One of the things I’ve long appreciated about my parents is their consistent encouragement to sit down at the table, with me, and talk about everything. Let me be clear… as a kid, I didn’t always like it. I wasn’t always fond of it. And often it was either (a) incredibly inconvenient, (b) significantly painful, or (c) just something I’d rather not discuss.
But with sincere prodding, knowing some of the topics were especially not easy, they each encouraged my siblings and me to engage, sharing what we were feeling and thinking. The Intramuralist thus learned the value in processing together. Some of that was good, bad, and ugly. Sometimes some of our thoughts and beliefs didn’t make any sense. But the freedom to process what we were thinking proved to be an invaluable, growth opportunity — for all of us — even when my perspective was illogical or untrue. It would have been far easier for my parents to simply shut the conversation down or invite no more. Yet they were wiser than me; they knew we would grow from the processing.
In recent weeks, I’ve overheard multiple conversations — especially regarding the enormity of calamity…
Hurricane Harvey… the massive storm that meandered over Eastern Texas for no doubt way too long, causing catastrophic, unheard of flooding…
Hurricane Irma… Harvey’s sui generis sister, which wrecked havoc on the Caribbean and much of the State of Florida, reportedly destroying at least 25% of homes in the Florida Keys…
Fires in the Pacific Northwest… multiple cataclysmic blazes in Montana, Oregon, and Washington, shaping up to be what the Associated Press calls “one of the worst in U.S. history in land burned.”
Add to such reports from my sweet friend in the Galápagos Islands, where the unsuspecting La Cumbre volcano erupted on Fernandina Island after a decade of dormancy.
It’s no wonder those concerned about our Earth’s climate have been increasingly vocal. With repeated refrains echoing from Houston to Key West, persons are seriously, genuinely concerned about the state of our planet. I deeply respect, appreciate, and share such concern.
Please note I am no expert. No scientist either. Like many of you, my limited perspective comes from reading and research and talking to those who know more than me. I try to talk to far more than partisans or the likeminded. Such a practice helps me grow.
I am also committed to being a wise steward of all that’s in my possession. That means I believe in treating our Earth well. Because you and I both live here, I want us both to treat it well. We are in this together. Always. The challenge arises, no less, because treating something well inherently includes a variety of approach.
With the recent perceived uptick in calamitous events, I’ve noticed a promoted change in the allowance of varied approach. Allow me to quote a current, promoted school of thought:
There is only one right way to think.
In last week’s The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard, the investigative editor at large, sincerely responded to some of the disasters mentioned above… “The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking.” I so agree.
Hertsgaard went further. He concluded Hurricane Harvey, etal. were the result of man’s lack of implementing more protective, climate change measures; he holds “climate change deniers” and “other powerful know-nothings” responsible… “How long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?… It is past time to call out… all climate deniers for this crime against humanity. No more treating climate denial like an honest difference of opinion… The first step toward justice is to call things by their true names. Murder is murder, whether the murderers admit it or not.”
The Washington Times then followed this week with a report that in the aftermath of Harvey and Irma, the calls to punish skeptics is rising [even though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says attributing hurricanes to warming is premature].
In other words, any who deny climate change is committing a crime. In still other words, no other opinion is allowed. There is only one right way to think.
Friends, I don’t know exactly what is true. I don’t know with certainty the exact causes and proportion of those causes and the exact extent of any future effects. My desire, therefore, is to process wisely, together, so our “one nation under God” can figure it out and be wise stewards of our planet. But right now I am uncomfortable with the self-profiting and contradictions from various perspectives… I am uncomfortable with the insults and intimidation… and I am uncomfortable with any analysis that omits that “under God” part… especially since as the Creator, he would seem to have way more insight than we.
What I also believe, with all passion and respect, is that we have opportunity to learn from the totality of our processing — listening and learning from one another… if we sit down at the table, together, with the freedom to share what may or may not be true. Wisdom is found in the processing — not in shutting the conversation down.
I’m thankful for my parents. They indeed taught me well.