A few days ago the Daily Post topic was ‘Do you think global warming is real?’ I want to talk about that but as usual that’s not really what I want to talk about. It’s common for me to start in one place and end up somewhere far, far away. So here we go.
I don’t know that much about climate science so I don’t know the answer. I don’t think we can make judgements about climate change on the basis of a five year trend. We’ll know in twenty years or fifty years but I don’t think we can see any general pattern right now. The trouble with the issue of climate change (you notice it’s not global warming anymore? It’s climate change.) The trouble with the issue of climate change is that it has become political. Both sides use evidence not to determine trends but to support their position. Facts become irrelevant. So what about global warming? I don’t know.
But here’s what I think. I think it makes sense to begin to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels. If nothing else we should be trying to divorce ourselves from our dependence on foreign sources of energy. We should be moving toward electric vehicles, toward safe nuclear energy, toward cheap safe plentiful sources of energy. But here’s the trick. We can’t do that by scaring people with melting ice caps, with predictions of violent storms, with drouth and and famine. We have to get to the place where it just makes sense to drive an electric car. We have to make it the thing to do. And that doesn’t work by scaring people or passing restrictive laws. What we need is research, technology, investment instead of scary documentaries.
On September 12, 1962 John F. Kennedy made a speech at Rice University. He set a goal. He said that we would land men on the moon and return them safely by the end of the decade. This was an amazing commitment given the things we didn’t know then, the problems that needed to be worked out, the things that looked impossible. But he said it and we did it. And we can do it now. We can make the use of cheap renewable energy the thing to do.
But going beyond that…
What JFK said applies to much more than the space race. It applies in many ways to our personal lives. Here is what he said:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
Not because they are easy but because they are hard. That applies to all of us, to our personal lives. Our goals should always be just beyond our capabilities. The cliche says our reach should exceed our grasp. We are hard wired that way. God made us that way. We are happiest, most alive when we are trying to achieve, to do something we cannot do.
See that wasn’t about global warming at all was it?