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Global warming meltdown

Groups with opposing viewpoints clash outside of presentation

By Julie Stagis
On December 3, 2009

Students from EcoHouse, EcoHusky and EcoGarden gathered in front of the Student Union Theatre Wednesday to demonstrate against a presentation of the documentary "Not Evil Just Wrong" by Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).

"Not Evil Just Wrong" is the anti-"An Inconvenient Truth," a film that "exposes the deceptions that experts, politicians, educators and the media have been force-feeding the public for years," according to the Web site for the film.

"Man-made pollution is not melting the polar icecaps. The ocean will not rise 20 feet in a flash. And the only polar bears dying because of man are the ones who try to eat men," the site states.

Before the movie started, students from both camps discussed their differing viewpoints with each other.

"I'm not against the idea of global warming existing," said Arragon Perrone, secretary of CFACT, who also writes commentary for The Daily Campus. "I'm against the points made by those who say man alone is responsible for it."

"CFACT strongly believes most consumer and environmental problems can best be met and overcome - not through excessive government regulation and bureaucracy - but rather, by better unleashing the power of the free-enterprise system and the ingenuity of science and technology," according to a pamphlet on the organization.

The demonstrators held signs that read, "Check the Science," some with facts about global warming.

Chris Berthiaume, a student from EcoHouse who helped orchestrate the demonstration, held a sign with a graph showing what percentage of different groups "say human activity is a significant contributing factor in [global warming]." It showed that 98 percent of "active publishers on climate change in scientific journals" supported that assertion.

"[We] did this because we looked up the movie and saw that they were representing one side of the issue," said Berthiaume, a 5th-semester environmental engineering major. "We wanted to show people the scientific side. Everything we have [on our signs] is cited from scientific journals. We used the most reputable sources we could."

Not everyone present debated the existence of global warming - many students from CFACT said they were more concerned with the way the government handles the issue.

"I don't care much about environmental issues. I care about the fact that people are dying because we're trying to help global warming," said Matthew Darling, a 3rd-semester political science major. "They're telling Africa to use solar power when the U.S., the industrialized nations, never had to. Telling them to [use alternative energy] is hypocritical."

People in developing countries can't afford to use these energy sources, Darling said.

"I'm one who believes global warming exists and is caused by humans," said Phillip Ruffy, a 1st-semester management for engineering and manufacturing major and CFACT member. "I think that governmental regulations are not the way to solve the problem. I'm for free market. I'm a libertarian."

CFACT members challenged the demonstrators, asking why they weren't going in to watch the movie.

"Are you aware of the facts in the movie?" Ruffy asked Berthiaume. Berthiaume told him he'd seen the trailer, but was not interested in watching the film at this time.

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