When respected weather forecasters start sounding like mad scientists from a Hollywood apocalypse movie … maybe it's time to start taking things seriously.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Whether your thoughts about climate change are emotional (that'd be Red) or based on fact and science (Black, of course), there's no getting around the fact that it's a controversial subject, although the recently released United Nations report seems to be undeniable.
Red may not pay attention to all the details, but she's been a climate change "believer" for a while now. To date, she hasn't been a "Debbie Downer" (as she'd say) or outspoken (although she does admire the tenacity, if maybe not the personality, of environmental activist Greta Thunberg who got the world's attention with her "How dare you" comment to the United Nations), but things have now changed dramatically,
One of my favorite movies is "The Day After Tomorrow" with Dennis Quaid, which is all about an unexpected, and disastrous, turn in the timing of climate change. When it was released in 2004, I thought the movie had great special effects, good acting, but a logic-defying plotline – now, I feel like it was more of a Hollywood version of a documentary predicting where we're heading. Rapidly.
Black is used to Red's love of movies, and the occasional analogies to real-life (and often rolls her eyes at them), but couldn't help but think that it was only two years later, in 2006, that Vice President Al Gore was behind the documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." While many people questioned the seriousness (and timeline) of climate change, Black asked herself, "What if it was the reason for the rapidly changing weather patterns?" And that if we did nothing (which she often explains is a decision – a decision to maintain the status quo), we might find ourselves in a dire situation. One that could've been avoided.
We aren't experts, but there's no ignoring the United Nations report (technically, it was issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists convened by the United Nations) that forecasts a potentially extremely dire situation within the next few decades. It explains how the dramatic and catastrophic weather events we've seen in the last few years aren't coincidences but rather a harbinger of things to come.
Regardless of what you may have thought before, it's becoming harder and harder to deny the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change and what we've already seen in our lifetime (National Geographic has a library of climate change articles). The key's not only talking about it … but doing something about it. Yes, governments need to take action, but as individuals, we can do our share. And even though cars are part of the problem, Black can't help but have a racing analogy,
When you race, there is not much you can do about the next corner because it is coming too quickly. It is a commitment you have already made. You see it in your peripheral vision, but you are focused on the things you can change. On the next lap, you focus on improving what you did last time. But, if you find yourself heading straight toward a wall, you quickly slow down and steer away. We are heading toward a climate change wall – at full speed – and need to take control of the wheel. Immediately!
Would you hate someone because they preferred rum raisin or coffee ice cream over vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? There’s a reason Baskin-Robbins, famous for initially starting with 31 flavors, was so successful. Because we’re not all alike, and we don’t all like the same things. We don’t know about you, but we choose our friends based on who they are, not what ice cream flavor they like. Or their sexual orientation. And you don’t have to be part of the LGBTQ community to celebrate Pride Day and Pride Month because recognizing, respecting, and celebrating our differences is something to take pride in every day.
And we’re proud to rerun our post on Pride Day from last year …
You can't say this isn't personal … because that's exactly what it is.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, the history lover, felt she should have known about Pride Day, which ultimately led to Pride Month, but Black thinks the history isn't as important as accepting and celebrating the LGBTQ community.
You can't help but notice all the rainbows in recognition of Pride Month, but Red admits that until earlier this month, she didn't know that Pride Day, June 28, commemorated the Stonewall Uprising, which a year later was the date of the first official Pride parade. But she's well aware of the challenges facing the LGBTQ community, and it angers and frustrates her that, as often happens, a group of people is singled out as the target of hate simply because they're considered "different". And while "venting" about it with Black, was reminded that hate often comes from being closed-minded and not knowing any better,
It is easier to hate someone based on stereotypes versus personal experience. Do not underestimate how important it is that our first-known personal relationships with gay people, those who now would identify as LGBTQ, were before we knew their sexual preferences. They were people first, then friends, and almost "by-the-way" gay. And therein lies a powerful difference – we knew them as individuals.
Although Black's words weren't exactly rocket science, they did make Red stop and realize how our experiences shaped our understanding, perceptions, and acceptance of the LGBTQ community because we simply didn't see them differently than other individuals. Red initially didn't think much more of it, recognizing we can only control how we feel and react, but soon after our June 8 post about Pride Month on our Facebook page, a follower commented,
You all are so supportive of all people from all walks of life. It's a pleasure knowing you.
It was a reminder that each and every one of us can make a difference. Sometimes in a small way, and sometimes in a way that makes others take notice. Which is exactly what happened when Red spotted an article about a bakery in Lufkin, Texas, that had baked heart-shaped rainbow cookies in support of Pride Month. (It caught her eye because we did a speaking engagement in Lufkin many years ago that remains one of her favorites.)
