Global Warming? Where Have You Been The Past 60+ Hours?

Here in Minnesota it’s been over 60 hours since the thermometer has been on the plus side of the scale.   That’s right, all of this past weekend and today it has been below zero with bitter cold wind-chills in some parts down to minus 40 below.   Temps like this can literally start freezing bare skin in just minutes, and for the hearty souls who venture outside it requires a great deal of care just to be winter safe.

So tell me about that Global Warming theory once again?   If you listen closely the world is doomed because of our reliance on fossil fuels and other ozone damaging substances, correct?   Hogwash!   If you subscribe to this doomsday thinking you are led to believe that mankind and a century or more of industrialization has left such a damaging fingerprint on our world that for several centuries to come the earth will be adversely effected by progress and our lack of sensitivity for the caring of “mother earth.”

You know what, I will be the first to admit I’m certainly no scholar when it comes to understanding long-term global climactic pattern changes.   I will also be among the first to agree that society can do much to improve our symbiotic existence with our planet.   But the constant drum beat by some on this global warming theory is getting a bit…shall I say, nauseating.   You can point to whatever evidence you may want to cite to bolster your position…but in the end it proves absolutely nothing.   The conjecture is 100 years from now the earth will not be the same as we now know it.   Well duh!   Nothing about the earth is ever quite the same…after all, in its simplest form you can view the earth as one big living organism.   Take for instance the river that runs through my farm.   It looks much different today than it did 35 years ago.   So, too, does the hillside north of my home.   It was once largely devoid of trees…but no more.   Over the years many young saplings have been allowed to mature and grow into substantial trees.

My point is the hype about global warming changing the earth and the main villain being humans is more about politics than it is about pure science.   Oh, sure, it is disguised quite well and made to look as though the situation is rather dire, but give me a break.   If the ocean is anticipated to rise roughly 23 inches over the next 100 years should a change like this be such a total surprise?   Are we really so naive to think that the world is constantly going to stay the same?   Change is inevitable to some degree…and while change is sometimes good, it often times can be adverse.   I just don’t need a bunch of alarmist politicians and name-seeking scientists to go around making matters sound much worse than perhaps they should actually appear.

Now getting back to our role in this world.   As a society, we have accomplished more to advance mankind during the past 100 years of civilization than perhaps at any other similar period of time in world history.   Yes, in some cases it took the burning of fossil fuels to become the society we are today.   Some folks would have us apologizing for that…I say in general we are better off for it.   But moreover, the industrial period we’ve been through during the past century will not exist in the same manner forever…like the world, human needs change and so, too, will our consumption of natural resources.   Do you really think 100 years from now vehicles will be burning combustible fuels?   Hell, maybe even 20 years from now what is common today will be uncommon tomorrow.

I guess I am just damn sick and tired of a bunch of self-proclaimed experts (and former politicians) continuing to beat the political drum of global warming.   That’s really what it is, you know.   It’s a bunch of wannabe influential leaders who find it necessary to keep this discussion stoked because it keeps them in the spotlight and it helps them formulate public policy based on scare tactics.   They’ve learned that voters and most people react more favorably when their passion for a cause is stirred and constantly on their conscience.

It’s a lot like the bird flu that was supposed to hit.   Everywhere you went folks in the coffee houses and at family gatherings would be talking about this terrible pandemic plague that could strike the masses at any moment.   The disease experts had our attention because after all, what were we to do?   Seriously.   But now global warming has become the new societal concern seemingly replacing the bird flu.   It’s in the news…and it’s in our discussions around the water cooler.   Global warming…just the mere mention of those words tends to ironically send a chill up and down some people’s spines.

But not mine.   Global warming is a cause that stirs little if any passion in this human.   Call me ignorant.   Call me unwilling to face the stark reality, if you will.   I happen to embrace the fact that subtle changes in our world over several generations of time are predictable and inevitable.

Sure, the river I grew up skimming rocks on no longer has that big wide pond because the water levels are down due to the beavers moving out.   Still, I’ve come to accept the change and understand that the world we live in should not be expected to be static and forever the same as we now envision it.   Folks, change is going to happen…and if global warming is going to occur over the next several centuries…well, then, the society that happens to be experiencing life at that time will just have to find a way to accept and to deal with it.

