December 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth Hits Home

My dad was a very successful petroleum geologist at one of the major oil companies throughout his working career. As a petroleum geologist he lived and worked in a number of countries that are known for their oil: Colombia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabi. His scientific bent and his years of applying impirical methods to his work along with having known and liked any number of people from many cultures and backgrounds makes him a wonderful guy to spend time with.

But one thing being a petroleum geologist did is made my dad a naysayer about global warming. For one thing, he thought it was awfully hubristic to think that humans could affect the global climate when the geologically the world is so old and humans, after all, are just a blip on the world's timescale. Geologists learn to read the earth's history in its rocks and they know that the climate has shifted without human help any number of times. I also think that he didn't want to admit that he worked for years in an industry that had contributed to the increase in carbon in the atmosphere. My dad loved the natural world and became a geologist because he wanted to spend time studying it directly.


I long ago decided that my dad was never going to believe that global warming was a real problem and that humans were responsible for doing something to address it. After all, I love talking with my dad and I didn't enjoy arguing with him about something that he was never going to accept.

Imagine my surprise when I was visiting my folks during the Thanksgiving holidays to find a copy of Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, on his end table where he stacks the books he's reading. At first I didn't actually think that he'd changed his mind because he had gotten a copy of Earth in the Balance long ago and he had thought that Gore was missing the big picture. Not any more. He finds Gore's latest book quite credible and was quite impressed with the man who should have been our president. And my dad was finally convinced that global warming was a problem we humans need to deal with now.

That's pretty cool, Al Gore! Because my dad is such a nice guy, sociable person and civic-minded citizen, he'll be helping spread the word now too.

Posted by Mary at December 2, 2006 01:28 PM | Environment | Technorati links |