corporate interests are at odds with the public interest. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to environmental issues. Since the beginning of manufacturing, it has always been cheaper to dump waste than to treat it properly. Clear-cutting of forests to harvest timber, mountain-top removal to mine coal, and massive toxic chemical application to grow food all speak to this. Recent industrial accidents have highlighted some of the finest devastation to our planet - the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the BP oil spill, the giant toxic coal ash spill in Tenessee, and the list goes on.

Even as many governmental and non-governmental organizations have pushed for measures to prevent such environmental destruction, it comes as no surprise that Big Industry has funded public relations efforts to downplay environmental hazards. Climate change denial is leading the pack. Many organizations have been formed to downplay or completely dismiss the near-universal scientific consensus on the theory and extent of climate change. These groups are typically funded by the same Big Oil and free market think tanks. Although there are now no credible scientists challenging the theory that human activity is a primary component of climate change, political debate continues. Over the last couple of years, the voice of science has been overshadowed by a very small group that has had a very real impact. Popular concern about climate change has waned during these years, even as the window of opportunity to mount an effective response has narrowed.

Floods, drought, warming, cooling, acidifcation, salination, and sea-level rise put our food and water supply at risk, threatening basic human needs. Unfortunately, these disruptions are becoming more and more common across around the world. Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature (1988), a book that brought global warming awareness to the public's attention, claims that rising counts in greenhouse gas emissions are threatening our world. To preserve our planet, scientists indicate that we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million (ppm) to below 350 ppm. McKibben cofounded the group,, that spearheaded yesterday's Climate Impact Day.

A merry group assembled to Connect The Dots on Climate Change in Sarasota at St. Armand's Circle. They wore bathing suits and life vests to underline the potential for sea level rise in this location. They were confronted by a host of Corvette enthusiasts, who were (unsurprisingly) unconcerned about climate change. Sarasota had denied Becca Holmes a permit for the protest, since the Corvette fans had obtained one first. No matter; she would not be deterred. The protesters let shoppers, tourists, and Corvette fans know that this spot might very well be under water in twenty years, if we continue business-as-usual. One protester, Cady Gonzalez, was shocked to find out that one passer-by had never heard of global warming. Before marching once around the Circle, they had a minor discussion as to whether they would chant any slogans. Some felt this would be perceived as hostile, while others felt they would receive more attention, if they were vocal. All things considered, this was a determined, yet considerate, band of protesters. Articulate, too!

Sources: Global Concern for Climate Change Dips Amid Other Environmental and Economic Concerns, Union of Concerned Scientists info on Global Warming, Connect The Dots: Climate Impacts Day,,, Anthropogenic Climate Change and Climate Science Denialism


  1. An ad campaign planned by the corporate front-group the Heartland Institute -- which is funded in part by Pfizer, Comcast and Microsoft -- features the faces of these notorious killers alongside the phrase “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?”

    Sign the petition to tell Comcast, Pfizer, Microsoft and Heartland’s other funders to stop funding Heartland and its dirty climate change denier smears.

  2. Why So Many Climate Scientists Have Stopped Downplaying the Climate Threat,