Dealing with Change and Action from an Elder’s Perspective

In my 80+ years on this good earth I have lived through the highest quality of life of any period of time in history. A primary, if not the, force bringing this about has been the products of science. Science has brought about amazing progress in medicine, food production, technology, and many other critical arenas.

I recognize that there are people in our country who reject science as providing direction to how we should live. Why is this? Perhaps some are uncomfortable with scientific advancements that suggest we should make changes in how we live. The old saying that only babies with wet diapers look forward to change may well be the case –it’s more comfortable to stay the same. Perhaps some object to science because they do not understand it and feel better with made-up answers to significant questions. Some discredit science because it continues to produce new findings.

I am on the side of those who believes that science gives us needed direction to how we must live. And I understand that science tells us that the globe is warming dangerously and that human activity is a primary, if not the primary, cause of this. Certainly there have been climate changes before in the 4 ½ billion years of the existence of planet earth that we do not fully understand (e.g., the Ice Age). The difference now is that science shows us that it is human activity that is bringing about the accelerating changes in the earth’s temperature – human activity that can be changed

So what? Surely a couple of degrees or so warmer will not make a difference. Yes, it will make a tremendous difference.

Such climate warming will result in severe heatwaves, increased frequencies of a variety of types of damaging storms, greater occurrences of drought, added amounts of water-stress, coastal flooding, increased desert areas, changes in ocean currents, and more. These conditions will greatly decrease food production and the areas where humans can live. Our whole lifestyles will be changed. And the worse part is that these changes, once they become established, are most likely not reversible. Our only chance is to keep all this from happening – NOW.

As a grandfather I do not want my grandchildren and their children to live in the climate change world we are creating. I do not want them to live in a world where constant wars are being fought over food and water. I do not want them to wonder why their ancestors, when there was a chance to halt climate warming, failed to take action and instead produced a “survival of the fittest” situation for them. I do not want their generations to experience a distinctly lower quality of life from what we have experienced.

Who should be concerned enough about this situation to take action and support those who advocated to make the necessary changes in how we live? The real answer to this is “everyone.”

Especially religious people should take the lead in the battle against climate change. If they believe that God created this earth for us to live in then we should be responsible for caring for it. Young people should also take the lead – as many are now doing – as they are obviously the ones who will inherit the damaged climate. All those who care about our young people should also take the lead.

Count me in with those who want to do what is necessary to fight climate change. I hope we can count you in too.



This blog post was written by Jim O’Hanlon

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