Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … A Climate Of Blame

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.


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You cannot compare New York and Texas summers. But, I remember when we first got central air conditioning. It was because Daddy worked in the industry. And, before it was even standard equipment for new homes. Mom saved it for “special occasions” or heatwaves; it did not run all the time.

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Which explains why at night, when it cooled off, Mommy and Daddy would sit on folding chairs on the front driveway along with our neighbors.

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I wonder what they discussed every night. Obviously, that was well before climate change was a topic, let alone a hot topic, so to speak.

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Cute, but we didn’t know then what we know now. And if we don’t start making serious changes, the crisis will only get worse. Which means we need to do more than just talk about it.

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And, play the blame game.

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So, who do you think is to blame?

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Many blame the “older” generation, saying we allowed this to happen because, for decades, we did not do anything to prevent it. Increased use of cars and electricity. Burning an ever-increasing amount of fossil fuels. Not “going green”. Not even thinking about it. All of which led to where we are today.

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You’ve always said, “Doing nothing is a decision. A decision to maintain the status quo.” But when you say blaming the “older” generation, surely you can’t mean us?!

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“Older” is a relative term. For younger people, that might be us Baby Boomers or even Generation X.

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But what did we do wrong?

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When you were a baby, there was no such thing as disposable diapers. I can still remember the stinky diaper pail in your nursery. Not one of my fondest memories of you.


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Thanks for sharing that. But you’re right. When I had the girls, it was a given that I’d use disposable diapers. I can only imagine how many thousands of diapers I’ve contributed to landfills! But we didn’t know about climate change back then.


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If it makes you feel better, there is some debate whether cloth diapers are better for the environment. But, the point is convenience became the deciding factor and I doubt the environmental impact was even considered.


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Good point, as I certainly never thought about it. But in my defense, once I learned that plastic was bad for the environment, I started recycling. And not just plastic, but also paper and glass. I’ve been doing it for years.


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That is better than not, but there are 3-Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and recycling is not necessarily the best option. Funny thing is we “reused” long before it even was “a thing.” Do you remember reusing brown paper grocery bags by repurposing them into textbook covers?


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Yes! Daddy and I would do it together. Of course, him being an engineer, they were perfect. And then I’d decorate them. But now that you bring up “reusing” things, I remember going to the drive-through at Dairy Barn with Daddy. We’d always have empty glass milk bottles to return when we’d buy more milk.


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Back then, there were deposits not only on glass milk bottles but also on soda and beer bottles. They would be washed and sterilized, refilled, and reused over and over again. And, drinking water came from the tap – not plastic bottles.


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OK, but there was still plenty of plastic. Do I need to remind you of Mom’s kitchen? Full of expired food and plastic grocery store containers and bags. I bet some of the plastic was over 50 years old.


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Plastic survives for centuries. Regardless, it was plastic that she saved and reused, and did not trash. Granted, it might have been a financial decision since she was a Depression-era child and did not waste anything.


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So, where did we go wrong? Maybe society’s too convenience-oriented and wasteful.


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That is part of it, but if you do not know you are causing a serious environmental problem, why would you change what you are doing? The more important question is who did know, and why were we not told?


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Sorry, that sounds more like one of the X-Files episodes I watched years ago. Except, I’m not sure I want to know. The important thing is that we know now. And need to do something now!


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Exactly. So, regardless of who is to blame, we all can be part of the solution.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
Keep Reading ...Show less

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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!