And it's this: global warming. Not so much global warming itself, but the fact that Americans are still debating its validity.
I really wish this had never become a political issue (I suppose I feel that way about a lot of topics), because it usually means that about 50% of Americans choose to be for it, and 50% against it, completely regardless of the evidence. Don't we just want to know the truth about what is going on and do the right thing?
But I guess not. My friends at NPR have been saying lately that there is a recent decline in people caring about global warming. Why? Apparently, because people look outside their homes in the winter and see snow falling and think to themselves that because they are not noticing any change, there is nothing to be worried about.
So, I want to know: who is in charge of sending out the memos? Even though the original drastic predictions of global warming may have been, well... drastic, there is ample evidence that things are changing (more than the usual changes the earth goes through in its process of cyclical coolings and heatings), and it looks like things are changing differently than usual because of our influence on the atmosphere. I am about to have a baby, and I would like to be educated about the world I am presenting her with. If this planet is going to be different in 20 or 30 years, I want to know so that I can make a decision about whether or not I'm okay with the direction it is going.
So, am I all for changing the country's sources of power and energy and immediately jumping on that band wagon? Honestly, I'm not there yet; I lack information, and I have a lot to learn before I can make a judgment about the best way to go about things (and much smarter people than me are still trying to figure it out). But I do want to know who in the scientific community raised their hand and volunteered to communicate general findings about what is going on at the poles and how that will effect us much closer to home in two or three decades. I want to know, because judging by the general disagreement among American consumers, I think that those volunteers are...
...sleeping on the job.
For more reading:
An interesting and recent article from the New York Times
A very thought-provoking article from the L.A. Times
Results of a survey from the scientific field in a CNN article