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The Latest from Rich Old White Man World

I spend a lot of time visiting fishing lodges all over the world. Most of the time, because of the expense, travel, and time required to visit these lodges, they are primarily occupied by rich old white men (ROWM). Not quite sure what that says about me, but….

As you might anticipate, the ROWM demographic tends to be Republican and conservative. That’s not to say they aren’t often really terrific guys. I’ve had many great times – and some really interesting conversations – with my ROWM friends (they tend to drink really good scotch too). Most are smart (despite their inexplicable love of Fox News), and I think they have a genuine sense of patriotism where America is concerned. However, things often turn a little more heated when we discuss certain subjects, especially climate change.  As you might expect, despite a decade of irrefutable evidence, ROWM tend to be climate change deniers.

So I was surprised a couple weeks ago, while visiting a fishing lodge in Argentina, to hear a major shift in a ROWM position. One night at dinner, my graying, Obama-hating, retired investment banker friends suddenly announced, “climate change is real – but there is no evidence that man has anything to do with it.”

OK, I thought.  At least they are finally acknowledging it is a problem, so I probed further…

“Wow, so you believe in climate change,” I asked one of the ROWM. “And do you think it is a big problem?”

“Oh yeah,” they replied.  ” It’s a major issue.  Course I know the verdict is out as to whether or not man really had anything to do with it, but I know it is very serious.”

And then they told me that they thought it would finish off mankind.  End of the world, Mad Max kind of stuff.  “Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about it,” they said glumly.  “The damn Chinese and Indians are going to continue to pollute, so we’re toast.”

I didn’t point out the obvious gap in logic.  Americans are the biggest carbon polluters, and ff man really has nothing to do with climate change, what does it matter what the Chinese and Indians do?    But……  I have to admit trepidation at their willingness to just surrender.  It’s a bit frightening to see people going from utter denial of a problem, to suddenly accepting that the problem will mean the end of mankind.  It’s like a guy that ignores a huge mole on his leg, insisting it is fine, then one day announces he’s going to die of cancer.

Certainly there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about our environmental future. California is a year away from running out of water – threatening a large part of our food supply.  Even in Oregon, one of the last places on earth you would ever have to worry about droughts, experts are predicting dire water situations in the coming year.  Almost everywhere I travel in the world there is either not enough water, or too much. Unfortunately climate change will necessitate many major changes in the way we all live, beginning a lot sooner than any of us had anticipated.

But surrendering to the problem is not an option, and there are tiny rays of optimism in the doom and gloom.  Alternative green energy is moving much faster than anticipated. Solar energy production is 48 times higher than the projections established in 2000, and wind energy production is 17 times higher.  In fact, renewable energy now accounts for 13% of energy production (increasing 5% over the last 12 years), including wind which produces 4% of our energy.

Imagine what would happen if we quit debating whether or not climate change is real, and instead put our total attention and resources towards solving the problem.  There are a lot of ROWM out there that have a proven history of solving problems and winning battles.  I would love to have them participate in a solution.



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2 Responses to The Latest from Rich Old White Man World

  1. jed duetsch says:

    Hi Tim, I’m one of the ROWM you met in Argentina and I enjoyed our conversations after dinner about climate change and various political topics about which we seemed to be at polar opposites. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go into some of the more descriptive language in this forum.
    Suffice it to say I applaud any efforts to enhance our environment and reduce pollution in whatever form and there are major concerns. However, I do take issue with some of your statements about my position on global warming, climate change as you prefer. We have had several ice ages after which the was warming. Our glaciers have been receding for the last 15,000 years and sea levels have risen to the extent that at one point Florida was considerably higher and wider and at another time it was nearly a part of the ocean. The north polar area was tropical at one time which explains the huge amount of hydrocarbons under the tundra. You totally misstated that anyone at the table said that it would wipe out mankind. “Mad Max” scenario.
    Most people realize there is climate change and there may be some influence by man but the natural cycle has far greater impact than man and mankind will never halt the cycle. Your next volcanic eruption in the Northwest will have more impact than all the solar cells you can create.
    I am not pessimistic about the future because mankind will adapt to whatever happens with the exception of an asteroid hitting earth. I have always believed that the negative influence of man is overpopulation because it exploits every resource from water to food production to fuels needed to maintain the human condition.
    My state,NJ, has had more pollution than most but it is getting cleaned up gradually. Now they are proposing wind farms 12 miles off the coast as far south as Virginia. Three billion dollars is the cost but the result will be far less power than the nuclear power plant at Oyster Creek which is due to close. Morris County is on the hook for $18 million because of a failed solar boondoggle. There are close to 100 acres of thick pine forest about to be leveled in our pine barrens for a field of solar panels because some wackos forgot that trees are a major consumer of CO2 and so it goes with clearing land for biofuels everywhere.
    Don’t you think there is a little hypocritical thinking when the ROWNs fly around in there private planes, live in Al Gore mansions, drive big gas guzzlers, small ships and power boats? They expect everyone else to conserve. Companies rape the government backed funds in the name of green energy and fail leaving billions in losses.Unless and until technology develops more efficient and economical alternatives we can’t kill our economy by limiting our fossil fuels alone. There is a basic distrust amongst many people that we are being lead by zealots with a world view that is anti-business,anti-capitalist (which you are ) and against America. We don’t always do the right thing but we are essential to some semblance of stability in the world both economically and socially.
    Just to clarify, myself and other conservatives are also true conservationists and my source of knowledge is not just Fox News. I read Scientific America as well as many other sources and even watch CNN to see their slant. The problem is the general media is so in the tank with this administration a lot of truth is never told. Finally our local paper covered the crook Senator Mendendez who has no qualms about taking private jets to the Dominican Republic and receiving tons of money.
    Where was the media when one of Obama’s 37 czars was Cass Sundstein, an academic who thinks fishing and hunting should be outlawed because animals have rights or Van Jones an avowed communist and racist.
    I won’t go on and on about our differences but I don’t like to be categorized as a ROWM. You can call me Old that is accurate, Man yes. As far as I know mine and others have mitochondrial DNA that originated in Africa, so call me Person, OPM to be exact.
    For your edification check out Dr. Spencer Wells and his research throughout the history of man. As a former research scientist I think he did great work.
    Hope your “One Fly” goes well and Martin survived Buenos Aires.

  2. Bizzy Life Author Avatar Tim O'Leary says:

    Hi Jed – thanks for the post – and I am happy to refer to you as a OPM or just Jed…

    So you make some interesting points – but I think they just reinforce my post. It would be wonderful to think that man plays such in insignificant role in global warming – as it would negate our responsibility – but science just doesn’t support such a position – just as science doesn’t support so much of the conservative agenda. Denying facts doesn’t make them go away.

    Those that know me would be very surprised to hear me referred to as anti-capitalist. Over the last thirty years I have started many companies that have employed thousands of people and generated billions of dollars in capital. And being a capitalist – I think Al Gore should be able to live in a mansion (by the way – his mansion is green powered as are many of my properties). Gore has primarily made his fortune investing in green companies – because he is smart enough to realize they are the future – certainly not the old-school energy companies that are the recipients of government welfare.

    But my point…… we need to put aside the arguments about the origins of the problem, and instead concentrate on fixing it.

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