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Compass Points12/14/2005

By Al Campbell

Jason will mark his first birthday on Saturday.
My, wasn’t it only yesterday we were planning for the first birthdays of our children Scott and Lisa? Where did the years go? Day by day they slid and we didn’t even realize the passage of time.
On the morning when I wrote this column, Dec. 8, I just got through reading a news item on Radio Canada International’s Cyberjournal Web site about the Inuit nations in Alaska and Canada.
Residents of the far north, the Inuits lodged a formal complaint against the United States at a conference in Washington, D.C. of the Organization of American States.
The Inuits have accused this nation of violation of their human rights by not taking action to cut the amount of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. They, more than many of us, are directly affected when the climate warms, polar bears and other animals are affected, and when that happens, so are the Inuit people.
Their very daily lives and culture, rich and deep as it is, has been endangered. RCI estimates 150,000 Inuit live in Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia.
“Their part of the world has been warming faster than any other on the planet,” stated RCI.
So, what does that have to do with Jason and all toddlers of today who are crawling about in play clothes and footed ‘jamies?
Consider the climate changes that we have experienced just this year.
Unthinkable as it seemed, we had temperatures in the 60s and 70 far into November. Yes, we finally got a cold snap and snow, but that phenomena came as such an abrupt change, we almost feel offended by such normal weather occurrences.
It’s not just weather that we must consider, but many other details, if Jason and his generation are to enjoy what we have today.
Unless his folks win a hefty Pick 6 Lotto, I don’t know how Jason will afford to live in Cape May County, much less in his hometown of Court House.
We’ll have to keep digging deeper and deeper to pay school taxes to educate him, his older sister, and all their little friends. Much as we may hate to do it, we will have to vote “yes” on school budgets that will increase those taxes, since good schools are one of a community’s most important investments in its future.
Will we see a sea change in the way we get from home to work and do our shopping? Or can we expect to continue to drive vehicles that guzzle gas, and produce gases that add to the greenhouse effect?
Will the moral climate of our nation be so changed, that Jason and his peers will have no aspect of right and wrong? Will they be able to freely exercise their religious convictions, or fear to voice them for fear of offending someone who doesn’t believe?
How long will Jason have to work to pay the tax bill that we, today’s generation, have incurred  by outrageous national debt?
Looking on the positive side, imagine the things that Jason and tomorrow’s generation will enjoy that we may only have today in the crudest state?
Some new Internet? Possibly. Medical treatment without office visits? Maybe. More gadgets that require batteries to dazzle a grandparent’s mind? Undoubtedly.
Of course, we won’t worry about any of those things on Dec. 17, as we mark that special natal day.
But we can’t put off thinking about such things forever. The warming global climate that today afflicts the Inuits will, in a few short years, translate into more severe storms here, likely loss of beaches and properties that lie just behind them.
We may say it’s not our concern, not a problem any of us can control.
However, if each, in his own small way, recycles, walks instead of riding, uses more “green” methods around the house, and in general, looks after his part of this globe as a caretaker, not an owner, then Jason and his generation will have a bright future, one they will pass to the next.
 
 

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