Some of you may have read about global warming and the fact that islands have already begun to disappear in the Pacific Ocean due to the melting of polar ice caps. Well that is what this column is about, and I may become part of the problem, for reasons that I will get into later. But first I must share a fable with you. Once upon a time, the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Headquarters (NOAH) warned all of the other people in the world, who were consumers working in corporations (CWICs), that there was going to be a flood if they didn't change their ways.
"You must moderate your consumption," NOAH warned. But since inordinate consumption (IC) was the heart and soul of CWIC culture, the people simply figured that NOAH must have lost his mind. And they basically told him so. NOAH continued to broadcast his claims despite widespread public ridicule. He refused to stop even when the administration that he worked for caved in to the political pressure and ordered him to do so. So NOAH was fired and he went camping in the redwoods to meditate. After 40 days of meditation, NOAH was inspired to build a yacht. NOAH liked this inspiration and decided to act upon it because he was sick of backpacker's rations and was moved by a passionate desire to consume fresh fish.
Meanwhile CWICs of every culture and nation throughout the world intensified their inordinate consumption, particularly of the precious viscous fluids that lubricated the terrestrial bearings at the center of their rapidly spinning planet. The CWICs built great machines to suck these fluids out of the earth and burn them. The energy derived from this burning was used to power all of the great and magnificent consumptive items that were the rage of CWIC society. Ironically this energy was also used to power the machines of war that enabled the CWICs to fight over viscous fluid deposits. So the more intensely that the CWICs coveted and fought over the precious viscous fluids, the more rapidly the fluids were consumed.
Early in his scientific career, NOAH had noticed a correlation between increases in viscous-fluid consumption rates and slight but sustained increases in atmospheric temperature. After decades of additional observations and careful study, the now white-haired and long-bearded NOAH hypothesized that the temperature increases were caused by soot particles that escaped from the combustion process and turned the atmosphere into a greenhouse. NOAH actually would have liked to continue his experiments and observations before going public with his hypothesis, but he decided not to wait because his preliminary calculations indicated that immediate action would be required to prevent cataclysmic global disturbances.
We now know, as I sit atop Mt. Rushmore typing frantically and watching the flood waters rise, that NOAH was actually only half right. The waves are beginning to lick the bushy protuberances of Teddy Roosevelt's stone eyebrows. So I'll need to finish this and transmit it to the data satellite quickly. The time frame that NOAH predicted for the flood was accurate almost to the minute. Unfortunately, NOAH's explanation of the heating mechanism was incorrect, which allowed the CWIC scientists to refute his claims and lull CWIC civilization into a false sense of security.
The CWICs became so convinced that NOAH was wrong that they invented a new device that due to its widespread use would ultimately suck up viscosity even faster than the machines of war. The device was called a sport utility vehicle, or SUV for short. Nowadays as angry and terrified former CWICS scramble frantically for higher ground, people tend to say that SUV stood for "suck up viscosity" all along.
The true source of global warming had been revealed years before NOAH's announcement by Flip Wilson, an African-American griot. The griot predicted that the earth would heat up uncontrollably due to critical viscosity loss in the main terrestrial bearing. "It's gonna be hell, y'all," the griot warned. Of course CWICs laughed at the griot more loudly than they did at NOAH. But since the griot got paid for making people laugh, no one thought much of it. NOAH's attempts to build a yacht were thwarted, by the way. Environmentalists in SUVs prevented him from cutting down any trees.
That's the end of the fable.
Now the reason that I might become part of the problem is that my wife has been bugging me to buy her one of those new SUVs; but I keep reminding her of my fable instead. She just laughs. You know, the way that wives sometimes laugh at their husbands in motion pictures. The men in the audience snicker and think, "What a chump. I would never let my wife laugh at me like that." My wife's laughter shook me up so much that I couldn't bring myself to include the portion of the fable where NOAH's ex-wife tells her side of the story on the Oprah show. Anyway, I've decided to approach this problem like a griot instead of like NOAH. So the next time you see my wife and I, we'll probably be driving down the street, smiling and waving from the front seats of our brand new SUV. Of course, ours will have to be solar powered....
Hassaun Ali Ibn Musa Jones-Bey directs the Imagine Peace Project at http://www.imaginepeace.org.