Jim Morris's Thought of the Week (or month, or year, ...)
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Gasoline is the New Tobacco
For centuries, folk wisdom had it that smoking was bad for you; but it wasn't until the 1950s that scientists established a link between smoking and disease. Controversy continued, but after the US Surgeon General and Congress put the warning labels on cigarette packs, behavior started to change. When I moved to Palo Alto in the 1970s, smoking three packs a day, I was assaulted with anti-smoking messages. Co-workers encouraged me to quit, and strangers would treat me like a pariah in public places if I smoked. Within a few years, I quit. When I move to Pittsburgh in the 1980s people were still smoking in the Giant Eagle, but that changed, too. Later, I even changed my opinion about social pressure. Since I was glad to have stopped smoking and realized the social pressure had helped me, I decided it was a good thing. So science, buttressed by government policy, and followed by a cultural shift, caused a real, beneficial change.
Maybe the same thing will play out with climate change and CO2 emissions. Science has spoken, the Supreme Court has weighed in this week, and Prius cars proliferate. At a recent social gathering we stood around the parking lot dissing those who arrived in gas guzzlers.
Next Week: Atheism is the new Gay.
posted by Jim Morris @ 11:27 AM