Climate Change

by Colin Berkshire

I’m going to get way off topic here, just for entertainment, and to try to get to some big perspective. Or, perhaps just to grumble. I don’t know. But it is good to stand back in business because it is easy to get caught up in a crisis. All too often I see people at work embroiled in a heated debate about an impending crisis that, well, just isn’t.

The topic is global climate change.

When I was young the crisis of the moment was the cold war. We were scared that the commies with 15% of our firepower would somehow and for some reason become insane and blow up the US. In the midst of this we had the Cuban missile crisis which was ostensibly to prevent nuclear missiles from reaching Cuba, despite the fact that they were already there and operational as we later learned. The Cold War ended with a whimper.

Then, it was pollution and the killing of the earth. Yes, the US was much like China is today. You couldn’t see across town. My eyes would burn after arriving in LA. Rivers were polluted. But we fixed it.

Next it was the “Population Bomb.” The world was getting so overcrowded that mass starvation was inevitable. Prepare for mass famine. We needed to secure our food sources.

We moved to an oil shortage and crisis. We were about to run out of oil and by the mid-80’s it was widely accepted that oil would be running out. We needed nuclear power immediately. Well, today we have a world-class oil glut.

In the midst of a salmon extinction crisis that turned out to simply be a 50-year cyclical event we had the ozone layer hole. Fortunately, the hole went away even before the CFC regulations went into effect, but I’m willing to give this one to the CFC regulations even if the facts say otherwise.

So here we are in the midst of catastrophic climate change. I’m just numb over this one.

Cyclical climate change happens. Just read the bible and you will realize what a lush breadbasket Egypt was 2,000 years ago. The point is that major, even catastrophic climate change has always been happening and will continue to happen. This is how the earth works.

Did we cause this climate change cycle? I don’t know. I just don’t. Sure, why not. Let’s say we did cause it.

But the truth that we all know in our hearts is that we’re not going to fix it. We’re not going to change. Here in the US we produce 5x as much greenhouse gasses as the next country. And, we’re just not really going to change our lifestyle. Not meaningfully.

When you get older you start to get a perspective of events. We are continually in a state of catastrophic crisis. It makes it hard to know what is real and what we need to act on. You just get numb.

This can happen at work, too. There are some people at work that always champion some impending crisis. They do this to get budget and power and to make themselves heroes. Over time you spot these individuals and you temper them. You learn to recognize the things which are real, and also those things which you can change and those things which you cannot or will not.

I tend to have a lot of patience and I tend to try to have perspective.

This is why North Korea doesn’t really bother me. They are just not going to blow up the world, they aren’t going to bomb the United States. Doing these things just wouldn’t benefit them. So they won;r do it. Plain and simple. They are just playing a game to get attention, and money, and concessions. Like the same reason a baby learns to cry even when it just wants attention.

Call me an old fart. But I’ll suggest that if you can avoid “the sky falling” syndrome you will be a better manager.

Oh, and yes, climate change is happening. Now, let’s move on.