Hurricane season is well underway. I remember when I was a kid and lucky enough to spend summers on Long Island, New York that that severe storms usually started at the end of August. It was a season that lasted 3 – 4 weeks at most. But that was 70 years ago and before climate change. Ditto for tornadoes here in Wisconsin when I moved here 50 years ago. Maybe one or two touched down in an SW corner of the state – that was it. Now they can be anywhere, any time when there’s not snow on the ground or it seems that way. Climate change?
I was going to write that there was nothing much I could do to impact climate change and suggest that it would be best to look for those little things that we can do in our immediate environment that impacts those around us every day. But as I typed this, I realized that they were really the same. Remember turning an ocean liner around still begins with a small turn of the wheel, shouting something about the propeller speed and rudders (nope, haven’t seen The Titanic yet) and it takes longer to see the effect than remembering to rinse my coffee cup and clean off the kitchen counter. But the principle is the same.
We need to be aware of our actions and the impact it has both long-term and short-term. We all do. Climate change requires a broad view, an attitude that accepts the small changes in behavior can have a cumulative effect, especially when others follow your example. Dialing down the thermostat a few degrees now that winter is coming, planning trips strategically with multiple stops rather than many backs and forth, or walking when possible. Thinking ecologically is another good start.
So now that we’ve “solved” one of the world’s major problems we can tackle something that is in many ways more urgent: how we interact with others: at home, at work, at play, and all the places in between. Lots to do, lots to examine, and lots to think about. Back to that coffee cup, I mentioned above.
All the little things we do and don’t do impact others. And there’s a cumulative effect too. Grouches don’t make it. Getting up on the wrong side of the bed is not an excuse (there’s always something, we’re human). Attitude counts and the changes may seem small. Most of us share space with others and a dirty coffee cup can be a problem like dirty underwear thrown in a corner. Or there can be smaller things we’re not aware of – leaving the TV on when you’re thru watching a program and don’t plan to return.
More important is our general demeanor when we interact with others. Do we smile? Do we listen? Do we give the other person a chance to finish what they say? By our words and body language do we acknowledge that the other person is equally important?
If you think about it – we’re much like that ocean liner or the humongous vessel of climate change. Difficult to turn around and almost impossible to see changes. But awareness is a start and modifying our actions once, twice, and again so that those around us can smile and we can all relax – the ship is coming safely into port. All of this is a start: kindness and charity towards all – close by and far away both in place and in time. Something to think about.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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