By Samuel F. Frank:
EASTMAN, Ga. - “If you don’t believe that the Earth is getting warmer courtesy of mankind, then you’re a moron.”
So says James Irwin, one of the hundreds to show up at the latest of a series of climate change rallies in Twiggs County, Georgia. He stands in front of a throng of protestors outside the Eastman Town Hall with a simple message: climate change is real. And that’s a good thing.
Meet the climate change supporters. You’ve heard from the fossil fuel-forgoing activists and the conspiracy theory-spouting deniers, but you likely aren’t familiar with Irwin and his ilk. They accept climate change as a scientific phenomenon, and their only concern is how to make it go even faster.
“Yeah, I’ve seen the maps [depicting what areas will soon be underwater if sea levels continue to rise],” says Irwin. “A few more years, and I’m living on beachfront property. Plus, Baton Rouge will be completely flooded. Go Bulldogs!”* *Editor’s Note: The Georgia Bulldogs lost to the Louisiana State University Tigers in the 2019 Southeastern Conference Championship last fall, costing Georgia a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Arthur Bennington, another rally attendee, has his own reasons for supporting climate change. “I’d like to be around when the world ends. You know, to see the second coming of Christ and all that. But I’m getting older now, and I can’t just sit around waiting for a lucky asteroid,” Bennington argues. “At a certain point, it’s not my problem anymore. But I worry - will my kids live to see the end of the world? My grandkids?”
Though most of the turnout was concerned local citizens, the rally was organized by an outsider. Seymour Olson of Alaska is the leader of a “Hot Earthers” Facebook group, employing one of his movement’s favorite monikers. Olson espouses a simple message: “It’s too damn cold! Sure, Alaska’s got the Personal Fund and no income tax, but I spend all my savings on heating in February alone! I would welcome a few extra degrees of mercury.”
Despite their common goal, the Hot Earthers are just as divided over strategy as their anti-warming counterparts.
“I’m a big believer in personal liberty and the markets,” explains Irwin. “I think we should incentivize companies to burn more fossil fuels instead of Big Brother barging in with red tape and pointless regulation. Maybe a carbon tax rebate or something like that.”
Olson disagrees. “I firmly believe that climate change is the most important issue facing our country today. Why are we spending so much on defense when those
taxpayer dollars are needed to drill every last bit of oil out of the ground and combust it?” He sympathizes with Irwin’s philosophy, but finds it unrealistic. “Look, I’m all for freedom and capitalism. But when one person’s freedom infringes on my comfort . . . This is a monumental undertaking we’re talking about, and it’ll require unprecedented action.”
But most of those assembled before the town hall are just trying to do their own part to contribute.
“Every night, I go outside, strike a match, and light up a couple gallons of genuine Saudi crude in my backyard,” explains Sally Johnson, of nearby Jefferson, GA. “It’s expensive and inconvenient, but every little bit helps right? And on an unseasonably warm winter’s eve, there’s nothing better than the acerbic fumes of progress.”
*Note: This piece was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2020 Milking Cat Summer Comedy Competition*