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Good Work If You Can Get It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Father, forgive me for I have sinned. It has been – well, um …. – waaaaaay too long since my last confession.

I know a lot of people like to come in and come clean for the holidays. Cleanse the spirit and all that. That’s not my purpose today, although it is a co-benefit.

For most of the time since I was last here, it’s been pretty much my usual minor stuff. Cursing the traffic. Tearing the do-not-remove tag off one of my pillows. Not throwing away my Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for three full weeks.

But I know it’s serious business when you violate one of the Ten Commandments, and that’s why I’m here. It’s this woman. No, I’m not here about commandment No.7. The one I’m having trouble with is No.10 – I covet the heck out of her job.

Naomi Oreskes is not a scientist, and what education she has is in mining and social studies. But she has become an intellectual leader of the global warming movement by calling herself an historian of science. Aren’t we all historians of science?

But she talks the game. Her books and “scholarly articles” are the typical vicious attacks on anyone who doesn’t toe the global warming line. Her big innovation seems to be comparing those who challenge the science of global warming to those who challenged the science of acid rain, second-hand smoke and DDT – a comparison that does not really work as she thinks it does.

But whatever she says, it’s working. She’s been called a fast-rising star in the environmental movement. She has two jobs – an administrator/professor gig at the University of California and a sinecure teaching her science history courses at Harvard.

She travels the country signing her books, flying the 2,500 miles from Boston to Utah regularly to enjoy the slopes at the Grand Tetons in Utah and lecturing us on how we need to reduce our carbon footprint and her university friends on how they should divest of fossil fuel stocks.

She’s well-paid – Cal waived its maximum salary rule to give her a raise and Harvard provided her with a place to live.

And this is no squat, military-style dump. It’s a 5,287-square-foot mansion outside of Boston. It has five bedrooms, three baths, two fireplaces, an island kitchen, a full basement and five spaces designated as “other rooms.” It is a sprawling structure with a farmhouse look, and it is one of the nicest, most expensive houses in the area.

She also speaks approvingly of the Church, Father. In June, she tweeted: “Much 2 like in #Encyclical esp: 2 blame population growth instead of extreme … consumerism is 1 way of refusing 2 face the issues.”

So, as you can see, she agrees with Pope Francis that consumerism is a problem. She thinks we all should live more simply, use fewer resources, do less to hurt the environment.

But this concerns me a bit.

They say new houses such as the one Orestes lives in generate about 78 pounds of carbon emissions per square foot. At 5,287 square feet, that comes to 412,386 pounds of carbon emanating from this one house.

Assuming she takes her live-small nostrums more seriously in California and has a house only half as big there, that’s more than 600,000 pounds of carbon unleashed so one college teacher/global warming scold/conspiracy theorist can have a place to lay her head at night.

Add to that all her flights – commercial aircraft produced 705 million tons of carbon last year – the good professor could have days when she nears 1 million pounds of carbon footprint. That’s a footprint that would make Shaquille O’Neal proud.

I can’t help it, Father. I like the idea of flying first-class around the country, being fawned over by admiring subjects, eating at the finest restaurants, getting a free mansion from my boss, working not one but two jobs as essentially the Alex Jones of the global warming movement and taking lavish vacations.

And I have to admit I admire the moxie it takes to do all these things and lecture people on the evils of consumerism, divesting in the carbon fuels that make all her globetrotting possible and accusing others of misrepresenting their aims because they are in the pay of dark forces.

She says she’s not in this to make money and that if she had wanted to get rich, she would have stayed in mining. But there is a line of products – shirts, sweaters, coffee cups, etc. – that features her likeness, which is something else I think would be nice, though my desire for that does not, I think, rise to the level of covetousness.

I know I have some serious Hail Marys coming for this, and I’m prepared to do them. But it would be even worse if I got this job. Then I’d have to be here every week talking about hypocrisy.

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