I was the chauffeur last Friday who took my youngest granddaughters to the Climate Strike demonstration in front of the Fayette County, KY, Courthouse. I did this at the request of their mother, my daughter, the hydrologist who works for the Kentucky Environmental Protection Agency. The young women are a teen and a pre-teen on the cusp.
These may seem to be odd arrangements and relationships for someone, such as I, who has a very decided stance on global warming. Just last week, I wrote a blog entry that criticized those who would hide behind complexity. But I will hasten to add that global warming is very complicated — too complicated for humans, apparently. Let me make some observations:
- I supported my granddaughters and my daughter because I support their spirit of civil disobedience. The point of the climate strike was that school children would skip school to express their impatience with the seeming complacency of their elders.
- I was concerned for the safety of my granddaughters. This turned out to be misoverestimated, but I am a contemporary of those gunned down at Kent State University, so I always get queasy when people come up against the police state.
- I had lots of time on the 60 mile round-trip to Lexington to share information with my granddaughters — and I have the rest of my lifetime as well, just so long as we expect one another to be rational.
- Most of our climate information comes to us from people whose hair is on fire — the media, the deniers, the protesters, the promoters, and the politicians. How many pictures have we seen just this year of the edge of the ice. There is always an edge to the ice! Somewhere! The Earth is not covered in solid ice. Yet these photos are presented to us as evidence that all the ice in the world is melting at a breakneck pace.
- At demonstrations, you will nearly always hear that you must vote. I pointed out to the young women that those of us who are over 18 only get to vote against Mitch McConnell once every 6 years, while the coal industry gets to vote every day, with dollars. The deck is stacked.
- One of the entities at the Lexington event, distributing flyers and speaking through a bullhorn, was the Kentucky Democratic Socialists. They claimed to have an environmental project to justify their presence, but one suspects they have a project for every occasion. Their agenda suggests that they were politicizing this event.
- The crowd was underwhelming. About twenty minutes in, I counted just over forty people, and school children were less than half of that number.
- Three suits watched us from the vestibule of the federal courthouse. US Marshals? FBI?
- Most of the high school students who spoke at the event were articulate, but they are the outliers.
- Although I am a scientist, I am jaded about people who claim that authority as their main argument for a holding. As a scientist, I always suspect fortune telling and handwaving.
- It would not surprise me if the world were indeed in a warming phase, of some finite duration.
- It would surprise me to find that there is some set of incontrovertible evidence predicting the future. I am reminded of Butch Cassidy‘s movie prognostication that “The fall will probably kill ya.” Are we sure that nothing else will get us before global warming does?
- Do we think that politicians even care? Do we think that corporate CEO’s, who are concerned only with this year’s books, care about the future?
- Anthropogenic is the 50 cent word we use to show we are smart enough not to insist that humans take the blame for global warming. Human nature is part of Nature. We are the ones who buy extended cab pickup trucks and Mercedes SUV’s as soon as gas prices dip slightly.
- Do we think that people, who have been engaged in war throughout their history, will suddenly do something that makes sense?
- Do we think the Earth was created only for the short term health and welfare of the few generations living today?
- I am not a denier. I am not a decrier. I am not a seer. I am not a fearmonger. I am not a scientist who thinks he is part of a priesthood.
— Verbal Vol