Hot Stuff 7/18/10 Everyone is talking about the summer heat wave, as if it is something that will pass. I hate to be pessimistic. I prefer to think of myself as someone who is hopeful. A hopeful pessimist. To all you optimists, I pose this question: do you think the problem of global climate change, documented to be caused by human activity, is going to vanish without human intervention?
I have often wondered about optimism and pessimism and the idea of the glass half full, half empty. As an avowed pessimist, I tend to look at the dark side of things and curse my nature. Why can’t I see the good in things? Why am I the arbiter of the dire? Is this a curse?
Or, could this propensity be a blessing in disguise? If it weren’t for the worrier, the pessimist, the kvetch in me, I would probably never think about the question of climate change. I might, for instance, be like, say a George Bush or a Rush Limbaugh (both optimistically ignorant) and be able to brush off the reality of these summer warming trends while basking in the glory of a let’s live for today, God is in control philosophy. Or if I were a Sarah Palin (heaven forbid), I might be inclined towards greater population growth, abortion be damned, at any cost. Whatever happened to ZPG?
I am surely blessed because I know there are many, like me, who stir up enough trouble to keep the earth spinning. We look at an imperfect world and ask “How can I make it a better place?” I am pretty sure that if we leave the world in the hands of the cockeyed optimist, we’ll have a pretty good time. We won’t worry about our deficit, oil spills (“dig, baby, dig”), or health care. We won’t worry, because they don’t worry. In fact, if we pessimists stop trying to fix things, I’m pretty sure there will be nothing left to worry about.