Pause to think about beautiful world

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It is a beautiful morning with leaves falling as I look up at a clear blue sky.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Psalms 24: 1-2.

That popped into my head as I heard a hawk crying.

“Yes, it’s a beautiful day.” Then something else came into my head.

“It’s the first of November and I’m wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt,” I said. “What’s wrong with this picture?”

What’s wrong is it shouldn’t be 80 degrees at the start of November. I know many people don’t believe climate change (global warming) is real, but I watched a documentary about how it is affecting our planet and it was both riveting and frightening.

As I said, I know there is denial, maybe misunderstanding, when it comes to climate change. However, more than 1,000 scientists, independent scientific experts from countries around the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there is more than 90 percent probability human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.

Couple that with NASA’s observations that every month in 2016 set a record for the warmest month since they started keeping records back in the1880s. It’s hard not to entertain the possibility that our climate and weather patterns are changing.

Folks in cities like Miami where they have nuisance or “sunny day” flooding when rising sea levels push water up through drainage systems and floods streets will tell you something is going on. And, Miami’s mayor says dealing with the challenges using measure like pumps and raising streets may only work for 50 years or less.

What then? Well, scientists say cities will disappear under rising ocean levels as glaciers continue to melt. (And we know they are melting at an alarming rate).

About now, there is a chorus of, “Hoax.” And the first time we have a freeze, if we have many freezes this winter, folks will laugh about global warming. So fine, don’t accept humans are contributing to climate change. At least acknowledge something is changing and it should get our attention. Maybe plan for when oceans start covering cities.

Not only scientists are concerned. National security experts call it a serious threat.

If there are shortages of water or problems with the food supply, there isn’t an ocean wide enough or a wall high enough to keep thirsty, hungry people from trying to get food and water. These will probably not be particularly cordial visitors.

There is, however, good news. Scientists say it is not too late to turn around the damage we are doing. We have a small window of opportunity to slow down the warming pattern, but we have to act soon. We can‘t keep pretending climate change isn‘t real.

We are in the midst of an election and climate change has gotten almost no mention. Well, there was that debate when one candidate pointed out that the other candidate believes climate change is a hoax created by China.

Why should we care? Well, if earth continues to warm and predicted changes happen, concerns over missing emails, candidates grabbing lady parts, rights of different groups of Americans, the economy, etc. will be small stuff if we are trying to survive on a planet that doesn’t look or feel like the earth we know.

Forget particular candidates and their personalities, study the parties’ platforms relating to climate change. Which one addresses it? Which one thinks it’s real and something that needs attention?

Even if you don’t believe climate change is real, ask, “What if I’m wrong?”

If those accepting climate change are wrong, well, life continues as we know it. If those who deny climate change are wrong, we face a different outcome.

I thought about something else this November morning — a song from childhood.

“God’s beautiful world.

God’s beautiful world.

I love God’s beautiful world.

He made it for you.

He made it for me.

I love God’s beautiful world.”

When you vote, think seriously about whether the people you vote for are concerned about keeping God’s world beautiful for future generations.

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.