The Confections Bakery posted an image of beautiful rainbow cookies on its Facebook page (scroll down to June 2) with the simple message, "More LOVE. Less hate." Did the cookies immediately sell out? Not exactly. They received a backlash of hate, including the cancellation of a significant cookie order. However, by the next morning, the positive response was incredible – the long line of customers at the bakery, countless offers to buy the canceled order, and a considerable number of orders coming in from around the country. Which made Red smile,
A simple post promoting Pride Month cookies and "More LOVE. Less hate." led to a response of hate but ended up truly being about "More LOVE. Less hate."
Trying to stay neutral and not voice our personal opinions about abortions (not an easy thing to do), we still find ourselves filled with a combination of sadness, confusion, anger, and deep concern. Especially as the court’s ruling impacts not only women but the country as a whole, including our standing in the eyes of world leaders.
Red, as a mom to two girls in their 20s, can’t help but think of how it takes away women’s rights to make decisions over their own bodies and gives it to the states in which they live, making them almost second-class citizens. Even recognizing her tendency to be warm and fuzzy, after hearing of the decision, Red finds herself more emotional than she thought she’d be.
Black is flat-out frightened, which is out of character for her. As she initially expressed below (back in March), after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the future of a wide range of rights provided to us are at risk of being taken away … by a majority vote of nine people who we never elected to represent us. And as much as Black likes to be right, in this instance, she’s hoping to be wrong …
There’s an expression … throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Well, Supreme Court decisions on “babies” (well, technically fetuses) may also impact its integrity.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There’s no question the recent Supreme Court cases involving abortion are controversial and may have a major impact on Roe v. Wade; something that both Red (as a mom to two daughters) and Black (as a highly independent woman who made the conscious decision not to have children) have strong feelings about, albeit focused on two very different aspects.
If you’re like Red, you may be wondering, besides whether you’re for or against abortion, what else is there to consider? Which is why Red initially didn’t want abortion to be the basis of a post.(We try to remain neutral and generate food-for-thought, and given the personal, religious, scientific, legislative, judicial, and practical aspects of abortion, wouldn’t even know where to start.) And is why she thought Black would agree with her.
Which made Black’s response such a shock, but for reasons that even Red never saw coming. And although by the end, it made perfect sense, there’s no better way to summarize what Black had to say than to “borrow” some of her beloved bullet points.
- IS THIS ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION? OR POLITICS? – This should be a constitutional issue, not a political one. The constitutionality of Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973 and reaffirmed in 1992. What new “facts” have been identified?
- IS EVERYTHING UP FOR GRABS? – Would the Supreme Court overruling itself (granted, decades later) put everything established at the federal level at risk of being re-evaluated (the right to bear arms, women’s right to vote, Civil Rights legislation), or only those items ruled upon by the Supreme Court?
- REMEMBER CHECKS & BALANCES? – The Supreme Court, besides being the highest court in the land, is part of the judicial branch of government and is tasked with interpreting the laws made by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch. The logic behind having three branches is to have checks and balances so that no one branch becomes too powerful.
And Red’s response? Besides now realizing the potential Pandora’s Box that overturning Roe v. Wade could open in so many ways,
This is why you should’ve been a lawyer. And probably would’ve been, except Mom kept saying that you should be …
This name comes with a warning ...
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Yes, climate’s a “hot” topic, but summer has only started (marked by the summer solstice), and Red’s already whining about the heat, while Black considersthe logic of naming heat waves. (Really! But it’s not her idea.)
Red’s first reaction to the idea to name and categorize heat waves the way we do hurricanes was to think what a cool, no pun intended, idea. Growing up, heat waves just meant it was hotter than usual, but not at the extremetemperature levels we’re now seeing. And although she wanted to mention the impact of climate change and how it’s contributing to the increase and severity of heat waves, she thought the idea to “name” them might help people pay more attention to what’s happening as well as better prepare for them,
I don’t know about you but hearing that a horrible heat wave’s coming is happening so often that it’s becoming white noise. Not to mention that I’ll never understand the heat index other than it makes “hot” feel “hotter”. But if I’m told “Heat Wave Harry” is on its way, that might get my attention!
Black agrees that heat waves typically do not lend themselves to dramatic TV coverage, although the death of thousands of Kansas cattle recently did. And she didn’t want to confuse the conversation with explaining the heat index (although she loves the quote, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”) And knew that Red’s eyes would glaze over if she started to explain how organizers are suggesting a standardized three-category system with each location’s system to be customized to its particular climate.
But a better public warning system, coupled with people understanding the seriousness of heat waves, especially for vulnerable populations (children, elderly, outdoor workers, those who can’t afford air conditioning), could save lives. So, Black figured the best way to get Red’s attention was to simply state,
Heat waves are the #1 weather-related killer in the U.S., killing more people than floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes.
And it worked.
P.S. – In the midst of all this heat, our favorite Houston weather service sent out these amusing Top 10 reasons to be thankful for our blistering heat and emerging drought (blaming the heat for the “gimmick”, their word not ours).