And, by the way, what does climate have to do with it all, anyway?!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word “sustainability” come up in conversation lately. The word seems to be all the rage. That straightforward construct here undoubtedly needs no elaboration, no explanation.

Not so with climate, another buzzword, catch-phrase of this modern era we’re living in. While the number of times I hear climate is let’s just say, innumerable – cannot be counted – there is more to climate than just its connection to meteorology. Don’t forget there is such thing as political climate, social climate, etc.

As we are currently in a period of transition if not uncertainty in going forward, climate, or the atmosphere to be perfectly clear, is rather tenuous – the air is pretty thin if you get my drift. And, this is nothing new as we’ve seen this sort of thing before.

We saw it prior to the 20th to the 21st century odometer rollover what with the Y2K scare. But, here’s the thing: the technological problem-solving community was on it early – it had at least five years to get it figured out. The bottom line is, it all got resolved and neither was there any serious backlash from it as a result.

Even preceding that, there was trepidation or angst among scientists familiar with the 20th century environmental threats of acid rain and the more catastrophic or damaging stratospheric layer ozone depletion going on at the time. So, you’ve heard the word disruption, right? Not only were these “disruptions” identified but accordingly dealt with.

Since that time many are the tools at our disposal that can better help humankind identify new potentially life-altering ecologically disastrous situations and consequently stave off their advances, and on top of this are at a level of sophistication that, if nothing else, inspires awe. Technology has indeed evolved.

With all the resources in the toolbox from which we can draw upon to help us problem-solve, if the will of the majority of people just isn’t there to render such problems null and void, then what does it matter how effective the available defenses? I’m thinking the coronavirus outbreak and specifically the vaccine to combat if not eradicate it will do little good if too few get vaccinated.

Such, I fear, is also the case with climate change which, because of its more abstract nature, makes the prospect of climate normalization that much more difficult. Such is also the case concerning climate change posing an existential threat. The reality is many people simply don’t subscribe to that notion. On the other hand, of those who believe the cause of climate change is human-driven, there are those who take the position that in terms of progress made to right the ship, with them it’s a case of either not enough is being done or that which is being or been done is too little, too late.

This, thankfully, is not the case with air pollution and its effects. It’s more a case here of if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it must be a duck. There is simply no denying that air pollution exists or that it poses a clear-and-present danger to human health.

In entering the 21st century’s third decade, what we need is to feel inspired and empowered that we will get these crises – the coronavirus and climate change – under control. COVID-19 has showed us what can happen if we simply drive less, the result here being cleaner air. That very prospect should prompt us to align and put us on the same page in terms of our working in a cohesive, collective, cooperative and coordinated manner to bring levels of pollution in the air to safe levels everywhere lives are negatively impacted by it. Why? Just because it’s the correct thing to do not to mention that the benefits to be enjoyed in so doing are, well, priceless.

And, you just never know, but it just could be that at the end of the day that not only climate but the economy will be beneficiaries also. Here’s hoping!

Image: Mchavez, Cornfield, Fallon, Nev.

This post was last revised on Dec. 29, 2020 @ 2:43 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

– Alan Kandel