Living Free of Global Warming and Climate Change

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Climate change and global warming have become political buzz words.  The right denies the science, the center accepts it and the left pleads for action.  Libertarians don’t give a crap, I think.  I guess their thinking is a little like Bill Belichick’s mantra, “it is what it is”, meaning, leave me the hell alone to live free or die, which is the saying on the back of New Hampshire license plates, a place where people don’t pay state income or sales tax, and I don’t think they pay their legislators very much either.  I once saw a tampered license plate that read: live free and die, which is more in tune with the natural cycle of life. We’re so dang polarized that it seems everything is either or.

The thing with climate change, and I’ve probably written this before, is that people really don’t care and are just used to taking sides.  If you are a conservative and never paid much attention in science class but have gone on and done well for yourself financially, why not side with the right? It’s your right. And if you don’t, a dang liberal might get elected and take away your tax advantage or worse, your gun!  I think that’s what people in the U.S. fear the most – that they’d be disarmed and then defenseless.  But against what? Global warming?  Hey, when that once in a lifetime hurricane comes around twice a year, an AK-47 won’t do much good. You’d literally be shooting in the wind.  That openly carried revolver won’t intimidate those raging wildfires and I’ve never seen a shotgun bring on the rains in dry California.  Now, I know that no one wants their gas guzzling carbon dioxide spewing SUV outlawed.  This is another big concern.  I mean, gas is cheap once again thanks to our fracking ways. Who cares if some guy in Pennsylvania has flammable tap water.  He could move to New Hampshire where the water is clean and unflouridated.

I also have a suspicion that many people just don’t want to think too deeply about something difficult to understand.  But if you pose the question the right way, I do believe that many folks would come around and admit that human activity has contributed to the warming of the planet.  It doesn’t take a scientist to see the effects of climate change. Take Boston. In 2015, it had the warmest January on record and also the most snow ever recorded for a season.  Down South, Texas and Arkansas had snow, ice and cold temperatures like never before.  People know something is going on.  It’s not just the natural ebb and tide of mother nature.  But the sad thing is that people know and do nothing.  They let politicians say and do the stupidest things like that one who help up a snowball as proof that the planet is not warming. What an idiot. The problem is we live this present tense existence.  No one seems to care too much about 50 years down the road.  Folks don’t seem too concerned about a livable planet for their children and grandchildren.  And very few are saving sufficiently for retirement either.  Live free for today; we’ll save and die later…but let’s not think about that now. But let’s do go out and buy an Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy 6. Instant gratification.

One might argue that the handwriting is beginning to form on the wall as you may recall from the book of Daniel where the tale originates.  The handwriting turned out to be a warning, actually, as is often the case in the Old Testament, a punishment from God, who found that party King Belshazzar had been insufficiently humble, wanting and unworthy of his reign.  He was shortly thereafter slain.  I think there is a lesson here, particularly as regards the question of humility. If we don’t show more respect for our planet, it may be handed over to a more intelligent life form from another planet to straighten things out. It’d kind of be like planet earth looses its certification and has to be temporarily held in receivership by some alien grownup with brains.

This all reminds me of a Star Trek episode called “Arena” from Season 1 where Kirk fights some Godzilla-like creature called a Gorn. The lizard monster has the upper hand with brute strength, so Kirk has to make gunpowder somehow and knocks the monster unconscious with a powerful projectile to the body.  Kirk stands over “Godzilla” with a knife, but decides not to kill him.  Then some childish god, who was like 1,500 earth years old, said that he would spare Captain Kirk and his people because he had shown the advanced property of mercy, to which Kirk replied that he hoped he could work out some diplomatic peace with the Gorn’s people.  The Captain was not found wanting and given another chance.  Let’s hope politicians learn to read before the writing appears on the wall, because when it does, it will be too late.

2011 – A Year for the History Books

Here is a brief look back at some of the most significant moments and events of 2011:

President Obama made good on campaign promises to end the War in Iraq.  The last of the military troops left Iraq on December 18th.

President Obama went a long way toward fulfilling another campaign promise to crush al-Qaida by giving orders to a team of Navy Seals and CIA operatives to take out Osama bin Laden, which was accomplished.  Bin Laden is dead.

One of the most signifcant chain of events of the decade, if not century, was the Arab Spring/Winter/Uprising/Awakening which led to the overthrow of the governments in Tunisa, Egypt and Libya, power changes in Yemen, Jordan and Kuwait and a number of significant concessions in Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Syria.  It all started in 2010 with a fruit vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire in protest of brutal economic policies that made it nearly impossible for him to make a living.

The Japan earthquake of 2011 was the strongest Japan had ever experienced and one of the most powerful on record. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that  swept away villages, killing nearly 20,000 and causing the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Global Warming – it’s real.  Here’s an in your face look at just how warm 2011 was compared to the years 1961-1990.

The Arizona Massacre shocked the country.  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, one of the victims of the shootings, made a miraculous recovery and brief, dramatic return to Congress.

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, the progressive response to business and politics as usual spread to a number of cities throughout the country.

Elizabeth Warren began her challenge to Senator Scott Brown for the MA Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy.

RIP to fallen American and Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and to all innocent civilians.

