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Look for news that kills us — so turn to the Weather

    Global changes in the weather did not reach us through the newspapers in the past the way the Internet reaches us now, and now that we have our “smart” phones to give us instant access to the world with our fingertips, and with our 24-hour drive-by news media through cable television, we have become inundated with the “bad news” about our weather 24/7.
    All the talk hit us after Al Gore invented the Internet in the 1990s (my college, the University of Illinois UIUC, would like to thank the politician for doing the work we thought we started at the U of I) — in the 1990s Vice President Al Gore then released a “documentary” that talked about how we humans are the cause of global warming (and he then continued to use private jets and fleets with limos whenever he went anywhere, what a great example you set, Mr. Gore)... But at least he could get money out of the problem he has shown the world by creating a company in charge of trading “carbon credits” with countries who continued to pollute.
    Ingenious businessman, isn’t he? He tells the world of a problem he cannot prove, and creates a company to make people feel better about their bad habits he has pointed out. Ingenious.
    But then again, I might be a Republican talking head, wanting to oppose whatever any Democrat says (because I first wrote “Understanding Global Warming”, which was also in cc&d v165.25, but later rebuked it with “A Different Light on the Global Warming Debate”, printed in v177 of cc&d magazine)... But I don’t vote Republican, I just try to get a broad range of facts and opinions before I make my own judgment. So I went to the Internet (because I’m one of those modern-day tech-heads who relies on the Internet for my news) to see if there was any proof of human-kind causing global warming. After skipping the Google ads supporting the theory, I went to a 6/4/14 blog by Graham Wayne, who had a rebuttal argument to “Skeptical Science” article “Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming)” (https://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm), but his rebuttal argument to global warming wasn’t a rebuttal at all.
    (And by the way, yeah I know this all came from a blog, but as most Americans get their news from the Internet now, it often becomes next to impossible to find actual proof or evidence before finding something that supports your own mind set, so you can always think youre right. This was the closest thing I could find on the Internet that seemed like it had statistics and could seem trustworthy, so cut me some slack..)
    But back to the story. What Graham Wayne’s article did point out to me was that most scientists now do look at the data and believe that human activity has actually helped to increase the weather changes that we see now. (The sad thing is that how Americans are less likely to support what scientists are telling them, which makes me feel like I’ve been a heel for a while now, since I always turn to science for my evidence.)
    Then again, the poll doesn’t say why scientists believe that human activity has actually helped to increase the weather changes we witness that seem out of the ordinary (there was no empirical data to support why scientists believe this way, and I keep saying I’m all about the empirical data). We can only infer from this that scientists believe it. (I mean, any scientist who believes in a Christian or Jewish or Muslim faith is not relying on empirical data, so we can only guess how they all arrived to their separate conclusions.)
    Then again, I turn on right-wing talk radio shows, and they still say there is no evidence that changes in the weather are fundamentally caused by man’s actions, and the thing is, I can understand that people who want to support the Obama presidency may fall into line with things about climate change with no physical evidence to support. (Example: they used to fear an upcoming ice age, then they said it was “global warming”, then when they saw temperatures dropping they called it “climate change”, which means any storm in the forecast can be attributed to their cause, which is forcing people to change their habits to “support the environment.”)
    So — where does that leave me, and is there anything I can do? If climate change is impacted by human actions over time, and if America isn’t doing enough, and if countries like China and India are flying in the face of any attempts to not use energies that are less harmful to the environment, does it make a difference if I recycle all paper and plastic and glass, and does it matter that if I drive on expressways, I make a point to not go over the speed limit (and waste a ton more fuel than is necessary for the drive)? Other than my saving money on refueling my car, I’m not sure.
    Maybe saving my own money is enough of a reason for me to do it, and I don’t have to get on a high horse for this cause, if I can clearly state that the primary reason I am doing it is for my own financial benefit. For example, when I have released chapbooks of my writing for poetry features of mine, I have used packing paper (which would have been paper thrown away, when it was in packages I received in the mail), which I guess saves paper — but it’s also cool looking that I have reused one thing and turned it ito something else. And it saved me money to use the back-sides of used letter paper for my grocery lists — why spend the money on more paper if I already have paper I am otherwise throwing away at home anyway, right?
    Some may want to get on that high horse when it comes to literally taking actions to help the environment, and I suppose that is their prerogative. If it makes them feel good to recycle (which I have to admit I get belligerent about doing at home, since our recyclable products are collected separately from our trash), then let hem feel good. It does create additional jobs for sorting and processing the material to recycle, which is good for the local economy... And even if the drop in the bucket one individual does for this planet might actually become more like a microscopic atom (and not something comparatively as big as a water droplet) in that bucket, if it makes people feel good about doing it, then go ahead and do it (and continue feeling good about the choices you make). Whether you do it to help the local economy, do whether you make choices that actually save you money, or if you think you are helping not hurt mother Earth, the reason is yours, even if the end result is the same.
    It’s funny, my husband told me he heard on news radio recently that instead of the idea of a global warming, that, because of cyclical solar patterns, that the northern half of the western hemisphere (yes, that means the top half of the United States, including my Chicago stomping grounds) may, in the next 15 years, fall into the beginning of a light ice age (and that it may snow year ‘round in the Northern half of the continental United Sates within a few decades). So who knows, if I want to continue my rants of everything under the sun (from crime to politics to, why not, even weather), and if I listen to every news report I hear, I may have to look forward to moving somewhere warmer to continue my rants about everything wrong with this word.

Janet Kuypers
August 2015

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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