The Next Generation

“If we were to fail, the next generation would be well justified in looking back at us and asking: What were you thinking? Couldn’t you hear what the scientists were saying? Couldn’t you hear what Mother Nature was screaming at you?”

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, 2017, p. 28.

I recently came across a website whose sole purpose was to deny climate change. I think I’ve seen it before, but I guess I forgot about it. The thing that got me about the website is that they’ve obviously spent a lot of time and effort on making the website, creating the graphics, and coming up with the lies they tell. It just seems like a heck of a lot of effort for essentially implying everything should stay the same and no one should change.

But, why fight it? Even if you don’t believe climate change is real, or you don’t believe humans cause it, you can still benefit from the changes that folks like me want to make. And what exactly is wrong with saving money on energy efficient appliances and reduced water use? Why is recycling and leaving less trash around a bad thing? Why is eating food without chemicals considered awful?

Don’t fight the changes, just allow them to happen. You’ll benefit from it like everyone else, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time, effort and money. And, you’ll end up with a cleaner, healthier planet.

At least if you just let the changes happen, you’ll be able to look into the eyes of your children and grandchildren and not feel guilty. Fifty years from now, assuming you’re still alive, you’ll be able to see your kids and grandkids grow up and benefit from the changes everyone else made. You can even pretend like you weren’t a denier.

What’s the alternative? You deny climate change. You fight to stop the changes that need to happen. You allow the planet to be destroyed in front of your eyes. You end up paying tons of money to rebuild your house 10 times, after every super storm. Insurance gets so high, you can afford it. Your kids grow up with asthma and other chronic problems. Your ocean side retreat is washed into the sea. You get sick from drinking water from your tap that’s polluted with oil from spills and fracking chemicals. The only place your kids will see a tree or a polar bear is in a museum. And worst of all, your grandkids look up at you with their big, round, sad eyes and ask why you didn’t do anything to stop all this before it got too bad to stop?

How do you respond to that? How do you tell the next generation that the reason you didn’t do anything is because you didn’t think anything bad was happening, even though bad things were happening all around you everyday? How do you tell your grandkids the reason you didn’t do anything was because gas was cheaper and you had stock in the oil companies? How do you tell your great-grandkids (assuming you even have any) that the reason you denied everything was because the Earth naturally goes through cyclical climate changes and this was just natural and bound to happen?

I’m trying to think of a comparable analogy. I’m seriously sitting here trying to come up with an analogy, and I can’t. The only comparable thing I can think of is a war. Battling climate change is like a war. And when it comes to fighting a war, people are very patriotic about protecting their country, their people, and their way of life. But, by denying climate change and actively fighting against the people who want to make positive changes, aren’t you in essence saying that you don’t give a shit about your country, your people, or your way of life? You have no interest in protecting anyone, including your own family? You are as unpatriotic as it gets.

Even if you truly believe that humans are not responsible for climate change, why does it matter? Even if you believe that the Earth is just going through a natural cycle of climate change, why wouldn’t you still want to do something to protect yourself? Even if this is all natural (which it isn’t), you’re still going to be negatively affected by massive changes in climate. If there was a way you could slow that down, or even stop it, why wouldn’t you? After all, you want to conquer everything else on the planet, why not the planet itself? Just think about it … YOU could claim that you changed the natural laws of the Earth! You were SO powerful that YOU controlled the planet and got it to do what you wanted! Wow!

How do people who claim humans aren’t the ones changing the climate think about the future? “Oh, this is natural, we’re all going to die, so just let it happen.” After all, one of the arguments they give is the extinction of the dinosaurs. EX-TINC-TION! Meaning, complete and total annihilation! Apparently, this is okay with these folks. The end of the human race … oh well, our time has come to an end … let’s go out in a literal blaze of glory. So when you’re sitting in the middle of South Dakota, in 120C heat, watching a massive tsunami come your way, and you’re holding your kids while they cry, you can tell them … “This is natural. The Earth does this all the time.” I’m sure they’ll be so comforted.




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