Can't Swallow 'Climate Action'? Do Right Anyway


This is for everybody who can read, except for a few idiots. nnThose excused from our conversation, based on the thickness and slope of their skulls, have been reported to troll the West in large and loud vehicles. So doing, they speak ill of many of us with their exhaust pipes.

“Rolling coal” is what they call the practice. To spew hatred for environmentalists, they drive around in big-butted pickups specially rigged to pour extra-black exhaust into the air.

I bring them up because regardless of political party or ideology, most of us can all agree on some things regarding the environment — like not minding it if these eco-invalids went off-roading off yonder cliff.

Several cities, including the one in which I reside, Fort Collins, recently formed Colorado Communities for Climate Action. The group’s aim: state, local and national policies that assist a planet in distress, particularly in summoning businesses to act more sustainably.

I applaud this. However, if we are to believe our ears per current discourse, some people aren’t clapping. After all, climate denial has become a central tenet of one of our major political parties.

Now, you might think I’m about to lump those of the latter persuasion among those spewing blackness in people’s faces. But, no, I’m not. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, unaligned, just about all of us are closer to agreeing about what’s best for all, including the planet, than we are in polar opposite corners.

I know. That sounds odd. However, it makes sense when Katherine Hayhoe explains it.

The Texas Tech atmospheric scientist, focus of a recent Texas Monthly profile, is one of the nation’s top speakers on climate change. As with 97% of climatologists, she’s certain about mankind’s role in the matter. She’s also an evangelical Christian.

Living in a carbon-fueled, deeply red state, Hayhoe is accustomed to being assailed by those who refuse to believe a climate model affirmed by science for half a century.

Her attitude is that she isn’t going to convince everyone to believe the science, but she can encourage people to do the right thing anyway.

That means conserving energy — regardless of one’s motivation. You do it because it’s better for the planet? OK. You do it because it saves you money and it’s better for your bottom line? Just as OK.

That means using less electricity through smarter lighting and other means. That means recycling. That means driving less, walking and bicycling more. That means using mass transit.

Look around. See? I guarantee these practices cross party lines. One key reason is that things that are good for the planet are good for our pocket books as well.

As far as the planet is concerned, asserts Hayhoe, if people do Earth-friendly things, it doesn’t matter what they believe about the climate.

A world not so dependent on dirty fossil fuels that leave us in a milky haze? A world not so dependent on invasive techniques that produce ever-more-expensive and, by definition, ever-more-limited energy sources?

Says Hayhoe, “We all would want to live in that world.”

So, if you don’t buy the science, at least you can buy the common sense behind it. If you refuse to classify sensible, economical, energy-conserving steps as “climate action,” choose something else. For all Mother Earth cares, you can call it “oatmeal.”

Whatever you believe about how your actions might affect future generations, species, oceans, glaciers, rivers and everything left after you and I have passed on, know what’s good for us right now. And do it.

John Young is a longtime Texas newspaperman who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo. Email See

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2016

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2016 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652