Jon Sanders

In early January the Great Freeze of 2010 descended upon the land. At its worst, Floridians were moving to the warmer climes of Greenland, Midwesterners were spelling out SOS with in the snow, and migratory birds were getting the flock back north. And now, another mighty winter storm crawls across the land.

Americans, understanding that nothing in the climate happens without our causation, are looking Washington, D.C. for how our political leaders will change the weather. The peril to the climate has gotten so drastic that even Osama bin Laden is pleading for the Great Satan to do something.

While we wait for Uncle Sam to take action — because after all, there's no question the global mean temperature is the province of the political class — that doesn't mean we can't do our part. Everyone knows that warming the planet requires people consuming energy, driving gas guzzlers and emitting greenhouse gases. There still are small, costly steps that we can take against this cold snap that can really make a difference:

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1. Deflate your tires. Cars with flatter tires get poorer gas mileage. Run flat for Mother Earth.

2. Buy incandescent light bulbs. They consume more energy than compact fluorescent bulbs. Plus, they give off better light, and should you break one, you won't have to call a Hazmat team to deal with a mercury spill. Screw in, turn on, warm up.

3. Ask for plastic, not paper. Make multiple unnecessary trips to the grocery store to buy just one or two items at a time. Be sure to have all your groceries double-bagged. Plastic causes warming somehow, so think of the children.

4. Use lots of hot water. Take long showers, leave the water running while you're on the toilet, use your dishwasher after every meal, don't wash your hands till the water's fully warmed up, etc. Be creative.

5. Leave all the lights on and make sure all doors and windows are improperly insulated. Not only are these common-sense ways to waste energy, but also they are good habits to put into practice now, with all this talk of Floor-and-Trade.

6. Stop walking, jogging, or biking to work; drive your car. It's why you bought it, remember? Besides, it's freezing out there.

7. Don't carpool. Selfish people team up to take advantage of HOV lanes while you idle in a traffic jam, emitting greenhouse gases and enjoying your music and breakfast in peace.

8. Get your veggies shipped in from all over world by huge conglomerates at a great expense of energy, not from those callous local "organic" farmers who only care about making a buck. Greedy locals make me so angry.

9. Eat more red meat and wear more leather. Cows are an underutilized source of greenhouse gas emissions. More demand for beef and leather means more bovine planet warmers. Research has proven that people who eat meat and wear leather are cool. Plus, warm is the new cool.

10. Get rid of your hybrid and buy yourself a big, obnoxious Hummer. A frozen nation cries out for people to up their carbon footprints, and you can be Bigfoot. But don't dare sell the hybrid. Take it out back and set it on fire. You'll bring localized warming to your neighborhood while releasing greenhouse gases. Slap an "I Care" bumper sticker on the behemoth.

11. Support red energy and oppose nuclear power. The United States still gets most of its energy from such red sources as coal and natural gas, but wind and solar have emerged as viable red-energy alternatives as long as their needs for a complement source of base-load generation aren't filled by clean-burning, carbon-neutral nuclear generators. See that they aren't. Support red businesses, too.

12. Buy carbon-hoarding permits. If you just can't emit your fair share of greenhouse gases to stave off this bitter cold, then at least pay people to do the emitting for you. You can buy carbon-hoarding permits from Al Gore's new investing company, Convenient Turnabout Management. Why not claim some of the planetary benefits from Gore's SUV fleet, energy-inefficient mansion and constant jet-setting?

No doubt you're asking, But the Earth's climate is influenced by a complex array of variables, and we know so little about them, so how could these suggestions possibly do a darn bit of good?

The question really boils down to this: Seriously, can you and I actually influence global temperatures by making small but incredibly costly changes in our lives? Really?

The entire regulatory and confiscatory structure to save us from man-made climate change, whatever it may be this month, depends on this simple answer: "Yes, we can!"


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.

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