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 nycshooter on iStock
What do you get when you cross Flag Day (June 14) with June being Effective Communication Month? Well, if you include Black in the mix, you get one of Red’s favorite memories … and a unique way to think about the importance of communicating – whether in your personal or professional life. And especially if you’re in a racecar!


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This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


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Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


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I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


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If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


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I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
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There’s much debate about the role America should play in world politics and standing by our allies, and we can’t help but wonder … how many people look at history before forming their opinions? Which is why we feel so strongly about remembering D-Day (and are rerunning the post below), which is about so much more than just a day …


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I still can’t believe you didn’t know what D-Day was.


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All I knew was it had to do with World War II and beaches. And, required lots of strategic planning. Remember, I am not a history buff like you.


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Or a movie buff. There has been an assortment of D-Day movies, and I wouldn’t expect you to have watched the older movies, like “ The Longest Day” with John Wayne, but I figured you’d have seen “ Saving Private Ryan .”


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The Tom Hanks movie? It was a great war movie, but from what I remember, it was about the search for a particular soldier during WWII. Although I remember the opening scene showed the horrors of war. Regardless, I do not get my “history” from movies that might take literary license for the sake of storytelling, even if Steven Spielberg’s movies are mostly accurate.


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That opening scene WAS D-Day.
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Some memories fade with time, but others remain as vivid as the day they happened. Like the day my big sister and I played golf together (an extremely rare event), although the memory isn’t about golf, but about how a sister’s flippant comment can stay with you for over 40 years …

There was no way to know it would become a highly effective way of remembering the importance of sunscreen. Especially as it happened before May was declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and May 27 became National Sunscreen Day.

I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.

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