ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar!


Mother Nature versus Human Nature

Following any huge snowstorm, two things are predictable. One, the media will remind you not to go anywhere (like you could under a couple feet of snow.) Two, many people will seriously claim to have found startling new evidence that global warming doesn't exist. This new discovery called "ice" apparently eluded scientists for several centuries, but now that it's been found, well, just forget all that climate change talk.

Okay, that's enough mocking of climate change deniers. We should show compassion. Deniers aren't just drones suddenly claiming to be scientific geniuses because they worship a talking head funded by the invisible hand of industry. They're people, too. And they're hurting.

Just like a denier bringing scientific consensus to a halt with a single ice cube, I can prove it. Ever since the world-wide discussion on the problem of climate change began, the denial movement has transitioned exactly through the five stages of grief:

1. Denial (There's no climate change happening!)
2. Anger (Climate change is a liberal myth!)
3. Bargaining (Okay, maybe it's real, but we can't address it now.)
4. Depression (A global consensus of scientists say it's real? Crap, I might have to get off the couch.)
5. Acceptance (Okay, fine! Wait! If there's nothing we can do about it, why get off the couch?)

Notice how the Acceptance phase transitions seamlessly into rationalization: I'll accept climate change exists IF YOU PROMISE to tell me the situation is hopeless. This is a primal response at the core of human nature and the source of a climate change denier's pain. We all instinctively know that acknowledging a problem means there will probably be some kind of work involved afterwards.

Being humans, all sides of the debate see the it's-hopeless-so-do-nothing angle as a tempting offer, so our minds move in quickly to close the sale: Is climate change really that bad? If the roof is still standing and the house isn't on fire and American Idol is still on, can we honestly say there is a problem? Heck! Climate change might even work in our favor. If the earth heats up and the sea rises, that increases the chance that you'll own beachfront property. Why not roll the dice? Maybe during the scrambling of the earth's climate zones, the band of scorching temperatures at the equator will widen, and the Caribbean will come to you.

Surfing while on the couch! Literally!

The climate change denial dynamic reminds me of veteran home-owning couples. If you are one, this exchange will sound familiar: Look, there's a hole in the wall. It's not that bad. Fix it! No! If you don't fix it, I'm not going to your dumb movie. Aw, but it's a Saturday! All right, I'll fix it. Wait, why not think of it as a free window?

When discussing climate change, we're not just fighting knee-jerk contrarians and considering fair questions from independent thinkers, we're struggling against human nature itself. That's a double bummer because even if stopping the effects of global warming is impossible, just by trying to clean up the environment, we'd accomplish lots of good. Surely there are worse fates.

Human nature's work here is almost done. Having successfully rationalized us away from any effort, or acknowledgment of error, it's time to apply the finishing move that concludes all human activity: the spin. So here we go: When it comes to global warming, we're not fiddling while Rome burns, we're just not afraid of change!

Larry Nocella writes The Semi-True Adventures of Lar blog at He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to The book is available on as a paperback and Kindle eBook. It is also available for other eBook readers.