I’ve decided that it’s time to get this out of my system. I’ve discussed the issue when I have spoken to groups in public, but I thought now is the time to put it all together in one place. First I need to give you some background.
You may remember the Bill Murray movie “Meatballs.” In that film Murray, as camp counselor Tripper, is giving a pep-talk to his campers before their “Olympic Games” against their rival and much better funded summer camp. To sum up his “Win one for the Gipper” speech he tells his campers that no matter how it turns out, even if they win, they will still never get the pretty girls so “It Just Doesn’t Matter.” He wanted them to do their best even though the outcome seemed inevitable.
In my earlier days in TV weather I also performed other duties. In Austin, TX I was Science Editor for the station and reported on many science and environmental topics.
I did a two-part series of reports about an Australian scientist who went to Antarctica with the Russians to study the process of melting and freezing of the glaciers and ice fields. Their main purpose was to determine if we were going into another Ice Age or not. In part one I described how they put transponders on the ice and in the water to measure what was happening. Their final report stated that indeed we were on our way to a new Ice Age. I summarized the story in part two and asked the Australian scientist whether he thought we were on our way to a new Ice Age. His answer was one of the best soundbites I ever got from an interview subject. In answer to the question he said, and I quote ” Yes we are going into another Ice Age, but I wouldn’t run out and buy a heavier coat tomorrow.” Could we do anything to stop it? No. It just doesn’t matter.
In the early 1980s scientists were all abuzz over the “Jet Stream” and how it was causing all of the changes we were seeing with stronger hurricanes and increasing numbers of US tornadoes. The Jet Stream in itself does not create the storms, but guides and pushes them along. You can blame it all on the Jet Stream, but it just doesn’t matter.
In the 1990s the big topics were El Nino and La Nina and how they controlled our weather patterns. El Nino, named “the baby” after the baby Jesus by the South American fisherman. They noticed that every so many years a warm water pool formed in the Pacific Ocean and moved closer to shore around Christmas time. They found that because of the warmer water the fish they needed to catch migrated to another location. You saw many people trying to blame El Nino for the tornado destruction in their state or the blizzard that struck the mid-west. The two “El’s” effect seasonal weather patterns on a short-term scale. They control the location of the Polar and Subtropical Jet Streams during each season. You can’t blame them for individual weather events. Which one was at fault in a given case? It just doesn’t matter.
For a long time now we have engaged in very heated discussions over “Global Warming” and there have been some dire predictions of what will happen if we don’t act immediately to “fix” it. I’m sorry but I find it very difficult to see how we can “fix” such a massive worldwide problem when we don’t yet understand all of the mechanisms that are involved. Oh, and now to quell some of the political hub-bub over “Global Warming.” The name has been altered to “Climate Change.” We could argue forever over which name we should use, but it just doesn’t matter.
In my view we could discuss, argue over, and legislate which one of these processes is responsible for our weather or climate but it just doesn’t matter. Think about our pets, dogs and cats. Do they “do their business” in their food dish? No, but we humans do. We have been polluting the air, land and water for centuries. We all admit that is a bad thing so why do we have to waste so much time bickering over what to call it or who’s to blame? It just doesn’t matter. We know about the pollution and we know ways to make our planet a better place in which to live. I don’t think it can’t be done with radical changes in our lifestyle all at once today as some suggest. In my opinion we need to work at it one day at a time, one person at a time, one project at a time and it will get done. We can at least improve our living conditions. I’m not so sure we will ever have the power to alter the direction our climate is taking, one way or the other. And who is to take credit for the ways we devise to make these improvements? It just doesn’t matter, as long as we get the job done.
Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can email me at: [email protected]