Antarctica: The Next Gated Community
by Patricia Draznin

Market shares of Planet Earth fell sharply this quarter as intergalactic investors noted forecasts of a tropical January for Fargo, North Dakota. Do we have a problem, Houston? Or is Global Warming just another virus hoax like the Budweiser Frogs Screensaver?

The heated debate on the midlife crisis of our 4½ billion-year-old planet is dividing Americans into Global Warring factions. In one corner wearing recycled hemp are THE BELIEVERS, who are planting trees, bicycling to work, and knitting fiberglass afghan cozies to insulate their hot water furnaces. In the other corner are THE NON-BELIEVERS, proponents of the Chicken Little Theory (“Who needs those glaciers anyway?”) and defenders of the proposed 28th Amendment: the Right of the People to own a midsize Hummer H2 and drive twelve miles over six-lane asphalt terrain on three tanks of gas in search of nine consecutive parking spaces. And somewhere in the middle are the AGNOSTICS, who are still driving their SUVs but carpooling.

Which brings us to our favorite part of the column, where Oh Zone Analysts are standing by for your penetrating questions on Global Warming:

Q: What is Global Warming and how can we cash in? According to earth science researchers like Former Future President Al “Boo-Hoo” Gore, the earth’s temperature is rising. This brings inconvenient consequences like the melting of the polar ice caps, a surge in greenhouse gases, and the way my Thermos of coffee just exploded on the windowsill. Now might be a good time to invest in condos in West Antarctica. And arks.

Q: How do they measure the earth’s temperature, anyway? Earth scientists track temperature histories by analyzing ancient ice, tree rings, and old videos of The Weather Channel. Past data is compared to current temperatures gathered from land and sea, and also by feeling the earth’s forehead.

Q: If the earth is warming, what’s causing it? Warming is largely caused by human acts such as the clearing of forests, the burning of fossil fuels, and the toxic emissions released during political conventions. It is also due to wasting energy, like leaving your computer running overnight, or toasting a bagel when you could have just eaten it frozen.

Q: How will Global Warming affect my children’s chances of getting into Harvard? Boston might be underwater but Cambridge should be okay.

Q: If Global Warming is real, why aren’t we all convinced? Global Warming is the invisible celebrity that may never see its 15 minutes of fame until we only have 15 minutes left. Or at least until it gets its own TV reality show.

Copyright 2006 Patricia Draznin


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