Saturday, January 20, 2007

I had a dream........Thank you, Martin.

I woke up this morning having dreamt about my ex-brother-in-law and timber salvage legislation. In the dream, I was explaining to my sister how salvage legislation left the door open for cutting almost any timber, when he handed me an article detailing how that was no longer true. I said that, due to the new Democratic majority, they must have tightened up the legislation before passing it. So I woke up with a renewed sense of hope that I had not dared to feel, until very recently. I've been saying for six years, that my baseline blood pressure would be elevated for as long as G.W. Bush was in office. So, for my own health (and yours and that of the next seven generations), I think his impeachment is worth considering.

But, speaking of hope, I was drinking (organic) coffee and talking with a friend of mine yesterday, when he mentioned that, on one of the forums he watches on biodiesel, people were talking about how maybe global warming wasn't real, and that record temperatures were just due to natural cycling. Boy, did I go from there: I told him that even the "normal" cycling is changing, and that there is no doubt that global warming is happening. He commented that he doesn't know any of the science on the subject, and that he can't do anything about global warming. Yeah, right.

This is the guy who decided to buy an old diesel truck and convert it to run on vegetable oil, just to cut his fuel cost. This is the guy who commented that I prepare for things so thoroughly that he figures I would pull a spare car on a trailer if I went on a journey, just in case the first car broke down. Unlike me and my preparations, he just decided to do it, and did it. He researched how to do so on-line, then figured out how to do it better, and has set up four different vehicles with a hybrid diesel/vegetable oil fuel delivery system, learning a lot more with each iteration.

This is the guy who decided to burn vegetable oil because converting it to biodiesel involved hazardous materials and was more expensive. And he can't do anything about global warming. At that moment, I didn't try to convince him otherwise, although we'd talked about this before.

So I explained some of the science of global warming to him; how scientists (some of whom are friends of mine) use tree ring widths to extrapolate climate averages; how they've re-constructed tree ring widths back into the past; how they have drilled ice cores and aged the ice and extracted entrapped gases to estimate climate; how there is no doubt that the earth's surface is warming at an unprecedented rate; and that ice is disappearing more quickly than people estimated or feared, and that it is now feared that much of what is happening could be irreversible.

He just commented that he couldn't do anything about it.

So I woke up this morning hoping to convince him otherwise, because I keep trying. I tried when I signed on-line petitions and when I talked with people about how they were voting. I tried when I was a Technical Specialist, working with students and telling them about things they could do. I tried when I helped a University faculty search committee choose a climate scientist to fill a vacancy. I tried when I taught Environmental Science to a class of 40 students from Japan, Bulgaria, South Carolina, rural New York state and New York City's boroughs. I try when I do as many errands as I can in one trip. I try when I talk with my son about what matters to each of us. I try when I look on-line for a diesel truck that I can convert to vegetable oil fuel.

My friend is not a liberal, not a Democrat, not an environmentalist. But we have been good friends because we are both willing to hear the other's viewpoint and give it a good listen, but still disagree on some things. We don't disagree about how much we love our wives and children, nor about how corrupt our government is, although we sometimes disagree about what should be done to correct it, and so on.

I like to think that, if he and I can disagree but continue to respect each other and continue to talk about what change is needed for our boys to have a good life, there is still hope. I hope that the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress will just be the beginning.

2 comments:

Doug said...

For another look at hope, check http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1994747,00.html

Doug said...

Or check out http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12062

About Me

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I've been a number of things over the years: husband, father, environmental technical specialist, college instructor, carpenter, volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, student of Lakota and Japanese languages, technical writer, process engineer, research technician, IT technician, emergency dispatcher, etc.