Respect Your Mother…

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Today, April 22, is Earth Day. Above is a photo of my favorite T-shirt, with a message that is always worth a reminder, 365 days a year–unless it’s Leap Year. [Note to my darling daughters: you should in no way assume this is directed at you!]

The fact that due to numerous washings, the vividness of that image is fading gives me pause. But as I always seek a note of optimism, I think of all the kids throughout the world who recently staged a school walkout to stress their concern about climate change. They, too, are a reminder to us that it’s their world we’re screwing up–and we’d better get moving–for their sakes.

My fellow blogger Julia Elizabeth, at juliaelizabethblog.com, notes the following:

“Forty-nine years ago, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of industrial development, giving birth to an international environmental movement. Today it is estimated that over one billion people across 192 countries take part in this global event, binding together to fight for our planet and our future.”

In commemorations of this day, you’ll probably read and hear tons of things that we mortals should be doing in the face of the huge challenge looming ahead of us as a result of climate change. (I’m assuming my blogging community believes in science, and therefore I don’t have to persuade you about the existential threat we face.)

Julia Elizabeth, who calls herself a “nomad,”  offers “19 Small Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 2019 From Anywhere.” Her suggestions include the easily accomplished, such as “Turn off the tap when brushing, shaving, and shampooing,” and the slightly less convenient: “Bring your reusable bags, water bottles, coffee cups, cutlery sets, and so on wherever you go.”

She adds the more challenging but equally important: “Say no to plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws…basically anything and everything made from plastic.” And some that are especially aimed at travelers, such as: “Opt for eco-friendly accommodation…”

To remind us what’s at stake, here are some beautiful and devastating photos in a slide show from National Geographic. I thank Gini’s Nature Notes for alerting me to these.

Julia Elizabeth concludes with a quotation from chef Annie-Marie Bonneau:

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I think that’s a perfect ending, one that I hope leads to new and better beginnings in this journey that calls upon us all to be activists to ensure our future.

As always, I welcome your thoughts, stories, and any suggestions and anecdotes about your own efforts and/or recommended reading related to our topic: “Respect Your Mother.”

Cheers!

Annie

UPDATE: An astute member of our community posted a link to an invaluable resource from the Union of Concerned Scientists. I encourage anyone who wants to know more about climate change–including skeptics–to go to the Comments section and scroll down til you see the link from frankaufman. Thank you, Fran!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Respect Your Mother…

  1. My thoughts on this topic Annie. I believe Climate Change is over politicised hype. I believe that natural forces of the universe and the general evolution of our planet contribute more to climate change than humans. Ideologues are always predicting disasters i.e. AOC and her ilk predicting unfathomable disaster in ten years. This rhetoric contributes little to the discussion.

    I believe that we humans have a duty and responsibility to not pollute our environment. I believe we should legislate manufacturers over too much packaging. Like you I believe disposable plastics should be banned. We have become a disposable, consumer society because of the power of advertising pushed by manufacturers and retailers in their push to maximize profits. We have to walk the balance between economic well being without destroying the environment. Lets have a reasoned discussion without the doomsday political pandering of politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Len–

      I emphatically agree with your second paragraph. As to the first, I think we’ve passed the question of “belief” about the detrimental human impact on climate. Here’s some info gathered by NASA, not a biased group:

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi1vsrFl-fhAhWCm-AKHZdyB7sQFjACegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fclimate.nasa.gov%2Fscientific-consensus%2F&usg=AOvVaw1qPuH9jN4YnWcqq_lNhTQ4

      I’m all for reasoned discussions, but it’s inevitable that if there’s a preponderance of evidence that we need to address an issue affecting us all, and we’re running out of time, the topic will be–and in my view, should be–a big part of our political discourse.

      Cheers!
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Annie: I’m no expert on climate change. I just typed “pros and cons of climate change” into the search engine and a number of interesting sites came up on both sides of the arguments. Science is becoming our new infallible religion, with scientists replacing prophets. I don’t believe we can predict the earth’s conditions 20 years from now, let alone 100 years. Also the further out the prediction the greater cause for error. I have also never understood why the handling of waste, such as plastics, and trying to clean our oceans is lumped in with climate change. It seems a different issue. Thanks as usual Annie for making me think about issues effecting us all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi, Len—

        I’m glad you were motivated to check other sources, but you must be careful to make sure the sources you select don’t have financial motivation. Exxon, for example, has been quietly working for years to combat the impact of climate change due to their work—while simultaneously denying that human-created climate change exists.

