Global warming at our doorstep

All of a sudden, it's OK to talk about climate change again. The weather event known as Sandy - or, if you're part of the media in-crowd, "Superstorm Sandy" - was so intense and overwhelming that many people who tuned out the warnings about bigger, stronger storms are now seeing things that make them go "hmmmm."

The biggest signal of a renewed climate-change conversation, though, came from Bloomberg Business Week, which pulls no punches in the cover story for its current issue: "It's Global Warming, Stupid." Just one excerpt.

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In his book The Conundrum, David Owen, a staff writer at the New Yorker, contends that as long as the West places high and unquestioning value on economic growth and consumer gratification—with China and the rest of the developing world right behind—we will continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions trap heat in the atmosphere. Fast trains, hybrid cars, compact fluorescent light bulbs, carbon offsets—they’re just not enough, Owen writes.

Yet even he would surely agree that the only responsible first step is to put climate change back on the table for discussion. The issue was MIA during the presidential debates and, regardless of who wins on Nov. 6, is unlikely to appear on the near-term congressional calendar. After Sandy, that seems insane.

Yes, pretty cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs, if you'll pardon the commercialized vernacular. Still, as hard-hitting and forthright as the article is, it still dances around one of the most important topics people remain skittish about discussing: How first-worlders' outmoded meat-based diets play a major role, if not THE major role, in greenhouse gas emissions along with myriad other forms of eco-destruction. Since it's World Vegan Day, might be a good time to start talking about that, hmmmm?

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