I’ll admit to watching Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” and thinking that it was a bit hokey. That film premiered in 2006, and brought attention to the gathering storm of global warming or climate change or whatever term one wishes to use to describe the effect of human over consumption of the earth’s resources. I remember thinking that the documentary was a bit too anecdotal and hyperbolic, so it had little effect on the way I lived my life.
I suppose that I was filled with the false hopes of wishful thinking because since that time I have witnessed an exponential rise in the number of horrific weather-induced events, not just in the United States, but all over the globe. The growing evidence that we humans are inflicting enormous strain on the environment seems to have grown since Al Gore warned us of our need to change our ways or bear the consequences of our actions.
My own grandchildren have begun crusades to halt the growing trends of destruction, but they understand that unless their efforts are universally adopted our planet is doomed to more and bigger life-changing events produced by the weather. They are moving away from the Texas coastal plain where they were born in the belief that the oceans will indeed one day engulf large swaths of land. They have purchased electric and hybrid cars. They are eating less and less meat, and some have even sworn off of animal protein totally. They preach the gospel of climate change with conviction, but mostly they worry that we may already be too late to avoid the horrors of what is yet to come. They believe that if only we would agree to throw ourselves into a concerted effort to save our environment there might still be hope.
There is much merit in what they have to say, as frightening as it may sound. Somehow the evidence provided by damaging worldwide weather events no longer feels simply anecdotal to me. Their frequency and amplification of damage no longer appears to be bonafide proof that things are not just simply as they have always been. There is definitely something very different about the climate that does not bode well for any of us.
I grew up in a southern state known for its warmth, but there were still regular days of colder weather from November to the middle of March. I actually wore out my winter gear in past times, but now I may not wear my sweaters and winter coats for more than a few days out of the year. I’ve seen hurricanes but nothing like the multiple days of driving rains that inundated Houston and surrounding areas with flooding that destroyed the homes of many of my friends and family members. I’ve watched the Bay Area of California endure so much drought that once green spaces have turned a crispy looking brown. My favorite haunts in Colorado are subject to regular fires that damage wildlife and homes. All over the world I see dramatic changes in climate that we talk about, but essentially ignore.
We seem to think that a little girl named Greta who is militant in her climate activism is little more than a pig-tailed upstart of a child. Instead of listening to her concerns we poke fun at her and pretend that she is immature and will soon enough learn how things really work. We bash anyone who suggests sacrifices that we all need to make if we are to create a trend that begins the process of healing our beautiful earth.
Think of how effective it might be if we all agreed to having meatless days a couple of times each week. How would it hurt if we used less energy by changing a few of our habits? It’s not that difficult to go back to some of the ways that we did things when I was a child. I remember when liquids came in reusable glass bottles that we had to pay a deposit on until we returned them for future use. I lived in a hot and humid climate without air conditioning until I was in my twenties. Not every day requires keeping the temperature at a “perfect” level. That goes for drying clothes as well. Those old backyard clotheslines were wonderful as long as the day was dry. It is a bit more work to hang wet laundry out to dry, but it is worth the effort if it results in much less consumption of energy that brings done the alarming warmth of the earth.
We need to launch a worldwide effort to make a difference. We should each be doing something every minute of every single day that helps with the cause. Such actions need not require a great deal of extra time or effort. Simply turning off lights, mowing lawns less often or even turning them into xeriscapes is a way to create passive resistance to the waste of our resources.
We have many issues on this earth but the one that should unite us is a goal of changing the way we do things with a determined will to combat global warming before it destroys us. Science tells us how to do this, but so far we have mostly ignored the cries for change. Nature is warning us on a regular basis that we are past due for doing something about the mess we have made. That inconvenient truth is made real with every drought or flood that plagues us. It’s time that we faced reality and made a truly concerted effort to reverse the trends that we have created before it is too late.