12/10/2007 12:13 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Last Row of the Plane

Aboard a plane recently, the inevitable happened: The person in front of me put their seat back, encroaching in my space. That's when I took out my laptop and wrote my new nationally syndicated newspaper column about how that kind of behavior explains why we face a climate change crisis.

Now, I realize that sounds like a stretch, but when you think about it metaphorically, it's all the same.

Our "me" culture has us treating everything as infinite, even when most things are not. That's especially true with our air. It is colorless, tasteless and (usually) odorless -- its invisibility makes us think it is infinite. But as scientists keep telling us, that's just not true -- and the more we pollute the air with carbon dioxide emissions, the worse off we will be.

It's like on the plane: We push our seats back for that momentary pleasure of being able to stretch out a little more, but when we do that, it creates a chain reaction of everyone pushing their seats back and making the entire planeload of people uncomfortable. The space on the plane -- like our atmosphere -- is finite. And when we treat it as infinite, we damage everything.

You can read the whole column here. Obviously, I thought this was an appropriate column to write just before Vice President Al Gore received his Nobel Prize today. If you'd like to see my column regularly in your local paper, use this directory to find the contact info for your local editorial page editors. Get get in touch with them and point them to my Creators Syndicate site.