Can Americans worry about the economy and climate change?

Multifretting—he can do it!

Multifretting—he can do it!

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

It’s the economy, stupid. It’s distracting everybody from every other issue under the sun, and as the sun beats hotter and hotter—The New York Times reports that this is the warmest year on record—the economy is making us all stupid.

Indeed, Auntie Ruth has her share of stupid economic worries, everyone does. But just as it’s not good enough to do one thing at a time—witness the ongoing popularity of multitasking—it’s no longer good enough to worry about one thing at a time. We can worry better than that. If we don’t, we’ll fall apart a single issue at a time, we’ll become iconic bores, Mitt Romney might be elected president.

No, if you can multitask, then you can multifret. That’s right. Let us embrace our destiny as a nation of multifretters. We can do it. We must do it. We will do it. You read it here first.

Auntie Ruth bets women are better at multifretting than men, that Democrats are better multifretters than Republicans, that Republican men are voting for Romney because they can’t multifret to save their ass. And she bets America can fret about climate change and the economy at the same time.

(Is this just the posture of an enviro-columnist who frets about climate change all the time, trying to reposition the argument? Well, yeah. And she’s kicking butt.)

Kicking, but the Sierra Club just posted a study that says Generation X is, like, “whatever” when it comes to climate change. Fewer members of that beleaguered generation are worrying about climate change as compared to two years ago—according to the University of Michigan professor Jon Miller, who authored the study—largely because of the complexity of the science, and the perception that climate change isn’t yet affecting Gen X’s daily lives (as compared to Gen Y, which, as Auntie Ruth reported last May, is showing signs of breaking from their parents in pro-environmental directions).


Auntie Ruth’s father-in-law, a wise and kindly Irish-Catholic gent now deceased, said often that Americans only pay attention to the environment so long as the economy is doing well. While correct for his time, he left this mortal coil before climate change became the barn burner issue it is today. One that a nation of multifretters certainly could elevate to the level of the economy, stupid.

Or else.