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Columns

River Town Chronicles: You’re getting warmer, HOT, SCALDING!

When on Easter morning all but the best-hidden Easter eggs are found, parents hint at the tough spots by giving hints of “hot” and “cold,” depending on where the hunter is headed.

“Scalding hot!” the adult yells when an unseen egg, colorful as a hippie’s tie-dyed T-shirt, nests behind a couch pillow mere inches from an outstretched hand.

The memory returned a few weeks ago when President Donald Trump signed an executive order, according to Time, that “curtails some of the most significant Obama-era regulations," including efforts to reduce global warming.

Scientific evidence showing the earth growing warmer doesn’t faze this administration. The president has tweeted global warming “was created by and for the Chinese," implying it a hoax, despite an overwhelming majority of astro-physicists who demonstrate its man-made origins.

Incredibly, many Earthlings still deny our planet is slowly incinerating. Their recalcitrance reminds me of a story.

Before Geneva’s library referendum passed, a friend mentioned she voted no because, growing up in Geneva, she loved the old building just the way it was. No amount of reasonable argument – that it was landlocked; had no parking or drive-up drop-off box; its interior couldn’t accommodate the town’s current population; and its antiquated utilities and infrastructure were on life support – affected her decision. Her choice resided in emotions, not facts.

Yes, there will be an additional cost for a new library; but to save a building from ruin, and to save a planet from suffocating, the cost will be worth it.

Sure, we love our planet the way it was – and is; how tempting to bathe in the warm comfort of golden memories. Meanwhile, the ice caps melt, extreme weather bakes and floods the globe, clean water evaporates, and countries – and counties – fight for arable land.

“It looks fine,” non-believers tell themselves. “I grew up with it looking just like this. If I don’t want it to change, it won’t.”

The new administration is trying to sell us a rosy outlook, even to the point of pushing coal again. However, The New Yorker unmasks the White House by asserting its executive order a “declaration of war on the basic knowledge of the harm that burning coal, and other fossil fuels, can do. Indeed, it tells the government to ignore information.”

On March 16, about 100 people showed up outside 14th District Congressman Randy Hultgren’s office to protest the proposed stripping of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Kane County Chronicle interviewed Jeanne Neltnor who said, “To destroy the EPA – it’s going to destroy humankind.”

Many of us just celebrated Easter. To celebrate the wondrous resurrection, the miracle needed to be preceded with a stormy crucifixion. Only after a Lenten season in which we recognize our flaws and work on becoming better, can transcendence occur.

Not until we accept the fact that we are killing the earth can we reverse our actions. As one scientist put it, the earth doesn’t care what we think, or what we believe.

Believe it.

Rick Holinger teaches high school English and facilitates a local writing workshop. His poetry, fiction, essays, criticism and book reviews have appeared in numerous literary journals. Contact him at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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