This I Believe

Mike - Westland, Michigan
Entered on April 18, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: environment

Just Listen

I wish people would open their ears and genuinely listen more often. If everyone just read a bit more, or tuned into the news once in a while, or even did their own investigating online or at their local library, things would be different.

I believe the vast majority of Americans get their “facts” via hearsay. “This guy at work said…my mail woman said…my Aunt told me…my butcher said…”, well, I think you get the picture. Too often people repeat things that unreliable sources have told them, thus increasing the chance that what they are repeating is incorrect and in the same breath are spreading potentially incorrect information.

Of course, not everyone is like this. But there are so many people that are guilty of it that sometimes the wrong message about a topic prevails. And, depending on the gravity of the subject, these falsehoods can affect many people, or maybe even the entire world.

For instance, there is a situation which today is still in the process of unfolding. Very early this century, Al Gore attempted to bring global warning into the public eye. The initial reaction Gore received was for the most part that of indifference, and to an extent, severe criticism. Some political circles would even call him crazy. Some of the worlds leading scientists even refuted his claims. (Personally, I don’t have much of a political opinion of Gore.)

Gore kept pushing the matter. He toured the world to try to convey this message to the public. He pushed the people who stood behind him to get more data, more proof of what he believed was happening to this planet. Finally, after several years, many of the worlds top scientists started to stand behind his theory, and the public slowly began to believe what he was trying to tell them.

When I first heard Al Gore preach of global warming, I was somewhat skeptical. So I did some investigating of my own, in Scientific Journals and Climatology websites. I was quickly convinced that his message had merit, I also knew that this message could quite possibly be the most important message that the human race will ever hear…but ONLY if we listen to it.

I remember at least a couple dozen conversations with friends and strangers about this subject over the last few years. The argument I hear most often is this: “Global warming…yeah right, can you believe this, we got more snow this year than in any year I can remember.” Or “did you notice how much rain we got this summer.”

Please, open your ears and listen. Do your own investigation. It really doesn’t take that much effort in 2009. Global warming is NOT about the Earth slowly getting warmer and drier until the fires of hell burst forth. It is about the climate changing first. Places that are normally dry may see unprecedented rainfall and places that are wet may become arid. But, overall the average temperature of the planet will continue to go up. We are now beginning to see some of the effects of this, all increasing in frequency and power: Forest fires, flooding, extreme weather, i.e. hurricanes, tornados, wind storms, hail, etc.

As much as I believe that we now are aware of the effects that our lives have on this planet, I believe that maybe it is too late. I think forty or fifty years from now we’ll wish we had changed our behavior sooner.

If only more people would have listened, if they would have sought some truth, maybe all this could have been avoided. Of course we’ll never get everyone to be more informed, but just a small percentage more might have made the difference. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.