Climate Change vs. Culture Change

If you turn on your television or radio and I guarantee it won’t be long before you hear someone bring up the subject of climate change. Being older and wiser, or perhaps just more experienced, the first thing that will probably catch your attention is the term “climate change.” What happened to “global warming?” Perhaps the term was modified to make it more palatable. Everyone, including the dinosaurs can agree the earth’s climate does change from time to time.

I’m not a scientist, but I am skeptical. I remember being a college student and telling my then girlfriend I never planned to get married and have children because I was convinced by the science and experts of the day a new “ice age” was coming and future generations were doomed. We all know how that one turned out.

Here are some examples of how the media was covering this crisis:

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Forgive me, but being a senior with extensive life experience makes me skeptical of the gloom and doom we hear about all living creatures being threatened by the earth warming, the poles melting, and the sea rising. And most of all, I’m skeptical that we humans are to blame because of man-made CO2. A very cursory investigation of the facts demonstrates CO2 was much higher in the age of the dinosaurs than it is today. The melting of ice in the North Pole has slowed to a little over 3% while Antartica’s ice formation is up over 30%. And then there’s the question of the sea rising? Well, take a hike through some of the high deserts in California and guess what you will discover. You will find the skeletal remains of sea life such as shark’s teeth. I’ve seen them. I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I’m guessing the sea used to be much, much higher than it is today. Yep, I’m skeptical.

Now before all the climate change folks get all lathered up and defensive, let me say once again, I’m not a scientist. I’m simply an observer and a good listener. In 1988, actor and activist Ted Danson proclaimed we only had ten years to save the oceans. I also heard the king of “global warming” and now multi-millionaire Al Gore tell us many years ago we had little time to save the planet. He was so concerned he flew all around the world on private jets, bought several homes and a gigantic houseboat, just to make sure we knew to conserve energy. When I see and hear these people and their organizations making millions of dollars from energy credit companies and selling their apocalyptic books while making doomsday speeches, I can’t help but be skeptical. If you’re interested, it’s very easy to find the government statistics on exactly how many millions of our tax dollars we are giving these folks each year. It’s staggering. As they say, follow the money.

For the record, based upon my observations, it’s culture change that should most worry us. There is clearly a coarseness and lack of civility that is growing and taking over our society. Park your car in front of a high school just prior to classes letting out for the day. Listen to the language and subject matter of the conversations. Sit in the food court of any shopping mall. Young and old alike are leaving manners and civility in the dust bin of history.

The media, of course, is the fuel for this destructive fire sweeping our society. The music, films, and television programs provide a negative template for our culture. The “bleep” sound has become standard on most programs. In just the last few days I heard the “f” word used numerous times on live football broadcasts. I recently watched a new program whose main character is an alcoholic and drug addicted free-lance doctor who, in the first show, had just slept with his father’s wife.

If you think I’m a prude, think again. As an Air Force veteran, when I returned from overseas, I realized my vocabulary had shrunk to just a few words, all of which were swear words. I was unusually quiet for some time while I adjusted to what I knew to be proper discourse. Do I watch movies or television programs that have sexual scenes? Of course I do. The point is not that we should be concerned that these things exist in our culture, but that they now seem to dominate and define our culture.

Not long ago, my wife and I were visiting family in the Carolina’s. After a few days, we began to notice that almost all of the people with whom we came in contact were very polite and well-mannered. At one point I encountered a well-groomed young man wearing a high school baseball t-shirt. I asked him what position he played. He responded, “I’m a pitcher sir.” It made me feel great to know somewhere in our vast country a young person still speaks to his elders and refers to them as sir or ma’am. Ironically, when we returned home, we stopped by a local store to pick up some groceries. As I excited, a young man and his girlfriend were having a lively and sexually charged conversation in the parking lot. They actually wanted everyone within a hundred yards to hear their profanity laced comments. Why, I have no idea.

Understand, it’s not the words per se, but the respect each of us should show to one another that seems to be on the rapid decline. Much like the climate change folks warning the seas will eventually swamp us, I’m afraid the culture change already begun will overtake us as destructive as any tsunami we might imagine.

 

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