September 27, 2012

We can all make a difference, big or small

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — As I plodded forward in the grocery line the other day, I scanned the magazine rack for something to fixate my attention on.  Paula Deen’s teeth are white as ever, Kate Middleton is allegedly “preggers” with twins, and Global Warming, brought to you by TIME Magazine.

Now there’s a topic that would make anyone’s blood boil from the environmentalists to the coal companies.  As a college graduate who had a minor in environmental studies, I’ve learned more than I can handle about how even the smallest of human activity can adversely affect neighbors across the pond, or to be geographically correct, the Atlantic Ocean.  I mean, think about it — we live in a closed-in sphere for goodness sakes, climate change is a no-brainer.

It tickles my fancy how some people assume rising oceans and temperatures are a man-made notion.  They got it right that it’s man-made, but it’s no notion — it’s a reality.  The unfortunate truth about it is that we are all contributors, from how much energy we use as we leave lights on in the house during the day to how much we drive to and from work and the grocery store.  I am just as guilty as my neighbor.

Climate change causes abnormal shifts in the Earth’s weather patterns, thus creating severe floods, droughts and disease.  The despairing reality of the climate change causes an estimated 150,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization, and is hopefully enough proof to have an affect on someone’s heart enough to care.    If not, perhaps a more intense outbreak of the deadly West Nile virus might make them itch enough to change their mind, like the one that happened just a few weeks ago.

Possibly rising sea levels that are bound for highly populated coasts such as New York might grab the unbeliever’s undivided attention.  Some examples of daily interruption from climate change include the small amounts of syrup you pour onto steaming hot pancakes or honey on your buttermilk biscuits in the morning due to the lack of natural production, or the lack of coffee you brew each day because it eventually became a rare export, and lastly, the days taken off work because of how severe your allergies have become when more pollen and ragweed start to surface.

You may be wondering what’s in store for the world within the next 100 years, and perhaps you don’t even care because you’ll already be pushing up daisies.  But for me myself and my future children, I’d like to give them the best possible chance of survival.  I find it interesting that neither of the presidential candidates have discussed this issue thoroughly in their campaigns or at their conventions.  President Barack Obama has proposed bills to decrease carbon dioxide emissions that were blocked by Congress. He’s placed billions of stimulus monies into cleaner energy and doubled auto fuel economy standards.  For now, Mitt Romney has reportedly stated on the campaign trail that no one knows what’s causing climate change but he believes that it’s occurring.

But in my opinion, a presidential candidates’ opinion shouldn’t hold as much weight as your own.  They cannot turn your porch light off at night when you forget to, they can’t help you carpool to work to save on gas and overall, they certainly cannot help you to reduce your daily use of non-renewable resources.  Change doesn’t happen with a new or old president, change happens at home.

Meanwhile back at the grocery store, I stocked up on freezer items so I wouldn’t have to make as many trips a month.  Following the check-out line, I drudgingly sat in traffic for about 15 minutes as my economy car ran idle.  I then arrived home brewed some of my favorite coffee and read beside the patio window instead of turning a light on.  I’m by no means an extremist, but I am trying to make a difference, no matter how big or small.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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