Something caught my attention in our local “green” newspaper. I regard it as disgraceful. The people who put out the paper do not.
The paper serves up the usual scare stories about us running out of oil and gas. And tells us how global warming will have us cooking hot dogs on our rooftops within a decade. I’m sorry, soydogs. It urges us to plant windmills in our back yards. And all that.
It pleads with us to buy only foods produced within fifty miles. That set me to Googling for Bordeaux wines and camembert produced in upstate New York. No luck yet.
The paper’s ideas are not disgraceful. Fanciful perhaps.
The disgraceful parts are articles from two youngsters, one 11, one a year older.
One describes how our lives will fall to pieces when we run out of oil. We will horde plastics because they will be rare. People won’t be able to get to work “because oil won’t be available or affordable.”
We might be reduced to electricity half an hour a day. We will hesitate to cook eggs on a stove or run a load of laundry. Because electricity will cost so much.
Pets will starve. Humans too. If they don’t starve they may freeze to death.
The other student begins with “Now is the winter of our discontent.” He goes into “new problems, new quandaries, and new strife, the most frightening of which is peak oil.” He says bring on wind, solar and hydro, but no more oil or nuclear.
He looks forward to the day when the oil is gone. Because this will mean the end of oil-based fertilizers and pesticides and “most material goods”. This will help local farming.
What seems disgraceful to me is the propaganda these kids spew. These are not their own thoughts. They have been spoon fed this stuff. Often in school.
What seems disgraceful is the bleakness of their views. Whoever is teaching them is not doing them favors in the optimism department.
Do I believe we should teach such kids to only peer through rose-tinted lenses? No, but here are a few ideas.
1. Many geologists reckon “peak oil” concepts are a myth. They back up their views with a lot of science. Are they right? I don’t know. But I know that teaching kids we are doomed because we will run out of oil soon is a disgrace.
2. Changes come gradually. If the pessimists are right about oil, the change will come step by step. Other fuels will come on line. Prices will inspire us to move in different directions. There will be vacuums that technology will fill.
3. Many scientists tell us that within 15 years most of the earth’s electricity will come from converting the sun’s rays. That will make electric cars far more practical than today. It will slash oil usage. Are they right? I don’t know. But encouraging kids to feel their fried eggs are endangered is a disgrace.
4. For every global warming theory there is one that refutes it. There is an army of scientists who claim warming is no problem. Or does not exist. Or is natural, so live with it.
5. When the first ancester stood erect one of his friends predicted he would whack his head on stalactites. Told him he would ruin his feet. Told him he would attract ferocious animals.
In other words, kids, we have always had pessimists. We always will. And you will always have choices. You can embrace gloom. You can embrace optimism. You can weigh them against each other. You can look at data that show humankind has never lived so long. You can compare our air, water and quality of life with those of previous generations and find they are better today.
And from this kid to kids of today: Yes, the meek will inherit the earth. But the optimists will be neck and neck with them.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
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