It was mid-morning in the middle of last week and I thought I would do a little driving. I was not really expecting to have many rides and to my surprise I stayed very busy. When I picked up this “40 something” at Union Station who needed to be dropped off at the bus station, I was not expecting the privilege of a conversation with a “real” scientist. He told me he was going to take the bus back to Sante Fe, NM. He had come down from Boulder and was going back home to prepare to move himself and his family to Colorado. He had taken a job with the Atmospheric Research Center. I shared with him that I had taken the bus to Sante Fe a couple of times. We agreed that although the bus is slow and stops at some unique places on the way there, it can be very entertaining. I said “It is Good Friday and the Penitentes will be along your route as you get to NM.” He said, “Oh yes, that is always interesting “. For those of you who might wonder who a Penitente is, they are members of a lay fraternity of Catholics who carry crosses everywhere on Good Friday, including mountain tops.
He then asked me about myself. I told him I was a retired pastor gone Lyft driver. He said, “My father is an Episcopalian priest”. “Ah, you grew up behind the curtain; I have a special place in my heart for PK’s. “It wasn’t so bad.” “What do you do?” “I am a climate scientist.” he said with a bright smile. My wheels began to turn. I paused for a moment and then put this right out there. “Ok, tell me in your most honest scientific opinion, how screwed are we?” He very thoughtfully paused and (this is my paraphrase) “We have about 20 years to turn this around”. “You have hope?” I queried. “Oh yes”. We covered a lot of ground. We got to the bus station and the conversation continued for a few minutes. I asked what his specific area of study is and he said Greenland and the Arctic.
I gave him my card and talked for a moment about this blog. I then took off and headed south to get my car washed. Maybe seven minutes later my phone rings and it’s a 505 area code (NM). “Hey, its Wil, I left my suitcase in your trunk, it’s a good thing you left me your card.” “We were having too much fun. I will be back as soon as I can. Will I make it before your bus leaves?” “Yep, we have 20 minutes “. So I get back there and he is standing on the curb smiling. We get the bag 💼 and he says “Now you have a punchline for your blog”.
Well, if by punchline he means that between the two of us we have a whole lot of education but can’t remember a bag 💼, that’s true. The punchline for me was the clarity and honesty he had as he shared about climate change, and the indisputable evidence that human activity is at its roots. How I see it is, if humans caused it than humans must fix it. I am using my self-made soap box 📦 to say, “We have a moral responsibility of the first degree to admit we have a problem of our own making.” In geological time, 20 years is a mini-blip. In my time, I plan on spending the next 20 telling the truth about this issue and expecting the same from others.
P.S. If you are a climate change deny-er, and you have kids or grandkids, someday “you will have a lot of ‘splaining to d🙄!!!”
Onward and Upward,