As I watched the national news this evening, record flooding was happening in Louisiana. I am continually amazed at the number of unusual weather reports that are occurring on nearly every news broadcast, every night. Add to that reports of arctic ice more sparse at this time this year than it has been at any time in recent history. The average global temperature is up nearly 2 degrees Celsius in the past several decades. Some reports I’ve read this past week suggest that we are past the point of being able to stop the drastic changes to our world climate.
Unfortunately, the world is headed in exactly the direction that I imagined it would go. Many saw this coming over 20 years ago and, as a society, we did little to resolve it. We are still pulling huge amounts of petroleum out of the ground. We are continuing to use hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas from the Earth. As I write this, coal is still being mined in the United States. What is wrong with us? Are we blind and dumb?
It is obvious to me what our problem is when the majority of the Republican Party in the United States has decided that a person like Donald Trump would be a good choice for president of the United States. I’ve had interesting political conversations lately with my mother, who is 80 years old. She loves Donald Trump. I’m sorry, but I must be missing something. I can’t imagine any sane person actually considering that Donald Trump would be a good choice for the office of President of the United States. Yet, my mother thinks he is wonderful. Again I say, what am I missing?
I think we’ve reached a point in our society where there is just such a deep divide between the left and the right that our political system can no longer function. We have been fueling our society for so many decades on petroleum pulled from the Earth, and a few people have become wealthy providing that petroleum, that there is no way for us to go in any other direction. It is very much like a heroin addict, who is so addicted to heroin, the addict would kill members of his own family to continue his habit. There’s no other way I can explain it. I see very clearly what we are doing to our environment. My mother thinks I’m crazy. One of us must be wrong. I hope it’s me.
If I’m not wrong, I’m glad to be almost 60 years old. Shortly after I leave this life, things are going to get really uncomfortable for our society. The drastic climate changes will ultimately destroy our civilization. I can’t imagine any other resolution since we have obviously been shown the cliff we are driving towards and have chosen to floor the accelerator.
My wife made an observation of me recently that surprised me, but only for a moment. She said that I was not a liberal when we were married nearly 18 years ago. I thought about her statement and realized that she was right. My parents were very conservative. I can remember while I was growing up as a child that I could not stand to watch any debates that were from the Democratic Party because they were so opposite to my political point of view. This was, of course, the political point of view that I had grown up with and had been taught. Because of my upbringing, when I turned 18 years of age, I was registered as a Republican. I don’t remember who I voted for in 1976, but I’m sure it wasn’t President Carter. I do remember the talk in conservative circles of the end of civilization if Jimmy Carter was elected. Perhaps surviving the Carter presidency caused me to re-evaluate my conservative political viewpoint.
Something happened to me during the next 30 years of my life. I received some life experiences, many of them as a peace officer. As I was approaching my retirement from law enforcement, I was not the same person who started a law enforcement career nearly 30 years before. I found that I could no longer watch any political programming that was tied to the Republican Party. It was like a switch was thrown. I remember vividly being a child, who was unable to stomach anything that was connected with the Democratic Party. In my 40’s, I was in the opposite position of being unable to stomach anything connected with the Republican Party. I had finally realized that life was not to be solely focused on what we could accumulate, but that there were others to consider.
Most people are clearly not interested in using green technology. Why should they be? It’s inconvenient, it costs more money, and why should we rock the boat? We’ve done things this way for over 100 years. Why not just keep going? My wife is not a person who handles change well. She is most comfortable in circumstances that have been in place for many years. Unfortunately, I guess I’m in the minority. For me, the status quo is unacceptable now, but there is not a thing I can do about it. Time and again, I have watched politicians talk about moving us to renewable energy. When the price of oil started its drastic rise in the middle of the last decade, it looked as though we finally had a reason to start using renewable energy sources. The high cost of gasoline caused many people to start thinking green. Now, more than 10 years later, since the amount of oil being consumed has dropped, the price of oil has dropped, dramatically. I foresaw the increased price of oil. What I never imagined was that oil prices would drop so drastically when people stopped using oil so much.
The problem was that the people selling the oil were losing money. In order to keep everyone hooked on oil, they had to reduce the price. Add to that more countries being able to sell oil, like Iran. Where is the motivation now for not using oil? I was in Washington State 4 weeks ago where I paid $1.74 per gallon for gasoline. That is a big difference from the more than $4.00 per gallon I was paying in California not long ago. SUV’s are big sellers again and no one seems to be concerned about how many miles per gallon an automobile gets anymore. Electric utility companies are changing their rate structure to stop the addition of more residential solar panels. Do you see a pattern here? Our society started moving toward renewable energy sources, but the people supplying the old sources didn’t like what they were seeing. They saw their profits being slashed, they did something about it, and almost no one in our society has noticed.
I am saddened when I see families, who have been flooded out of their homes when floods never touched their neighborhoods before. It is terrible to see the loss of life and property from hurricanes, tornadoes, and cyclones that are now stronger and more frequent than at any other time in our recorded history. Things are not going to get better, they will get worse. Unfortunately for our society, the time to make a difference has passed.