What are your thoughts on this highly-charged subject?   Should Al Gore receive a Nobel Prize for his efforts on this emotion-packed cause that he has long championed?

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

Don’t Take Your Sight For Granted

Dave Richey is without a doubt the most dedicated and consistent outdoors blogger to be found in the so-called blogosphere.   His blog found here hasn’t missed a beat for nearly 3 1/2 years.   A real testament to putting his readers first by making a daily writing sacrifice come hell or high water.   Loyal readers know that Dave has written in his daily blog extensively about his knowledge on the outdoors, even on days when he has dealt with personal tragedies such as losing a twin brother and also a father.   In some ways, I suppose, and yes I can also relate, writing has a very cathartic effect on the hurting soul.

Recently Richey has been dealing with yet another personal life challenge.   Yesterday his blog reports he underwent eye surgery on the only eye from which he is still blessed with sight.   As is typically his style, he prepared the readers several days in advance about what is going on.   Not to make excuses, mind you, in case he misses a few daily entries.   Nope, it was out of respect for his readers who have come to depend on his daily jottings.

Well, I’m happy to relate it appears all went well with his cataract surgery.   But how scary is that?   Having only one good eye and then having to undergo major surgery on it.   Makes a person stop to realize just how important vision is to the way we all enjoy the outdoors.

I was thinking about Dave’s situation and it made me stop to take some stock in the fact my eyes have been a bit “sore” lately.   This feeling has happened to me before…and probably can be attributed to the fact I rarely use sunglasses even on those bright sunny days when the glare of the sun off the snow can be blinding.   Yet, Dave’s predicament made me stop to better realize that as a sportsman you just can’t take your eyes for granted.   Think of how much fun you have in the outdoors and how most of that wouldn’t be possible if suddenly your vision was somehow taken away.

Considering it has been about three years since my last visit, I made an appointment for a routine exam for next Thursday morning.   I don’t expect any problems…heck, even though I have passed that magical age of 40 I still feel I have great vision.   But when it comes to eye exams a person shouldn’t guess about such a thing.   Nope, eyesight is a matter for an expert to evaluate.   And let’s face it, if we claim our eyesight is as good now as it was 20 years ago then you are only kidding yourself.   Generally eyesight doesn’t improve…it deteriorates, and luckily for some of us that process is slower than for others.

You know, I would hate to think I missed that buck sneaking out of the woodlot because my vision wasn’t as acute as it once was…or perhaps could have been.   I’d also hate to imagine that predator was bee-lining in to my calling but then got spooked and darted off and I didn’t know anything differently.   Or how about that huge musky I almost landed by the boat but only caught a momentary glimpse before it swam off after shaking off my jerkbait.

Honestly, so many experiences in the outdoors rely on our good visual sense.   It has to be downright frustrating not to get as much pleasure out of shooting a scoped rifle at the range because the crosshairs and the target just don’t align like they once did with younger eyes.   That scenario happens all the time for sportsmen…and even though the occurrence is somewhat an inevitability with advancing age, proper care of one’s vision, I’m told, can delay the onset of those difficulties.

Hey, I don’t mean to preach to you about getting an eye exam or even a medical exam, for that matter.   We all know we should do them regularly in our lives…but it’s just so damn easy to come up with excuses to put them off for another day.   Why did I decide to schedule the exam now…well, to some small degree Dave Richey’s situation raised my awareness to the importance of good eye health.   But not only that, this is such a perfect time of the year to get these pesky routine health matters out of the way so you can enjoy the more active seasons of the sportsman’s year.

I make note of the fact that even on the very day Richey had his eye surgery he persevered and produced a short blog.   I take my hat off to his commitment to his journalistic craft.   But I also thank him for blogging about something we all need to think about, because the very thought of possibly losing our vision should be enough of an incentive to get each of us fumbling through the yellow pages for a qualified ophthalmologist, especially if we don’t already visit one on a regular basis.

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.