The lucky ones or, The difference between climate and weather…

I’m about to say something controversial, or at least controversial among some of my more right leaning friends. Here it is: the Global climate is changing.

It’s shocking I know, but there are a whole sea of scientists who tell me it’s happening and in cases of science, I’m generally inclined to go along with the majority rather than hang in with the outliers. For purposes of this post, I’m just going to stipulate that climate change is a real thing. In fact that’s all I’m going to stipulate to, because I don’t know (and it really doesn’t matter) whether that change is being caused by humans or whether it’s the result of natural phenomena. The cause, at this moment, isn’t actually the important thing.

If we accept that the earth’s climate is changing and that this change will result in a number of negative consequences, the only question that really matters is what are we going to do about it? We can do nothing, let the temperature creep up, let the oceans rise, and get use to the idea that the breadbasket of the world will end up in central Canada instead of the American Midwest. We can adjust to record rainfalls and droughts, to stronger and more frequent hurricanes, and to the coming unprecedented migrations out of areas that will no longer be suitable for human habitation. Those things are coming regardless of whether we cause the earth to warm or if it’s just part of a natural cycle. It’s going to happen.

Why am I saying this? Well, you see I’m one of the lucky ones. Most people my age have had a few kids and might be interested in leaving the world a better place for their offspring. I’m not tied down with that kind of long range baggage. What I’ve got on my side is the fact that global changes come on fairly slowly and that I’ve already exceeded half of my average life expectancy. Playing the numbers, I’ll most likely be able to ride out the last of the good times and then promptly drop dead before things really go to hell in a handbag, so even if we collectively decide to do nothing, it’s mostly wine and roses for this old boy. You bunch out there with kids or grandkids, on the other hand, wow. The world is going to be a different place for them.

The world is getting warmer and that means life is going to get harder, more violent, and generally less pleasant. We can piss and moan about what caused which, or we can throw in and come up with some solutions to get after the worst of the consequences. The only thing that the pop science I have access to seems certain about is that we can change now or change later, but either way a change is going to come. I’d say it’s better now while we have a chance to think it through instead of just reacting to external stimuli. Then again, what do I know, I’m just a guy sitting here who’s smart enough to know there’s a whole world of things he doesn’t know. As a rule, though, when big groups of smarter people than me say there’s a problem I tend to listen to them rather than dismiss them as hokum and witchcraft.

Now I’ll just sit here quietly while someone from the RNC comes to collect my Republican Party ID card and decoder ring because I think it’s ok to know the difference between climate and weather.

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