I try not to get too vested in issues of any real consequence here, but I've just discovered an overlooked contributor to the temperature increase scientists have been seeing in the world's oceans, and I want to share. Please bear with me.
Cow flatulence has long been considered a contributor to the overall rise in temperature of the planet, and it's been assumed that the oceans have been warming as a result of this outside influence. I've discovered that this simply isn't the case. See, the most noticeable impact on the planet due to the warming of the ocean is seen at the poles; by now pretty much everyone has seen the footage of polar bears trying to deal with the thinning ice and shrinking habitats due to melting. I submit that the poles aren't just an indicator of the warming temperature; they're also the root cause. I ask you this: aside from the salmon, seals, penguins and smelt, what is the dominant living species at each of the poles (at least until they all drown to death, anyway)? Polar bears.
The diet of the polar bear consists almost entirely of Omega-fatty-acid-rich sea creatures such as salmon, seals, penguins, smelt etc. These fats are easy for the body to convert to the stored energy these bears need to regularly expend, but result in high levels of unusable gases that the body must then deal with. Also, because most of the fresh water is trapped in ice form, polar bears apparently get most of their moisture from the condensation on the outside of all their Coca-Cola bottles. It is unknown whether it is the Coca-Cola they're enjoying or just the trace amounts of fresh water dripping off the bottles, but as you can see from the above-linked polar bear documentary clip, they seem to be drinking loads of the stuff. As anyone who eats lots of sushi and cola can tell you, this results in high levels of gas output in the form of flatulence.
Because polar bears are acutely aware of their status in the community, they hold their flatus in until which time their friends won't be able to smell it. (If you think "he who smelt it dealt it" jokes are bad, imagine what it's like when smelt is actually a major part of your diet. That joke gets old REAL fast-like.) The most inconspicuous place to release this stored flatus is in the ocean while hunting for food. However, this inconspicuosity comes at a pretty hefty price. As anyone who has released flatulence in a pool knows, you can feel the warmth in the water around you. So can the ice. And then it melts.
There's been much talk lately of the impending fallout from the melting of Earth's polar ice caps. Lost in the quagmire of blame, denial, and rationalization among most of those doing the talking, the real importance of the issue is becoming as dilute as the oceans surrounding the ever-shrinking cubes at the top and bottom of our planet.
Sure, even if you can escape the -- achem -- polarization of the arguments for and against what is causing it, how to fix it, and whether we should even bother (because, really, Jesus is going to be here soon anyway), some of the consequences may be tugging at your heartstrings. You've surely seen pictures of a tired, water-logged polar bear unable to gather the energy to grab a bite to eat after her agonizing trek to find another hunk of ice large enough to support her weight. Sure, it makes you sad. "But, sad as it makes me, " you ask yourself. "What impact will the loss of polar bears really have on my life?" Well, the sad answer is that it really may not. Polar bears are cute -- but ultimately useless to humans.
The trouble is, the loss of polar ice caps affects something no one else has had the forethought to bring up. Something we all take for granted. Something that, even if we all are forced to become vegetarians due to the food chain's collapse, we will surely be unable to live without. I'm talking, of course, about iceberg lettuce.
Even assuming the cows are able to survive our hostile new climate, what will our primary source of food -- fast food restaurants -- shred and then sprinkle liberally over our freezer-burnt "meat" patties? What will women pick out of their salads during first dates? How will "salad in a bag" manufacturers stay in business? What will people make bad "head" puns about?
So this is my plea to every one of you: please try to put aside the bickering over whether we are causing the change, whether the change is stoppable, or whether we should just wait for Jesus, and just think about the iceberg lettuce. We need to try to do whatever we can to preserve this essential part of our diets, while we're still "a head."