        But here’s where I think the bottom line is: if the worriers are right, and the deniers prevent the kinds of creative—and job-creating—efforts that the vast majority of scientists say must start soon if we are to keep Life on earth sustainable—we have left our grandchildren or great grandchildren facing disaster. If we err, I think it’s demonstrably better that we do so on the side of caution.

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  2. In the 1859 Carrington Event , a solar flare interfered with telegraph transmissions and set telegraph offices on fire. A large enough solar flare today if it hit Earth directly would not knock out power lines, erase all bank account records, shut down computers, and destroy the economy, reducing us to the status of the Dark Ages. Without refrigeration there would be no medicine or vaccines etc.
        Solar flares are a much greater threat, and as far as things on Earth, the greatest polluters on Earth are the Chinese. They are going full out with mining and burning coal for their industries. If there is doom, nothing we do to cut back will save the world now because they absolutely refuse to cut back.
        The sun’s behavior has not been conforming to any of our hypothesized models. It is possible that every 100,000 years or so it does unexpected things. Our historical records are not reliable even looking at the bubbles frozen in ancient ice cores for clues. As far as what the Sun’s cycle was like a million years ago… it’s not known.
        But yes, we ourselves can respect Mother Earth despite the others, and the possibility of the futility of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Doug—

      The possibility of solar flares or deadly asteroids seems to me to be irrelevant to this topic—akin to “you can be struck by lightening, so why bother cleaning the refrigerator?”

      The extent of pollution by other large countries is more relevant, but simply serves to underscore how important the US presence, indeed, leadership, is in international efforts to reverse course before it’s too late.
      Annie

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  3. Oh, sorry. I’m making all kinds of typos. I meant solar flares would knock out power lines. I don’t know why I typed in not. When I’m tired and type too fast, I make a lot of mistakes. My negatives are often deadly: “I wouldn’t be inclined to disagree” becomes “I would be inclined…” and vice versa. Maybe it’s a Freudian slip: I’d prefer to agree with you. Or maybe it’s overcompensation for leaving out “not” in polite phrases like “I’m not sure I’d do that if I were you”.

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  4. Thank you, Annie. Thank you, Fran. Love the concept of lots of us doing things even if imperfectly. Makes so much sense. And creates little victories . . . refusing straws, reusable bags, conserving water, replacing grass, using bicycles, eliminating beef . . . everything counts and all of it adds to heightened general awareness. Thanks for your work here. Keep it coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OK. Yes I see. It is a complex issue, but nearly everything is relevant: solar activity, ocean currents that redistribute heat, volcanic activity above and below, variations in the jet stream that are not predictable, cloud formation (that blocks the sun), motion of the tectonic plates, variation in reflective values of land masses, and complex interactions and feedback between all the systems of Earth over multiple thousand year cycles.
    I recommend “Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change? (it provides all of the scientific references from peer reviewed journals).

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    1. Thank you, Doug. I’ll check out the source you recommend. But I can’t tell if your more recent response came after you read the Union of Concerned Scientists’ material that is now linked to my post. If not, I hope you’ll read it.

      As I told another respondent, in the final analysis, I think it’s clear that if the sustainability of life on earth hangs in the balance—as the vast preponderance of scientists say—then humans must control what we can. In other words, we can’t be deflected by those who say we’re wrong (who usually have monetary motivation); with the stakes so high, any potential erring must be on the side of caution—preserving, and trying to improve—the existence of Mother Earth.

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  6. Asteroids, solar flares and climate change, oh my. It’s a list of hazards that warms the [cold] heart of an insurance professional.

    Consider Lloyd’s of London, a 300+ year old institution where people make profits managing risk and uncertainty. Lloyd’s and other insurance companies maintain lists of “big risks” that can affect their profits. Those big risks include asteroids, solar flares, climate change, and many more.

