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


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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.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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