Saturday, February 21, 2009
Telling My Grand Kid About Global Warming
The supreme joy of my life has been the watching my three beautiful daughters grow up and assume their positions in this world as mothers, wives and thoughtful, functioning, loving, sensitive beings living daily with an obvious sense of purpose. (If I haven't said this positively enough, its not for not having tried. In truth, without wanting to sound maudling, I can't say enough about what I feel about each of them and how proud I am to be part of their existence). What I feel for them goes equally with my feelings for my grand kids. The occasional designation of them as 'rug rats' is meant only in jest and as a term of endearment. This hyperbole is preliminary to what I have to say about a serious topic; global warming because the continuity of future generations of my family and yours and the families of the rest of the world is contingent upon our immediate and necessary adaptation to the its peril. My parents were born in 1918, almost a century ago, and they were a meaningful part of my current family's makeup until recently. My point here is that when the perils of global warming are discussed, we are not talking about the future in a science fiction way, 10-15 generations down the road, but as having a direct impact on the children or grandchildren of those people in our lives at the moment. The latest comprehensive assessment of the impact of global warming has coastal water levels rising 1 1/2 to 3 feet throughout the world by the year 2100, i.e., about the time my grandchildren's lives are ending. Their children and their grandchildren, however, will be in the active stages of their lives and forced to deal or adapt with what our generations have wrought upon them. In truth, a substantial portion of the globe's population lives close to the various water's edges meaning that there will be intense competition as these populations move away from the danger. I envision, crudely, my home in Lakewood Ranch now approximately 15 miles inland, becoming the new lakefront property. Lot's of opportunity for humor here, but the thought of billions of people scrambling and fighting for new land tempers any such thought. The reality of this emerging problem has been politicized the past eight years, but the point is being missed entirely. It really doesn't matter whether global warming is man made or occurring as part of the cyclical nature of the universe. We need to deal with the issue either way by being prepared for the changes that are necessary in relocating millions of displaced persons from current living situations. The aftermath of Katrina presents only a small vision of what it may be like 90 years from now in locales throughout the world.