    The risk of major asteroid strikes is low enough that it does enter normal business practice. However the risk is not zero. Government agencies take the risk seriously. https://gizmodo.com/nasa-and-fema-will-simulate-an-impending-asteroid-strik-1834308695. If astronomical data showed a high enough chance of a highly damaging collision, some insurance companies might choose to not sell insurance.

    Dealing with solar flares, in 2010, Lloyd’s reminded its underwriters that the usual 11-year solar flare cycle would soon reach it peak. Underwriters with exposure to that event – insurers of power lines, transmission systems, especially, should consider risk mitigation strategies like not-insurering those with the least secure systems, higher deductibles and policy exclusion. Damages cascading through society along the lines of the Carrington Event, with the extensions Doug described, were considered to be low likelihood because, among other reasons, systems are generally more secure today than was the case 150 years ago.

    Regarding climate change, most of the relevant insurance policies are written for one year at a time. Therefore, insurers are shielded from the long term consequences of climate change. However, climate change has required a change in perspective. In the past, Lloyd’s underwriters might expect that while any year’s hurricanes, tornados/ windstorms, or flood)were uncertain in number of and size, in the long run the events would follow historical patterns, adjusted for denser populations in risky areas. With climate change, Lloyd’s underwriters know that they must adjust the expected size and severity of events upward year-to-year.

    In the insurance world it is widely understood that, like the risk from asteroids and solar flares, the risk from current human-induced climate change is real and ongoing.

    With all three risks, there are actions we can take that might mitigate the damaging effects of those hazards. However, we cannot eliminate asteroids or solar flares. On the other hand, the root cause of the current climate change is human activity. The useful discussion is about the best ways to address that root cause, and about how quickly that might be done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Allan, this entire response is enormously helpful. People who aren’t persuaded by scientists may well be inclined to “follow the money,” ie, those insurers must be making smart business decisions—maybe there’s something to it.
      Among other matters, I thank you for putting solar flares into perspective, and I must admit that I didn’t realize their prevalence.
      And your concluding paragraph was just great, tying everything together so well.
      I hope your thoughtful responses to the issues I raise will find their way here “early and often.”
      Annie

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      1. Well, we have to hope we’ll see the likes of Tesla again. There are some creative efforts emerging in various parts of the world—and my optimistic side tells me that even those who deny humans’ role in climate change are happy to cash in on the increasingly good business opportunities offered by alternative energy sources. Inspired by your recent Don Quixote subplot, I am reminded that tilting at windmills seems to be one of a number of sound, profitable ventures.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s an interesting article from 2016:
    What causes an ice age and what would happen if the Earth endured another one? by Kylie Andrews

        As late as June 2016, scientists have been trying to “have their cake and eat it too.” Dr. Steven Phipps explains that Ice Ages begin and end because of variations in the Earth’s tilt, wobble, and orbit around the Sun. According to the historical cycles, we are due for an Ice Age. He claims that the Industrial Revolution has prevented the normal cycle from happening.
        Well, here’s a note that is buried between the lines: suppose that we ended all industry and pollution, and went back to Stone Age living. Then, due to the Earth’s wobble and orbit cycle, we would have an Ice Age.
        If we are to believe the certainty of these theories that is claimed, then Industry is a good thing. The uncertainty of these theories is lost in all the shouting about “Global Warming!”.
        You’ll remember that Newsweek magazine in 1975 was shouting about “The Cooling World, the ice age is coming!!!”. (“The Cooling World,” April 28, 1975, Peter Gwynne, Newsweek.)

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    1. This is all very interesting, Doug, but how many people do you know who are advocating ending all industry? I’ll leave out pollution, except to note that the Chinese, with a terrible pollution problem, now far surpass us in their efforts to increase their use of renewable energy sources–primarily hydroelectric and wind power. I’m not sure anyone believes we can end pollution either, but we can surely reduce it.

      Every source I can think of sees renewable energy as a huge growth area, both aiding the economy by creating jobs and holding back the ravages of climate change. That’s certainly the premise behind the Green New Deal, which is intended as a conceptual framework, not a distinct legislative proposal.

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