And RIP:

Harry Morgan (Colonel Sherman T. Potter of M*A*S*H)

Amy Winehouse – such a talent and tragically, short-lived life

Steve Jobs – the world will never be the same because of him and without him

Vaclav Havel – poet, dissident, leader of the velvet revolution and president of the Czech Republic

Sergent Shriver, one of the key champions of the Peace Corp; Andy Rooney; civil rights activist,Fred Shuttlesworth; writer Christopher Hitchens and musicians including singers Amy Winehouse, Cesoria Evora and jazz drummer Paul Motian among others.

Thank you GOP for sponsoring such a wonderful circus featuring the most entertaining characters like the Ross Perot look-a-like Ron Paul who has passed 1 bill in 14 years in Congress; Rick Santorum, who is the new anti-Romney and darling of the Tea Party, who has a mean streak and is capable of a Howard Dean rebel yell moment; Michelle Bachmann who is at the bottom of the polls in her home state of Iowa; Rick Perry who has had more oops moments than all of the candidates combined; delusional Newton Gingrich; Mitt (for the Mittle Class) Romney who has made friends with the OWS by declaring corporations people; Herman Cain the pizza guy who crashed in dramatic fashion after allegations surfaced against him of sexual harassment.  In his carefully orchestrated farewell address, he closed with a Pokey Man quote.  Oh, I forgot Huntsman, who is still in the hunt, but just barely; and there are some interesting side shows like Gary Johnson, who like Ron Paul, would legalize marijuana, but unlike Paul, probably not heroin.  The GOP hasn’t let him play so he looks to be turning to the Libertarian Party for a go at the Presidency and perhaps become the spoiler; and finally, there is Buddy Roemer, the only candidate with a degree in economics (from Harvard, no less) the former Governor of Lousiana who the GOP won’t allow to be in the same room as the other candidates.  He truly is a one man side show.

On a lighter note, 2011 brought me Spotify, and I can’t imagine life without it.  Thank you Spotifiy.

2011 was  a year that historians will highlight as one of the most significant of the first decade of the new millennium.  I wonder what 2012 will bring?

Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Japan, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, Haiti, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Pakistan.  I could fill the page with country after country whose people have recently experienced some of the worst natural disasters ever recorded.  Stephen King would be hard pressed to write a novel that compares to the horror that mother nature has unleashed on humankind in recent years.

But is nature random? Earthquakes are difficult to predict but are not random in the sense that one is completely unexpected.  We know where the trouble spots are.

What about climate change? Not random either.  Naysayers suggest we are just in one of those warming cycles, but the science proves otherwise.  Skeptics point to colder winters and increased snowfall as evidence that global warming is a scam.  However, these extreme weather patterns suggest something even more sinister – climate change.  These are not random events, but are all connected.

Global warming has been accelerated due to human action – the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas, the cutting down of forests, and the use of fertilizers in agricultural practices, all actions that produce greenhouse gasses.   As a result of elevated levels of these radiation absorbing gasses in the atmosphere, we’ve witnessed a rise in average temperatures, the melting of the polar ice-caps, a rise in sea levels, heavier rainfall, more extreme weather events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones and the like causing all manner of catastrophes including flooding, mudslides, drought, and wildfires.

Unless governments and people commit to reducing carbon footprints, we are likely to witness more horrific disasters in our lifetimes, and our children may inherit a planet dramatically different from what we know now.  It is a sobering thought, but worth remembering.

AirTran and Kyoto – What’s the Link?


I was mindlessly watching a ridiculous AirTran commercial in which two marketing assistants or maybe interns were trying to come up with an idea for a promotion. They were randomly selecting dictionary entries. This got me thinking, weeks later, because I was certainly not at the time, that I should do something similar as a post or even a series of posts for my blog. Inspired by this insipid commercial, I grabbed my copy of Webster’s New Explorer Dictionary (yes, I have one and refer to it from time to time when too lazy to log on to my slow computer) opened it to a random page and with eyes closed pointed to an entry on the Heian period, page 546 in between Hegira and Martin Heidegger. I would prefer to write about Hejira or Heidegger but must respect the integrity of the challenge…and so the Heian period.

Did you know the Heian period named for the capital city Heian-kyo (Kyoto) spans the years 794-1185 of Japanese history? This epoch is best remembered for its aristocratic culture committed to “aesthetic refinement through poetry and calligraphy”. I would have been an outcast in this culture. My calligraphic skills do not exist – my handwriting is a frenetic mix of cursive and print. My poems, if you can even call them poetry, lack refinement.

The Kyoto Protocol, a treaty designed to combat global warming was ratified by most countries in 1997, but not the US of A, the world’s biggest producer of carbon dioxide emissions. Thanks to the Bush administration and pressure from the U.S. Senate, the USA officially does not take global warming seriously, that is until now. The Obama administration has made climate change a priority, along with health care, immigration, national security, the economy, cash for clunkers, Afghanistan….and has pledged to work with international negotiators to craft a new treaty that would be more effective than Kyoto.

Hey, maybe AirTran will be the first commercial airline to power its fleet of planes with plug-in electric batteries. And why not have poetry slams and calligraphy lessons aboard all domestic flights.  Can you picture the flight attendants handing out free AirTran quills and inkwells to deboarding passengers?

Thank you for choosing AirTran
You know we really care
Fly us again if you can
The most refined bird in the air