We have to get two things out of the way up front, right here and now. I am an unapologetic Mama’s boy. My mother to me is the bastion of strength, perseverance and selflessness rolled into one lovely human. So know that while I might sometimes disagree with her, she is never wrong.
I am also an unapologetic Capital E Environmentalist. I’m a lot of other things as well, but all of my pet social causes will seem a little moot if we are hashing them out over meals of Soylent Green in our doomsday bunkers.
What does this have to do with the price of tea in China, you might be wondering? Well mon frère, I will tell you.
During the unfortunate T-shirt ruining heat wave last week, my Mom and I were finishing lunch in a lovely air-conditioned place, and as we were heading back to the inferno hellscape parking lot, the brain-melting heat prompted us to drift onto the topic of climate change. That launched us into what I assure you is not the first political discussion of our family relationship, but was the first one for that day.
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After some time it got a little heated, not parking lot in July heated but you get the idea. While not a global-warming denier, she did come to the point repeatedly that most often gets bandied about in certain conversations on this very topic, and that point is Al Gore.
You might remember him from days gone by as a former vice president and depending on your version of history, the winner or loser of that political pay per view situation in Florida, decided by a “man” named “Chad” or “Dimpled Chad.”
But when he comes up today it’s almost always in relation to either the Internet he invented, his evil weather machine in the sky, or more often the climate change documentary he made.
But the rub for me is that the hypocritical size of his carbon footprint doesn’t make climate change nonexistent. What I mean, is that Al Gore has become the scapegoat and punching bag for the ire of climate-change skeptics, with the strange rational that his sometimes poorly perceived character negates, not just him but the entire issue of climate change.
My point to my mother was just because you don’t like a certain celebrity doesn’t mean that the cause they are promoting is wrong. If you don’t like Lance Armstrong, it shouldn’t mean you don’t like cycling, or fighting cancer. Everyone knows Miley Cyrus is annoying, but we all still love twerking. We need to separate out the people from the causes.
... just because you don’t like a certain celebrity doesn’t mean that the cause they are promoting is wrong place_fact1
I propose that we take back the cause of protecting the environment from politicians, governments and celebrities who most likely have ulterior motives, and begin to treat it with some of the seriousness it deserves. Because it is actually a very serious issue that is going to affect Al Gore and all other wealthy people the least. Even Pope Francis said, it will affect the poorest, most undeveloped parts of the world first; it will also affect the smallest life forms first, making it the ultimate class-disparity issue. It will affect us all starting from the bottom and working to the top.
So although I love the old ignore it and maybe it will go away approach, heck I might have even perfected it, this threat might be even bigger than sharks and we should not let the topmost tier of society dictate what our world will look in the future. Seeing that money is so thoroughly entrenched in the political theater, and extraction companies seem to have endless piles of it, It's very unlikely that a mainstream party candidate will ever be allowed to prioritize the environment over the things that threaten it, let alone make any drastic changes in that direction, so that leaves you and me.
Now I know I’m not your mother, you’re an adult, and you’re free to do whatever its is you want, I’m not going to ground you. However with all the increase of weird weather, oceans rising and acidifying, glaciers retreating, this self-proclaimed Mama’s boy is hearing something loud and clear. Mother Nature is sick of asking, and is now telling us that it’s time to stop tattling on Al and clean up our room.
George O’Neal operates Lil Farm in Timberlake and is a member of the Durham and Carrboro farmers markets. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org