Saturday, August 8, 2015

When Young People Finally See Their Future

I find my friends don't want to talk about the future -- it's too depressing. Let's be happy now and deal with the future when it happens. I've certainly found that no one wants me to bring up global warming at a dinner party no matter how important a topic I think it is. And at political gatherings, like Drinking Liberally on Wednesdays, where such a topic would be salient, no one really wants to talk about it because they already know all about it and we all know what has to be done, a carbon fee. And there's no hope of getting that by the Republicans in Congress.

The result of this is very little in the media, and very little about it in our daily lives. Just a few climate blogs and blogs like mine. The rest is silence.

So what are young people going to think when they find out what is going to happen to their future? Fifteen States have mandated the teaching of climate science in middle and high schools. Some percentage of the students in these classes are going to figure out that their future may be quite different from what their parents experienced. They'll learn about ocean acidification -- no clams, oysters, shrimp. In fact almost nothing except jelly fish will be around 30 or 40 years from now. They'll learn about the droughts and floods affecting food supply. They'll learn about the likely mass starvation of hundreds of millions of people in twenty or thirty years.

And then a huge disconnect will hit them.  Why the hell aren't the adults doing anything about this? The consequences of global warming will become all too real to them because they'll be around when it gets bad.  I think they're going to be mad, angry.  I remember the early 70's as young people realized they might get drafted and sent over to a hopeless war in Vietnam.  We all took to the streets.  Well actually I had already been in Vietnam as a C-130 navigator in the Air Force, but I took to the streets too after I got out.  We shut down Interstate 5 for hours in 1970.  I think something like this might happen again as it begins to dawn on young people that their parents aren't going to do anything about global warming.  I might be in my eighties when that happens but I will certainly join them.