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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”

    It’s a good week for global warming activists

    President Bush plans to give a speech at the White House today outlining, for the first time, a specific long-term strategy for curbing carbon dioxide emissions. The speech precedes a summit tomorrow and Friday in Paris between the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said yesterday that Bush plans to lay out a strategy that includes “”realistic”” goals for curbing emissions. These goals will likely include some kind of restriction on carbon dioxide from power plants, new incentives to speed the adoption of non-polluting energy technologies and possibly an eventual goal of halving emissions by 2050. While the effectiveness of any non-binding goal will always be undermined by lack of enforcement, the glaring oversight of the Kyoto Protocol, Bush’s speech and the Parisian summit do mark an important shift in tone, if not action. Bush, who has been a continual roadblock to international climate initiatives, may simply be trying to warm his climate legacy. But despite the shallow political motives, the effects may have long-lasting effects. A change in national debate, as well as the debate over multiple climate initiatives on the Senate and House floor this summer, may provide significant momentum to emissions reductions efforts by a new president in January. Any commitments Bush can secure with China or India will provide fertile soil for future discussions. Be sure to check the news tomorrow and Friday to see the results of the summit.

    – Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.


    It’s a bad week for polygamy

    Raids on polygamist sects are almost always uniformly fascinating, and the recent seizure of more than 400 children from a polygamist compound in Eldorado, Texas, looks no different. The largest child custody case in Texas history is raising difficult questions about the government’s right to separate polygamist families. Although there were serious allegations of abuse levied against adults in the compound, the raid resulted in the separation of hundreds of children from their parents, who may not all have been uniformly abusive – and many of the parents in the sect are claiming they were deceived into leaving their children and returning to the compound. The case presents a murky moral dilemma for those involved: Is living in a polygamist family automatically child abuse?

    At what age can one choose to participate in polygamy, and should all polygamist families be separated as a matter of course? Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here. Even as the raid protected abused children, it removed many others from the care of their parents, and there is no end to the drama in sight.

    ð- ðððððððSarah Devlin is a sophomore majoring in English and political science


    It’s an ugly week for part-time environmentalists

    Earth Day is today. The UA will celebrate with a Sustainability Fair, featuring dozens of exhibits and presentations about how to live a “”greener”” life. The fair includes prize giveaways and a special Farmer’s Market.

    Talk is cheap, but when it comes to the environment, it costs us all. Presentations and lectures do nothing to undo the effects of our consumptive lifestyles. The trend of “”going green”” is just a trend, and it won’t create any real change without action.

    The ugly truth: The real core of sustainability is not in more stuff, like hybrid cars, fluorescent light bulbs and organic cotton jeans. A better brand of sustainability is simple living. Take shorter showers rather than invest in grey-water recycling equipment. Instead of buying a Toyota Prius, buy an old Ford Festiva (which gets almost the same gas mileage). Rather than recycling plastic drink bottles, don’t buy them in the first place. Consumer-focused environmentalism is an attempt to have cake and eat it too.

    Doing something good for the environment requires a sacrifice. Sacrifice hurts. By hosting and thus legitimizing this feel-good environmental hippie fest, the university encourages a brand of guilt-free consumerism. Be for the Earth or against it, but please don’t claim both.

    ð- Mike Hathaway is a senior majoring in geography and Spanish and Portuguese.

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