Monday, November 9, 2015

What if Climate Change is a MYTH?

What if Climate Change is a MYTH?

I was a smoker back in my college days.  In the 1950’s just about everyone I knew was.  But the word was getting out and the evidence growing stronger that cigarettes were killing people.  The proof hadn’t satisfied most, and even my doctor was still puffing away.  The tobacco industry was still advertising on TV, usually with an actor wearing a long white coat and a stethoscope.  As the data was rolling to the point of overwhelming, I remember seeking solace in a book, written by doctors, (financed by the cigarette manufacturers) and titled, “Smoke Without Fear.”  How comforting.

At a point in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s a report came out that some of New England’s cranberry crop had been found to contain traces of possibly carcinogenic insecticides.  At worst, it was said the levels were so low as to not pose much of a threat to health…and cranberries were  the source of many nutritional benefits.

At a large Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a friend of mine, about half of those present, (including me) passed on the cranberry sauce.  A few of the guests even had ash trays at the table in order to light up between courses.

Then someone made the observation that in spite of the snowballing evidence about the lethal nature of tobacco, most of the cranberry abstainers were also chain smokers. 

“Even if not all the proof isn’t in,” he said, “given the preponderance of the scientific consensus, wouldn’t it make sense to stop smoking? What would be the harm in that?  Didn’t continuing to smoke in the face of overwhelming scientific proof defy logic?  At least as logical as giving up cranberries because one batch was found to be weakly contaminated?”

While I don’t think that statement caused any of us to quit smoking or resume cranberry ingestion, in time most of us would do both.  At least the ones who escaped the ravages of tobacco use.  Of course, they stopped too.  But they stopped being alive.

So now we watch the deniers of climate change, who tell us the evidence is ‘controversial,’ and until the last non believer comes into the other ninety nine percent fold, we should not accept the evidence.  I don’t use the term ‘global warning,’ even though the fact is our earth is heating up.  The reason I won’t use that term is because it invites those who want to to intentionally confuse it with the word ‘weather.’  As one esteemed US Senator pontificated with a snowball in hand, that somehow that disproved the ‘myth’ of global warming.  A colder than usual winter on the east coast does not conveniently measure up to the simplistic ‘global warming’ label….but it does, in fact point out that CLIMATE is changing.

Given the current level of proof, this ex smoker now asks the question, “What is the down side of acting to reduce the amount of garbage we pump into the atmosphere every day?”  Does anyone looking at a refinery belching out black soot into the air think that that is a good thing?  Does ingesting exhaust fumes into one’s lungs have a positive side?  Do certain industrial areas wind up known a ‘cancer alleys’ benefit society?

Should nations get together to actually DO SOMETHING in this area, we must admit that there will, in fact, be some negative effects.  Among the losers will be the industries dependent upon fossil fuels.  They will either invest in alternative sources of energy or they will suffer financially.  The politicians who benefit from the financial largesse of some of the profiteers whose water they carry, will be losers.

So why take the RISK of doing anything?  Is putting the business interest of the few really fair? 

I had to take an accounting course in college…I was terrible at it.  But I did learn something about ledgers…debits, credits, and the bottom line.  On the ‘debit’ side, I see Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers, and a few near east monarchies.  Maybe the speculators, who trade in poisoning the planet.

But if humankind acts in time (and it may already be too late) there will be a large ‘credit’ column...  Countries and states that are facing ever increasing floods from the rising oceans.  People who will rediscover the fact that our sky is blue.  Workers who jobs sentence them to an early and horrible death.

There’s one more category.  Those people who at the end of a days work or the end of a career who can honestly claim to have contributed to society…not just the bottom line.  But wait, as the TV pitches say, there’s MORE!...those of us who like to breathe; want to feel safe when we drink our water or eat our vegetables; those who don’t feel they should be getting a dose of mercury when they eat seafood; those silly people who can see, hear and taste what evil we are bestowing on our planet, and believe it is wrong.