Environment

Heroes

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorSep 29, 2009 11:42 AM

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In the activist category, Time Magazine names Joe Romm as one of this year's "green" heroes. Romm would prefer to think of himself as a journalist, but he's not complaining. In fact, he's "surprised" by the "generous profile" that Bryan Walsh wrote, since Romm slammed him several months ago. It's as if Romm were surprised that humans have the capacity for decency and sportsman-like conduct, two qualities that no one would associate with Climate Progress. There's another related tidbit to this news that bears noting. Walsh's profile mentions that Romm didn't get evangelical about global warming until his brother lost his house to Hurricane Katrina. I find that ironic since Katrina is not a global warming disaster. But more revealing, this anecdote suggests that Romm's crusade is triggered by personal experience. That's not how most people relate to climate change as an environmental issue. In fact, as sociologist Robert J. Brulle observed in this recent NYT story, global warming lacks an immediacy with the general public precisely because it's hard to relate to:

It does not have the direct visual or emotive impact of seeing seabirds covered in oil from the Exxon Valdex oil spill.

Good for Romm that he had an opportunity to make a personal, searing connection, even if it was a false one.

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