Is Anyone Else Worried?

Nope- this isn’t about a covid resurgence. 

I’m worried about our planet. Having been up close and personal in late elementary and early middle school earth science over the last year, I’m recognizing things again that hadn’t been in the forefront of my mind.

Recycling. There was a huge push to begin recycling in the late 80s/early 90s. At least that’s when I became aware of it. There was lots of campaigning and education about all the good you could do by recycling. Pick up trash, send it off to the factories where it’s magically created into something new. Ooooo, ahhhh! Well, fast forward to now and I’m not sure how much we’ve learned. I’ve been inundated with virtual science class videos about how much plastic pollution there is in the ocean and on land. And also, I’ve learned how much plastic can’t be recycled or isn’t recycled. We’re having to invent new terms like microplastics and have scientists study how they affect the ocean, animals and even humans. It’s shocking when you look at the damage already done given that plastics were just invented in 1907 as an electrical insulator. The application and demand has expanded quite a bit. Oof is right, huh? 

Weather. Ok, woah. I do not like seeing hot and cold temperature records broken every season. Death Valley registered 130℉ this summer. I have personally experienced a -60℉ polar vortex.  Then you add in intense storms and weather patterns that just won’t quit. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding in areas that never used to flood, glaciers melting, bears swimming in residential pools and crowded lakes to cool off from the heat. They’ll take the risk to be near humans. It’s a no fear kind of heat. And again, new terms being invented like ‘sunny day flooding’ most likely due to sea levels rising and high tide. Take it from a native New Orleanian, the ground should be solid if you want to live on it otherwise everything should be built on pilings either above or buried in the ground. Oh, the sounds of my youth. Caaa-chunk. Caaa-chunk. The excavator sized pile driver shoving a pole 15ft into the ground and shaking everything around it. I can’t say I miss that!

Disease. I like health. I like health promotion. I like happy communities with a high quality of life. To get that, you have to understand disease and how to prevent it. Hooray for science and research! I have a love for all things that can be seen with a microscope, and I especially like microbes. It’s incredible to see how they’ve evolved to exploit a body system, particularly viruses. Wow, are they nasty! The relationship between animals/wildlife and humans can really drive the evolution/exposure of new disease. I think we’re all understanding what that means right now in the midst of this pandemic. I took an ‘Emerging Infectious Disease’ course nearly 20 years ago and it coincided with when SARS 1.0 first appeared. It was mind boggling that this course, which I thought might focus on plague, HIV, ebola, etc, quickly evolved to include this disease called SARS that unfolded before my eyes. 

Infrastructure. I get it. Everything needs an update. I’m all for it. Internet, buildings, bridges, roads. But why is maintenance politicized? I hope I’m not losing anyone yet as I prefer not to dabble in politics, but if you rely on the internet as I’m sure you do because you are reading this, it is beyond frustrating to not have service or access in a location that isn’t rural or even in spots that are semi rural. Places where the nearest grocery store is a 20 minute drive instead of a 3 minute drive. I also think about how these updates/changes harm the earth. Joni Mitchell, ‘Paved Paradise’, is playing in my head right now. You? How do we limit our environmental impact and still give everyone the infrastructure they need to live in our modern society full of electromagnetic waves and skyscrapers?

I can’t say I have any answers. Mostly, I come up with questions and then feel sad that I can’t answer the questions quickly or easily. It becomes a web diagram of sub, sub, sub questions that need the support of an entire community. And that is what this incredible country is built on…opposing opinions that find common ground for the greater good. 

Will it happen again? Will we find the middle and really solve these problems that seem to never go away? I’m worried!

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