Saturday, November 16, 2002

I recently spent some time with an environmental activist who railed against various corporate behaviors as dangerous. All this while one of his friends was puffing a cigarette.

Irony or an object lesson in how people's minds work? If a similarly-minded person ignores risks that are more proven and accepted, how can one expect less-educated, less-informed people to accept premises that are less universally accepted, such as global warming.

Or perhaps they do understand but think that the instant gratification is worth the long-term risks, just as a smoker is fully cognizant of the health implications but finds the short-term pleasure worth the risk. I expect drivers to give up sport utility vehicles wholesale as soon as smokers give up cigarettes in a similar fashion.

I'm not confident in the environmental movement's ability to be more than an occasional gadfly on any issue unless it can point to actual dead bodies buried in the ground. But then, I claim to have some understanding of mass public opinion.

There's a reason I'm not a populist.

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