June 5, 2017 | Posted in General
I am pretty sure it was the following email via my website that is the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back.
“You are just another stupid liberal tree hugger that is trying to tear America down and turn it into a liberalist state of chaos. If you were as smart as you prove to be then you would know that climate science is a made up science and not real. This is the home of the free and land of the brave not some experiment that you and your kind think they can just step on and have the way you want it. Glory be to God!”
I rarely read through some of the stuff that comes my way anymore, after two decades in the media, most of it behind a microphone on live talk radio, my skin has gotten pretty thick.
But at this point, I am not on radio and for a few reasons that follow, this email was a gift in disguise.
First, I’m not stupid. I have a degree in Environmental Interpretation and Communication from an accredited four year university. My core competency is to take massive amounts of information, data and trends, then distill it down to bite sized, digestible chunks for public consumption. After creating and producing 300 episodes of “Earth Matters with Bill Kurtis” along with hundreds of research hours, I have come to the conclusion that we are late in the third quarter when it comes to our involvement in contributing to climate change.
I see what most people miss, because I look in places most people cannot see. Politics and religious beliefs often cause blind spots.
There was a time, not long ago when the hole in the Ozone layer was discovered, a gaping wound in the “sunscreen” protection of the planet that congress and industry acted, CFC propellants were banned (that were a major factor in creating the hole) and the damage has mostly been repaired as the the natural systems began to heal.
The threat was recognized, the cause we determined, actions were taken and more harm to humans was averted.
Those days are long gone for the most part.
Secondly, that “liberal tree hugger” thing. My biggest influence has been Theodore Roosevelt, who despite his many shortcomings epitomized for me the best political stance that can be taken. 110 years ago TR was the reformer that “walked softly and carried a big stick.” He blocked an attempt to allow strip mining in the Grand Canyon and was a visionary when it came to environmental issues.
Today TR would be considered a liberal tree hugger too, so I am good with that.
The rest of that note, climate science not being real, “home of the free and land of the brave” being transposed for effect (I guess) America not being an experiment and somehow the greater glory of the Almighty is exalted by this sort of email is for me a clear sign to get out of the game…
I should really know better by now.
Denial is deeply embedded in our DNA.
To me trying to convince someone that humans are in part responsible for the changing climate is akin to talking with a life long smoker who takes off their oxygen to have a cigarette. Since 1966 there has been a big warning label on the side of the packs since totally ignored by everyone that lights up.
“Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous To Your Health.”
One half century later, millions still fire up despite clear warnings, wracking coughs and repeated warnings from their doctors.
The CDC estimates that 430-435,000 people in the United States die each year from smoking related disease.
Self-inflicted death otherwise known as suicide…over a very long period of time.
The tobacco companies spent billions trying to convince their customers that smoking was “healthy” and seeing ads with doctors lighting up was the norm. They created ultimate male in the form of The Marlboro Man who would fire up a ciggy, round up some cows and turn his weathered face into the sunset.
Four of the actors that portrayed “The Marlboro Man” all died from smoking related disease.
I had forgotten that old adage ” To those who believe no more evidence is needed. To those that do not, no evidence could ever be enough.”
As I watch the unending name calling in the face of facts, I am reminded that the way each of us sees the world is basically in place by the time we are ten or twelve. Our core beliefs become galvanized over time, for better or for worse and it takes a some serious maturity to confront the rudder that steers our course, much easier for most to simply say “ You’re stupid.”
Because they are scared and reacting takes no thought.
That email was a serious wake up call for me…a reminder.
I have a terminal condition called “Life.”
With the average age in the USA being 78.6 that equates to about 28,689 days to be alive if I am lucky.
I have already used up 21,170 of my allotted chits.
Remaining balance of 7,519…as of today.
So that “gift” in the form of an email, came at the right time, confirming that its time for me to stay out of the virtual landfill of the internet for an undetermined amount of time.
That time thing.
I have a book project about to begin, mentoring a burgeoning author who at the age of 88, lived through Nazi Germany as a child and wants to tell her story to the world.
I won’t have enough brain space to wade through the landfill looking for something of value buried in all the garbage and build out a book this important at the same time. As I type these very words, the “right” is batting the “left” on a post I wrote two days ago. Humans who are on opposite sides pushing any common ground to the side, creating more cracks in our already fractured spiritual infrastructure.
Might continue with Sacred Sunday Songs on Facebook, which for the most part hasn’t elicited any name calling but after five years of virtual concerts, even that might need to be on hiatus.
I drive past a cemetery near where I live quite often. Sometimes when I need perspective I walk among the headstones, looking for evidence of how important it is to define and divide ourselves along political lines.
Can’t find any.
Never once in all my years of attending funerals was their ever a eulogy mention of how someone voted. Never once standing at a graveside service did I hear about their choice for president and never once in all my wanderings among the dead I have ever seen “Democrat” “Republican” or “Liberal Tree Hugger” etched in stone.
What we think is most important while we are alive turns out to be least important when we die.
Thank you for all your support over the years. Until further notice…
Be well…safe travels.