Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Truth, Justice, and the Environment

The news today seems vaguely familiar. A leader goes before a governing body and warns of a disaster facing the planet. Those who don't want to believe the warnings do everything from ignoring the warnings to deriding the messenger, calling him misguided and wrong.

Today it was former Senator Al Gore warning the United States Senate about the impending problem of global warming, imploring them to take action to protect the planet and its people. Why does this seem familiar? Two young men in the 1930s crafted a similar story. A leading scientist goes before the ruling Science Council to warn of an impending doom facing the world. The council fails to act, and ultimately, the entire population of the planet die, except for one.

The two young men who wrote this story were Joe Siegel and Gerome Shuster. The scientist in their story was named Jor-El. The sole survivor of the planet's destruction was Jor-El's son Kal-El, who was rocketed away from the doomed world by his father. As his home world of Krypton died, young Kal-El arrived on Earth, where he was adopted by a kindly farm couple who taught him right from wrong. He went on to stand for truth, justice, and the American way!

Superman is part of the American cultural mythos. Krypton was fictional, but Earth is not. I don't know if global warming is caused by the activities of humans, but until we do, we cannot go wrong by being cautious, taking care of our environment. Like Mr. Gore said, this is not a political issue, but a moral one.

Ultimately if we are responsible for climate change to the point of disaster, the earth will go on. However, there is no guarantee it will go on with us aboard. The planet could ultimately change to where other life, better adapted to the new environment, would supersede humanity.. Even in a milder change, melting polar ice caps could flood coastal cities, cause billions of economic loss, and drastically change life for our descendants.

Here's hoping the governments of earth are smarter than the Krypton Science Council. Our future, and that of future generations depend on it.

As an aside, click on Superman's "S" Shield to read an interesting web page about the evolution of this iconic symbol.

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