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Retirement, Time for a Cool Change, Limits to My Activism

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February 16, 2017 by John Crapper

Retirement – a time of cool change.

LITTLE RIVER BAND
“Cool Change”

If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
It’s the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
Lots of those friendly people
And they’re showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration
Time for a cool change
I know that it’s time for a cool change
And now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it’s time for a cool change
Well, I was born in the sign of water
And it’s there that I feel my best
The albatross and the whales they are my brothers
It’s kind of a special feeling
When you’re out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it’s time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it’s time for a cool change
I’ve never been romantic
And sometimes I don’t care
I know it may sound selfish
But let me breathe the air, yeah
Let me breathe the air
[Instrumental Interlude]
If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
It’s the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It’s kind of a special feeling
When you’re out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it’s time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it’s hard for a cool
Cool, cool change
It’s time, it’s time, it’s time
It’s time, it’s time, it’s time
For a cool, cool change
Oooooh, I know it’s time for a cool
Cool, cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
Well, I know, I know, I know, I know
That it’s time for a cool change
Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is
It’s Time for a cool change Cool Change

I am starting  my retirement this year.  It feels good.  Not that I’ve been having a bad life up to this point.  Actually, I think I’ve had a pretty charmed life so far.

Retirement doesn’t mean I still don’t have important things to do.  Now the most important work begins. It’s time for me to devote myself to trying to draw attention to the urgent problem of climate change in an attempt to make the issue go viral.  I figure I’ve got a chance of succeeding about a little better than a snowball’s  in hell but I’m still going to try.

Most people look at me a little strangely when I tell them that this is what I’m going to do in my retirement. And actually, I must admit, a strong argument can be made I shouldn’t even care about climate change at my age.  That’s because of the timeframe of the projected negative effects.

You see, in connection with a book I’ve written, I did extensive research determining what the future looks like if we keep going down the fossil fuelish path we are currently on.  I projected out until the year 2200.  I concluded from that research that even though we are currently seeing and feeling some of the negative effects of climate change, significant life-altering events won’t start happening with regularity until around the year 2030.  I’ll be almost 90 years old at that time.  Going out a little farther shows that between 2040 and 2050 the shit really starts hitting the fan and civilization as we know it starts falling apart.   I won’t be around to see it.

During my life I’ve lived through both personal and societal missed opportunities when it comes to our energy future.

First let me tell you my earliest personal disappointment.

To do that I need take you back to the first oil crises back in 1973 when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo. This was “in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. During this time cars waited in long lines to fill up. At the time the 1973 “oil price shock”, along with the 1973–1974 stock market crash, were regarded as the most severe economic event to happen since the Great Depression.

Then there was the second oil crisis which happened in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini soon became the new leader of Iran. Protests severely disrupted the Iranian oil sector, with production being greatly curtailed and exports suspended. When oil exports were later resumed under the new regime, they were inconsistent and at a lower volume, which pushed prices up. Widespread panic resulted, added to by the decision of U.S. President Jimmy Carter to order the cessation of Iranian imports driving the price far higher than would be expected under normal circumstances. Due to memories of oil shortage in 1973, motorists soon began panic buying, and long lines appeared at gas stations, as they had six years earlier during the 1973 oil crisis.

I was in college at the time.  I came up with the idea of The American Rock.  The idea was to raise money from rock concerts  and direct the proceeds into helping solve our energy dependency.

A formal campus organization was formed with the stated goals of:

  • supporting research in non-polluting renewable energy projects being conducted by University academic departments and,
  • providing funding towards conservation improvements on campus. i.e. student housing weatherization projects, recycling programs, car pooling program

A logo was created. It consisted of a hand-sized granite rock with an American flag affixed to it.

A date was set for the launch. A venue for our first concert was secured and a band was hired for our first benefit concert.

A media campaign was drawn up. Teaser ads and articles were to be placed in the campus newspaper to entice curiosity.

 

The morning of the kickoff 2000 pounds of small granite rocks with American flags attached were placed about 25 yards apart along all major walkways on campus.

A grand total of 6 tickets were sold.

I have other personal stories but this one was the first and most illuminating.

On the broader political/societal level there has been the defeat of Al Gore, John Kerry and most recently Hillary Clinton, all of which acknowledged the existence and seriousness of climate change and campaigned to take action on it.  All were defeated because “enough votes” were not cast for them.

Now as I enter retirement, we have the climate denier Trump occupying the White House.  I never realized the darkest hour before the dawn could look so dark!

I think we are in need of a new religion.  Religion is the glue that binds a group of people together. It is the moral framework from which a person judges the world. It is the hub in their wheel of existence. It provides them a way to maintain long-term attention to the principles by which to live in the face of life’s short-term distractions. Religion provides a person with a path to travel in their desire to lead a good life.

Our modern life screams out for a new kind of religion offering a new glue to bind people together, a new moral framework from which to judge and a new hub in their wheel of existence. This new religion needs to focus exclusively on our physical existence. It must be secular in nature and concern itself with our life on this Earth and our relationship with it.

This religion is the Church of the Holy Shitters.  It demands of us a new mind—a lower transcendent reason – able to plug our species into its rightful place in nature. It demands that each of us assume a new responsibility for nature and all its living creatures. It promises a life that is more liberated, healthier and more beautiful than anything mankind has known if we only have the courage and the meekness to seize that life.

But if I’m wrong and this new religion doesn’t resonate within a realistic timeframe, I’m going to unplug and enjoy the rest of my retirement.  I’ll be content in the knowledge I tried to wake people up to the cool change needed and comforted that I won’t be alive to see the worst happening.

And I’ll spend the rest of my time in retirement camping, hiking and fishing.  As the Little River Band said, “I know it may sound selfish, but let me breath the air. Yeah, let me breath the air”.

 

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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