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The always interesting Camille Paglia...

April 11, 2007 09:05 AM

... talking a great deal of sense about global warming.

As a native of upstate New York, whose dramatic landscape was carved by the receding North American glacier 10,000 years ago, I have been contemplating the principle of climate change since I was a child. Niagara Falls, as well as the even bigger dry escarpment of Clark Reservation near Syracuse, is a memento left by the glacier. So is nearby Green Lakes State Park, with its mysteriously deep glacial pools. When I was 10, I lived with my family at the foot of a drumlin -- a long, undulating hill of murrain formed by eddies of the ancient glacier melt....

Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth's system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida -- as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.

Who is impious enough to believe that Earth's contours are permanent? Our eyes are simply too slow to see the shift of tectonic plates that has raised the Himalayas and is dangling Los Angeles over an unstable fault. I began "Sexual Personae" (parodying the New Testament): "In the beginning was nature." And nature will survive us all. Man is too weak to permanently affect nature, which includes infinitely more than this tiny globe.

She's right, of course. 


I always like to read Camille.

As a Democrat, I agree that she is correct about global warming. But she's also correct in the same column where she explains why the U.S. will never achieve victory in Iraq.

Kind, Gentle and Long   ·  April 11, 2007 11:21 AM

While we can never achieve victory in Iraq, but certainly victory can be achieved by the Iraqis. This will come when they themselves tire of the foreign invaders, al-Qaeda. Returning to the point of the posting, global warming will end when Americans tire of the alarmist…then the marketers like CNN, CBS, NBC, Time, Newsweek, will move on to the next propaganda piece. Follow the money.

Brian   ·  April 11, 2007 01:15 PM

Camille is sounding uncharacteristically dopey in this quote. Of course climate change is natural. Rapid climate change artificially accelerated by humans is, by definition, not natural. These are two different things, and if this is her quote in its entirety, I'm incredibly disappointed that she hasn't educated herself more about the ecological ramifications of this unnatural change -- such as the devastation of a large percentage of species in the next half century. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt on this and assume she's either quoted out of context or having an off day.

pamela   ·  April 11, 2007 04:00 PM

She definitely hasn't been quoted out of context, though I did omit her slamming Al Gore's credibility, as I edited her for length.

Perhaps she has educated herself about human impact on climate change, and found the science in support of those claims to be wanting?

NBS   ·  April 11, 2007 06:30 PM

Bravo. Camille is brave and honest, and willing to challenge orthodoxy at every turn.

On the topic of global warming, you absolutely must not miss the debate that took place between Michael Crichton (with other skeptics) and the Al Gore-ian zombies. The best part is the ending, a happy surprise for thoughtful people who are willing to question the received wisdom.

Link (a PDF document):

Brendan   ·  April 11, 2007 08:40 PM