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Pretending to live green



Sen. James Inhofe caught lots of flack recently for his objections to plans for holding Al Gore's Live Earth concert on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. The concert, scheduled for July 7, is intended to gain support for the fight against global warming.

"There has never been a partisan political event at the Capitol, and this is a partisan political event," Inhofe said.

Although I don't always agree with Inhofe, he is correct this time. Everything Gore does is political. The son of Tennessee's late Sen. Albert Gore Sr., the former vice president was raised to become president. He didn't succeed the first time he gained the presidential nomination, and he's not currently a candidate, but he is still alive. Even better, he's found a way to keep himself in the public eye without federal election spending limits. Through his film, "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore has become the self-proclaimed savior of the planet from global warming, which he blames on civilization's excessive use of carbon-based energy sources.

This is an interesting point of view from a man whose own 10,000-square-foot home reportedly uses approximately 20 times the energy for lighting, heating and cooling of the national average of American families. He avers that he is "carbon neutral," because he purchases energy offsets that promote energy savings in other ways.

By the dictionary definition of "neutral," I interpret "carbon neutral" to mean "I'm not helping, either."

Yes, I know that many scientists around the world believe that global warming is caused by the actions of human beings. I also am aware that some highly respected scientists disagree about the causes or whether observed temperature fluctuations are anything other than normal variations in the Earth's climate over eons. I won't accept such statements as "a consensus of scientists" believe this or that. Science is not based on consensus. For anyone who thinks otherwise, I would name just a few of many earlier scientists who disagreed with conclusions drawn by virtually all of their respective contemporaries: Copernicus, Galileo and Einstein.

At any rate, by Gore or good sense (I'm not saying whether those are mutually exclusive), concern about global warming and "living green" have become fashionable. The concern, I believe, is sincere. Some of the "living green" efforts seem hypocritical. For example, we see actor John Travolta reportedly expending enormous quantities of aviation fuel to fly one of his five private jets from California to England for a global warming event where he urged energy conservation.

Trendy brides even can find hints on having conspicuously green weddings to demonstrate their concern. Online suggestions include purchasing an organic silk or hemp wedding dress, seeking out a caterer to provide organic and vegetarian entrées, and holding the ceremony and reception near each other, if not at the same location, to avoid having guests driving more.

How about this for a far greener ceremony: Don't invite guests. Let the bride and groom walk to city hall in old clothes to get married, then trudge home to recycle the plastic, OK? If you can't live without a honeymoon, hitchhike to the Live Earth concert on a continent near you.

The 24-hour concert will go on around the globe, even if the Capitol is not among the televised backdrops. I will remain happier not knowing how much carbon dioxide will be added to the atmosphere by the organizers, performers and members of the audience.

Murphy is a freelance writer who lives in Norman.

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