Changing Climate, Changing Habits?

By Tony Moorby August 12, 2019 58

For the longest time, my position on global warming was somewhat antediluvian. The pun hangs pretty heavily here as floods may well be part of a more and more immediate future.

Most people would agree that change is something we handle, according to circumstances, as a matter of course.

The thing that puts the pressure on is the rate of change. If it outstrips our ability to alter direction or ways of doing things, then it overtakes, usually with less-than-acceptable consequences.

There was a time when references to climate change, for me, conjured up images of back-to-nature hippies, making love – to trees probably – copping out on the more serious sides of making a living. That was until Al Gore came along with his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” It got my attention and while a lot of his prognostications were a bit over the top – Florida is not yet under water – the idea that we should take responsibility for our environment more seriously is starting to sink in (sorry).

Now, I’m not up on the science of global warming and I’m not sure that many people are, but we would be remiss if we didn’t take notice of things going on around us and to start to adjust the way we handle some “normal” everyday activities that may make a difference to the rate of change, no matter how small.

Mind you, I still believe that some major influences are in place, enough to belittle man’s attempts. Some scientists point out that the sun became “warmer” in the last century with solar flare activity greater than in recent history. They now say that the sun has become “quieter”, reversing, albeit glacially (oops) slowly, the overarching heating trends seen here.

There are some ironies that prevail with references to warming. In spite of a 1 degree Centigrade increase in the world temperature over the last century most of the world’s oceans are becoming cooler – probably the single most influencing factor to change weather patterns – melting icecaps being the major contributor and altering not only the courses of currents but the depths at which they occur, allowing warm currents from the south to melt the icecap from underneath. Vice versa in the Antarctic.

By the way, weather patterns are measured every day, whereas climate is studied over much longer periods of time.

We tend to judge things by the short term so during an ice storm in Tennessee it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear, “So much for Global Warming!”

You can’t help getting the feeling that human habits are now coming back to bite us in the backsides. Using all kinds of nasty methods to make and use plastic aren’t enough to spoil the environment. We throw it away after we’re done with it and ship it off to China – literally. And what, pray tell, do they do with it? They burn it or throw it in the sea. Either way is fueling a long-term disaster. Now they’re saying they don’t want it anymore so garbage gluts will fill all kinds of corners of the world with little or no control over its disposal.

Let’s hope that technology comes to the rescue. Invent some innocuous replacement for plastic. Actually, we used to use a terrific product and should look at bringing it back to broader acceptance in everyday use – glass. It’s the ultimately recyclable product many times over. Remember bottle banks? Widely the collection system failed through ignorance and inefficiency.

If you want to carry your groceries home in a store-provided plastic bag in the UK you will pay handsomely for the privilege. Here, while the local supermarket encourages you to use your own bags, they still ask at the checkout, “Plastic OK?” and proceed to put a few items in as many bags as the packer feels is convenient.

Change should start happening at the everyday user level to have an impact higher up the chain.

Meanwhile Al Gore bought a mansion in Montecito, Calif. – by the sea!

 

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Last modified on Monday, 12 August 2019 15:47

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