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Paul Turner: In the grip of climate change cynicism

In this undated photo provided by Eric Regehr, polar bears are seen on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Circle. (Eric Regehr / AP)
In this undated photo provided by Eric Regehr, polar bears are seen on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Circle. (Eric Regehr / AP)

It’s kind of liberating to embrace the likelihood that we are doomed.

I mean, it puts things in perspective.

Life’s little annoyances suddenly seem less vexing. Pet peeves that once twisted your briefs into a knot can be shrugged off.

Why? Because it’s obvious we aren’t going to do much about global warming until it’s way, way too late.

It probably already is. If you doubt me, just ask a polar bear or a disappearing glacier.

Yes, I know. That’s all rather grim. End-stage climate change won’t be pretty either.

So why am I not frowning? Well, for one thing, most people my age will be long gone by the time science really hits the fan. There’s that.

And it’s hard to resist thinking that, like the blockhead naysayers proved deliciously wrong in disaster movies, smug climate-change deniers will get what’s coming to them eventually. Or at least their great-grandchildren will.

Admittedly, that’s a rather pyrrhic version of comeuppance.

Now don’t get me wrong. I wish there was some hope for kids and bearded craft beer fans. Some hope that they could enjoy long, happy lives on our slow-cooking planet.

But what’s the point of kidding ourselves? We all know our society is too forehead-slappingly shortsighted to get real about saving our environment. I mean, that would require change. It might even require sacrifice.

Is that apt to happen?

Ahahahahahahaha. No, it’s not.

Remember back in the ’70s when we were going to convert to the metric system?

When it comes to Convenience vs. Consequences, Americans will take convenience every time. Oh, and legroom. We like lots of legroom.

Meantime, we’ll go on whistling past the graveyard, averting our gaze from the temperature data and rising ocean levels.

The truth is, we richly deserve what’s coming. At least some of us do. I’m thinking here of the geniuses who stubbornly ignore basic climate research and point to snowy winter weather, saying “Where’s your messiah now?”

Uh, he’s coming for us. But it might not be covered on Fox News.

Oh, sure. We all hope some smart kids will figure out how to save our bacon at the eleventh hour. But preserving life as we know it isn’t going to be like devising a spiffy new app for your phone. It’s going to be, well, never mind. It ain’t gonna happen. Oil company profits might dip, after all.

Cynical? Me? Nah. Just reading the will of American politics.

And it seems pretty clear the electorate wants us to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Or worse.

Like I said, we’re doomed. Or at least we face a future that’s doomish.

But of course, as I suggested, there’s an upside. If you are someone who used to fret about weeds in the lawn or aphids in your trees, the prospect of a slow-moving climate Armageddon certainly puts that in perspective.

Or if a grocery sacker plops a can of peaches on top of the bananas. Oh well, whatever.

Or … well, you get the idea.

Too bad about the grandkids, though. Sort of makes you want to hold them in your arms and never let go.

Of course, then they wouldn’t be able to get out there and find a way out of this mess, a mess they didn’t make.

Double play

As you know, there are two kinds of people in this world.

There are those who will obtain at the same time two books they are eager to read. They will then proceed to read one book and then, upon completing that, begin the second.

But the other kind of person will read both books at the same time. You know, read a little bit of one and then read a little of the other. Then repeat that, over and over. Back and forth.

Which kind of person are you?

I suppose there’s nothing unusual about reading two books more or less simultaneously. If the two volumes’ subjects are different enough – say, Lyndon Johnson and baseball – it probably doesn’t get confusing.

But what if these two different kinds of people share the same household? Does one person find the other person, well, strange? At least in this regard.

Just wondering.


vs. Born Heres

Sometimes newcomers to the Spokane area acquire a reputation for yammering on about how great it was back wherever they came from. About how it compared favorably with the Inland Northwest in countless ways. As you might suspect, that can get old.

But I wonder how many of us have experienced the opposite. You know, newcomers complaining about the traffic or weather back where they used to live while praising Spokane for its many positive attributes.

And I also wonder if those who have lived here since birth ever get jealous about having only one city to complain about.

Let’s move on.

Columnist Paul Turner can be contacted at

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