Commentary

Don’t Buy The Hype

Ort sounds like a guy who should be working at a hardware store. Adobe InDesign underlines “sustainability” as a non-word when the spellchecker encounters it. And “a greener blue” doesn’t sound like a suitable sartorial choice for Andover when we’re playing Deerfield. Sustainability, going green, whatever – they’re all buzzwords on the tips of seemingly everyone’s tongues here at PA. And Student Council was pushing to have its second School Congress (of two this year) on sustainability, despite 9:30 sign-in serving as fodder for a compelling debate. We get enough emails about conservation to kill a rainforest— I’m estimating here—thankfully, we’re not allowed to print anything! Why? This is a serious question. Andover students are Rihanna to sustainability’s (alleged) Chris Brown – and without any explanation. Is it that Andover needs to save money? Our trusty Form 990 –a public tax filing—for Fiscal Year 2006 indicates $64.5 million in expenses, including a cool $294,546 spent on “postage,” $207,453 on “telephone,” and a whopping $676,671 on the Addison. These are line items on which I don’t mean to pass judgement, but they give some context. So, uh, that $1,138 we saved means a whole lot. I don’t think conservation’s a bad thing. I don’t think waste’s a good thing. But if we’re in a position to need to trim $1100 of fat, that fancy new website seems hefty. Former Phillipian Online Czar Carl F. Jackson ’09 can put together some mean pages for pennies on the dollar. So it’s not the money. Is it the science? We know there’s a growing consensus in the scientific community. In January, more than 650 scientists, many of whom lean left politically, were cited as skeptics in Sen. James Inhofe’s report on global warming, entitled “Global Warming ‘Consensus’ in Freefall.” “I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion,” said Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, as quoted in the report. What about that alleged consensus from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? Said IPCC scientist Kiminori Itoh, as quoted in Inhofe’s report, “Warming fears are the worst scientific scandal in history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” So-called science shouldn’t defy reality. As Mother Nature has pounded us with freezing weather and a near-record snowfall this winter, it’s hard to argue that global warming is a truly irreversible trend. And even harder to call it man-made. So there’s no reasonable scientific reason to stop burning coal. And the financial reason doesn’t seem all that significant. Why, then, do we receive so many emails? Why are there new sustainability-related job positions popping up here? And may I toss my hat in the ring for Unicorn Wrangler? The whole thing, of course, seems to emanate from the school’s irrepressibly liberal agenda— and I’m excited to be kicking off the column on this note— that sneaks into so much on this campus. We take it for granted that Barack Obama’s inauguration is significant enough to cancel classes, and now we take it for granted that sustainability is a serious and pressing goal. These are liberal causes. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place here. In fact, radicalism has been beneficial to this community before, but they are still liberal causes. Jack Dickey is a four-year Senior from Guilford, Connecticut and former News Director of The Phillipian. sdickey@andover.edu