1970 to 2020 - Our Time of Climate Panic
I wish to discuss a particular period of time in our modern population's lifeline. I wish to detail some of the changes that occurred during this time that are unprecedented in history and then I wish to speculate on how they are affecting our attitudes towards global climate concerns today.
Why? I'm concerned that we have let ourselves become singularly focused on man made global warming as the cause of all our problems and the proposed actions as the solutions to all the presently perceived threats to mankind. I'm concerned that we're missing the "big picture" and that we are ignoring all of the significant background events that have happened at the same time that the global warming threat has dominated the forefront. These events have equal if not more significance to our future prosperity than merely going electric and we should consider them seriously and equally in deciding our paths forward.
So, 1970 to 2020 - What happened?
1. THE BOOMERS - officially ended their birth run in 1965 and began to seriously produce the next generations. At age 30 (and younger) we industriously created the Echo Generation who eventually created the Millennials and other subsets, all of whom are assuming the directorship of the World politic as we speak. The first boomer reaches age 75 in 2020, followed by the youngest at 55, just on the edge of retiring. Total numbers? In the USA, 80 million, in Canada 8 million. At the moment, in the USA, 10000 people a day are reaching official retirement age and are presumably retiring. At the same time 10,000 a day are turning 18 and presumably entering the workforce. This is a major shift in power and in driving force for attitudes and desires that characterize each generation - and believe me = they are different!
We can see the effect of the Boomers as they reach their peak by 1975 and start adding the next generations. Net effect is dramatic as is also seen in Canada and in the world population itself.
1945 USA - 140,000,000 CANADA - 3,400,000 WORLD - 2.5 billion
1975 - 216000000 - 23,000,000 - 4 billion
2010 - 350,000,000 - 37,000,000 - 7.5 billion
2. MEDIA TECHNOLOGY EXPLODED and manipulation became an personal art form - computers and the Internet changed the world from leaders and followers to "everyone has an equal voice". and the debate(s) were on! An International debate has raged on for years through Social Media regarding the source / cause of global heating and even if such a thing even exists. The debate has become polarized and bitter with recriminations cast back and forth and a separation of populace into two groups - "believers" and "deniers".
3. WE'VE CONTAMINATED OUR ENVIRONMENT - Plastics and Recycling - replaced everything that we did in the 50's. I drew an excellent article off Facebook that I'm copying below, not to trash the Millenials as was the purpose of the artticle, but rather to highlight the way we all dealt with our waste and recycling before the advent of plastic products, particularly bags and bottle. It is as below:
"Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment,. The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.
We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.
We are now a population with a serious plastics problem. Our efforts to recycle plastics have been a miserable failure and we are coming to grips with the need to do something different in ordr to protect our land, lakes, streams and oceans from extensive macro and micro contamination. Burning seems obvious, especially since it could be converted to energy that would relieve the need to burn oil, gas or coal but our predjudice against carbon dioxide production is hindering our ability to get this accepted by the public.
4. WE DISCOVERED CARBON DIOXIDE - in 1988 - and a new industry was born - The Greenhouse Effect actually became a concept suggesting the potential to warm the earth around the year 1900. This elaborate theory was pitched more vigorously around mid century and accepted by many as the mechanism by which the Earth traps heat instead of getting rid of it to outer space. The term "greenhouse effect" became common language in 1988 with the establishment of the IPCC. After some initial ridicule by the scientific world the concept was changed to "climate change" and new terms are now constantly being invented. New names but the same concept.
The following description I copied because it describes the progression so well. The excellent article by S.M Enzier can be accessed by using the button below the quote.
"In the 1980's, finally, the global annual mean temperature curve started to rise. People began to question the theory of an upcoming new ice age. In the late 1980's the curve began to increase so steeply that the global warming theory began to win terrain fast. Environmental NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations) started to advocate global environmental protection to prevent further global warming. The press also gained an interest in global warming. It soon became a hot news topic that was repeated on a global scale. Pictures of smoke stags were put next to pictures of melting ice caps and flood events. A complete media circus evolved that convinced many people we are on the edge of a significant climate change that has many negative impacts on our world today."
5. Al GORE PUBLISHED HIS EPIC NOVEL - "An Inconvenient Truth" - in 2006 and scared everyone to death - I'm not really sure when the paranoia about carbon burning began but certainly Al Gore's publishing of his book had to be a marker moment. Full of errors and exaggerations it served its purpose of convincing a legion of followers that we were headed for disaster if we didn't curb our addiction to petroleum. It spawned a movement that exists into this day and continues to vilify petrochemicals and demand the end of their use. This view is mostly a European and North American phenomena however as the major Asian countries continue to build coal fired power plants, search for oil around the world and sell solar alternatives into the Americn market. While other countries have set standards for C02 (and Al supervises the trading of carbon credits) China, India and other neighbours burn at will, with little to show for reduction of this supposed dangerous material.
6. WE MADE A CONNECTION BETWEEN - Ice and Melting and Sea Level Rise and Hurricanes and Tornadoes and Heat Spells and Polar Bears - and scared the life out of ourselves.
7. Celebrities become moral leaders - a sixteen year old girl has anxiety meltdown over media gloom and doom reports, quits school, stages a demonstration at her government, catches media attention and ends up throwing a typical 16 year old hissy fit in front of the UN world conference. we make her into a climate warrior and hero of the childrens movement all through emotion and media hype. No one can stop it. reason has no effect. We are told to do what they demand or they will never forgive us. yet they have no solotions or even really make any sacrifices. Why do they have impact. media.
So, THIS IS THE KEY TO THIS BLOG - 1940 to 1970 was relatively quiet as the Boomers set about establishing their presence and creating their families. It was also a "down" trend, moving from a hot peak in 1940 to a cold trough in 1970. Boomers viewed this as weather, and frankly didn't associate it with any kind of external force exhibiting itself, or whether their tendency to drive big v8's were having any impact at all.
But 1970 to 2003 occurred while the Sun was heating up (the 1990's are considered to be the hottest on record peaking around 2000, but it is thought to have flattened and is beginning to cool since then). Without the perspective of the previous 30 years, (except their parents' memories) new generations are growing up in an era of steadily increasing temperature, coinciding with the birth of the global warming doctrine. They've known nothing else really, and have widely accepted the fact that the earth is uncontrollably warming and that we have caused it through our wasteful burning of carbon fuels.
2000 to 2020 - Sun driven 11 year cycles are starting to show a tendency to flatten and to actually decrease in strength. Hot peaks are trending down through the last couple of cycles (23 and 24). Predictions for cycle 25 are to drop more towards a new Major trough beginning in 2030 similar to the one we passed through in 1940 to 1970. This is a majorly controversial concept and is hotly debated by those who have seen cold troughs before and those who haven't.
Please note: these images and the discussions surrounding them are easily found on Google. I'm not even going to attempt to make a bibliography because this isn't a scientific paper, it's an opinion piece. If you doubt me go search them out. The exercise is quite revealing.