More than 100 attend film, panel discussion on global warming

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | 11:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — More than 100 Columbians gathered Tuesday in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library to view an educational film on global warming and hear from a panel on the topic.
The event was sponsored by the Columbia Climate Change Coalition. For the past year and a half, the Coalition has tried to raise awareness regarding the clash between politics and science, said executive director Monta Welch.
The existence of global warming has long been considered in the public arena to be a debatable topic. Welch believes the facts support the existence of global warming and people need to know the truth.
“There are still a few people sitting on the fence,” Welch said.
The Coalition is trying to galvanize support from many areas of the community, including the political, business and faith arenas.
One effort to raise awareness was tonight’s public viewing of “Everything’s Cool”, a documentary featuring some experts in global warming, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan and author Bill McKibben.
In the film, McKibben discussed his concern that Americans coddle the economy, yet treat the environment like a background issue.
“The economy actually depends on an environment that will behave the way we need it to behave,” McKibben said.
For Gelbspan, global warming is a personal issue that brings imminent doom.
“Why bother? ... I think that when (my daughters) tell me about their plans for the future,” Gelbspan said in the film.
After the film viewing, four panelists shared their thoughts on global warming and answered audience questions. Rep. Judy Baker (D-Columbia), one of the panelists and a supporter of Columbia Climate Change Coalition since its inception, fielded many of the questions.
In response to an audience question, Baker talked optimistically of both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, saying they are “not the global warming deniers the current administration has right now.”
“(Global warming) is becoming more and more a bipartisan issue,” Baker said.

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