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What are you doing for the next 20 years?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hi neighbors. Have you ever wanted to travel around the world? With all those thoughts of mountains and beaches, did the weather or the wind chill factor ever enter the visions of serenity in your head?

During the past few weeks I have journeyed to the beaches of Florida, the dry hot dunes of the Sahara, the windy cold and wet Himalayan Mountains, and the muggy jungles of the Amazon. All here in Nevada, Mo.!

The only "native" peoples of these various regions were my neighbors standing in their yards and looking around as perplexed as me. Where are we? What planet is this and where did this weird weather come from? It changes from day to day -- sometimes from morning to evening.

I suppose we are to accept that the environment is changing and we will all no doubt freeze to death or melt in the heat sometime within the next 20 years. We can blame big business, the fossil fuel industry, the military, the government secret testing of alien technology, the Chinese, or just about anyone, or anything anywhere.

The truth is, as the old saying goes, "we've made our bed and now we will lie in it." Or, we can get up and try to do something about the weather before it goes too far past the flip point to change.

The simple truth is that whether we say global warming or global icing either one will eventually make Earth a planet too hostile for human life. Gee. Now what? We all need to stop being consumers and become conservators. We do have only one planet.

Forget all those science fiction books, stories and movies about finding an earth-like planet within our reach. Don't count on science coming up with "tera-forming" equipment to change dead rocks into thriving big blue marbles like Earth. Won't happen. Not in time any way.

So what can we do? We can grow up as a race (the HUMAN race) and try to pick up our big feet and reduce our "footprints" on our own (and only) planet.

Stop eating so much. Stop using so much: electricity, gasoline, heating fuel or water. Stop being attached to small appliances like cell phones, computers, tablets, lap tops, printers, fax machines and telephones that use too much of our mineral resources like copper, zinc, and aluminum.

Stop throwing away so many things that could be fixed.

Stop buying things you don't need. Ask yourself if you want that item today more than you will want clean water, food and housing 10 years from now.

Drive your car less. Walk or bike more. You'll save gas and get in better health.

Work hard, save your money, pay off your debts and don't go into debt again unless you have to in an emergency.

Expect less from the get-go. Most couples work years to have a home, a nice car, money in the bank and new appliances. Don't expect to have it all the day you graduate from college.

You can expect the right to apply for any job you think you can do. You can't expect to get every job you apply for, no matter how well you can do it.

Plan ahead and have a little petty cash in the cookie jar. If you want something, save up for it -- don't buy it on credit.

All of this advice sounds familiar to us Baby Boomers. We heard it from our parents who heard it from their parents -- both generations that had survived the Great Depression and the War to End All Wars.

It's a simple plan. It worked before when our nation faced big problems. The rest of the world may not listen to our advice. Or they may already be following it as their parents and grandparents did before them.

If we want to survive as a species on a wounded planet, if we want to survive as Americans living in a disfigured American republic trying to survive as the leader of the world -- we'd best get to doing something different.

There isn't one among us who would disagree with these statements -- but how many of us can change our lives and live a simpler and more dedicated lifestyle? We say that something has to change before things go to heck in a basket (a hand crafted casket). Maybe we should start saying everyone has to change a few things in their lives to save the world. Are you willing to slow down, step up and save the world?

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Nancy Malcom
The Third Cup