During the mid 1980s through the 1990s, Apple was very interesting. Going through swings of almost bankruptcy, to launching the all new Macintosh, to losing their illustrious CEO, and the birth of NeXT Computers. During that time I was closely affiliated, either because I was selling a lot of those Macs, or because I was writing software on NeXT Computers. The one thread that ran through the era was Steve Jobs, and the always present news story. Steve had a way, and Apple has kind of gotten away from this a bit, of being in the news. Whether it was because of tantrums in the engineering org, or his stylistic choices in architecture, Steve, and thus his companies, were always in the news for good or bad. As such, Steve Jobs is a world renown name, and Apple is Apple.
Dare I say, the modern day Steve Jobs is Donald Trump. This is how a modern political campaign is won. He was always in the news, and everyone, especially his opponents, was always reacting to whatever he said or did. That’s just the way it is, and now he’s about to be in the White House.
As humans, we are often afflicted by a fascination of all things human, and sometimes that leads us to believe we are all important, powerful, or penultimate if not on this planet alone, then in the entirety of the universe. Then things start to happen that are far beyond our control. Mt Pinatubo erupts, and suddenly atomic bombs look smallish.
While I was running on the treadmill this morning, I was watching some video “Earth in 1000 Years”. It’s basically a 45 minute expose on what’s happening with the polar ice caps and iceland. I found it to be just factual. Satellite photos, x-rays, ice core samples, and the like. Explanations of what ocean currents are doing, what happens with tons of fresh water sliding into the oceans, how carbon is trapped and released, and how it all correlates to climate change, ice ages, thaws, and the like. Nothing political, no exhortations to drive an electric car, no brow beating about how environmental accords need to be agreed to. Just cold hard facts of what’s happening to our planet today, and what it will likely mean over the next couple hundred years.
Then, I read this story about how Miami Beach is losing its sand. Once again, this is a cold hard fact. The people who live their and manage the beaches know full well what’s going on, and the risk associated with a sea that is rising by .24″ per year. It’s not the actual rise that’s killer at the moment, but that the surge is upward, so the sand is getting washed away.
And this got me thinking on the Trump connection. There are any number of stories on Donald Trump’s beliefs when it comes to climate change, like this one. Basically “ah phooey, that stuff is a bunch of bunk…”. Yep, heard it before. Perhaps the only debatable point is the level to which human activities have any affect on the climate, but changing it is. But, here’s Donald Trump, in the media, saying anything to stay in the minds of the masses. It doesn’t really matter what he say. Facts, half-truth, made up reality. As long as he says it, and people are listening, it will get spread, and we’ll all react.
I understand why people say “there’s no climate change”. Because, invariably, they think the restrictions we impose on ourselves to deal with it are taking jobs away, suppressing profits, and generally just a bunch of governmental overreach. Yah, ok, I can understand the sentiment.
So, at least for the next 4 years, the US govt. might not be a world player when it comes to driving climate change initiatives. But what does that mean to me the average schmoe. Do I have to return all my newly installed LED lights and reinstall wasteful incandescent bulbs? Do I have to purchase an American made muscle car that gets 15 mpg instead of an electric? Do I have to invest in coal mines to ensure that my electricity comes from the good old fashioned “when America was great” method of electical generation, or can I go ahead and install those solar panels and battery pack at my house?
At some point, we all think, “this is a big problem, what difference does it make what I do?”, but these problems are all actually locally modifiable. If everyone on the planet could ditch their incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs, at the very least we’d be using that much less power, which leaves more for other uses. If companies like Tesla make great looking cars at affordable prices, then we can buy them, and reduce by that much. These are tiny things, but they do in fact add up.
Politicians are so important when it comes to setting an agenda, and driving in a particular direction. We as individuals and societies outlast them, and operate on a personal level every day. No matter what is said in the media about climate change, I’m going to continue to purchase LED lighting, because it’s a fairly economical thing to do, and it just makes sense. I’m desperate to make my next car an electric one. I’m going to ride my bike to work more, when it’s not quite so rainy and dark. I’m going to try and support companies that are like minded and creating products that are friendly to the environment, not because they were forced to by government regulations, but because it seems like a good idea to take care of the place we call home.
Donald Trump is in the news a lot, for all sorts of things. He’s a media hound, and thrives off the attention, and ultimately it will suit his needs, whatever they may be. He is no oracle when it comes to understanding climate change. He’s just another human. I’m not going to get trumped by his view on climate, and I’m going to do the best that I can as a human to try and make our planet a better place.