Did you remember to observe Earth Hour?

ColumnistMarch 30, 2017 

Last week, I derived a bit of satisfaction from sharing areas in my life that qualify me as an expert. Of course, I was bound to point out that the expertise that I have gained is generally a result of learning the hard way what not to do. It has since been painfully brought to my attention that I may have neglected to mention one more area in which I could be deemed an expert.

I should probably add farm safety expert to my list of qualifications on my resume — particularly in respect to the proper usage of a log splitter. It’s good to know that I have so many people out there keeping track of my abilities!

While it was enjoyable for me to find areas in which I have some knowledge, I readily admit that there are many instances in which I am not an expert. I cannot claim to know anything about global climate change. All I can share is what I have heard and what I have read.

Back in the 1970s, when I was a student at the University of Missouri, this was a hot issue (pun intended). However, we were being told that because of the interference to the atmosphere caused by mankind, we were certain to see another Ice Age in our time.

Apparently, the scientists of that time felt that air pollution was going to be progressively worse and eventually block enough sunlight to cast the world into darkness and freezing temperatures. We were also being taught that the world supply of coal and oil would run out in the next 40 years or so.

A few years later, we began hearing about the dangers of the threat of global warming. Scientists were keeping records of temperature around the globe and noting that there was constant rise from year to year. Again, this ominous rising of average temperatures worldwide could only be blamed on human activity.

In the last few years, the rhetoric has become more focused upon climate change in general. That way, regardless of the direction of the averages, there is still always a valid reason for concern.

Ten years ago, the World Wide Fund for Nature organized Earth Hour to be a worldwide movement. Businesses and individuals are asked to disconnect from electricity for one hour a year in a symbolic move to call attention to the plight of the earth.

This year’s event was on March 25, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Apparently, it was observed in more than 7,000 cities in more than 170 countries and many of the world’s landmarks were dimmed during that hour.

While I realize that shutting off power for only one hour is merely symbolic, I have to wonder about any real value to be gained by participating. Frankly, what difference does it make in drawing attention to an issue that might not be really an issue?

I admit that I am not a scientist, that I am nothing but a farm boy using “Show-me” Missouri commonsense in trying to understand the problem. Using the type of logic that I employ would never gain me access to the millions of dollars in grant money available for comprehensive studies.

After giving it considerable thought, I can come to only one conclusion. Only mankind can be arrogant enough to think that we alone are responsible for the atmosphere of this planet. We are not in charge here, but I know who is, and that’s where I place my faith and trust.

Next year, during Earth Hour, if they are still observing it then, come on by, I’ll leave the lights on for you.

David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is dcoffelt@coffeltlandtitle.com.

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