When crepe myrtles bloom earlier in the year than they did when most baby boomers were young, when record-setting mid-September days feel more like mid-July or mid-August, and when many winters go by locally without snow, something with our climate is going on.
But something with our climate has always been going on, according to studies of the earth. Warm periods. Cool periods. Ice ages. Warm periods. Cool periods. Warm periods.
Unlike through most of those eons, though, many people today have decided they can change things. If they only had their way, according to the frequently cited 97 (or name your number) of 100 scientists, icebergs wouldn't melt, hurricanes wouldn't be so powerful, tornadoes wouldn't be so frequent, temperatures wouldn't be so hot, and it wouldn't snow so much.
The world, they tell us, is in the throes of climate extremes, a wonderful catch-all expression that covers your situation if its rains too little or too much, is too hot or too cold, and if naturally occurring storms are too frequent or too infrequent.
So, according to these scientists and their cohorts in politics or in the national media, without change, the world will end in 12 years or the seacoasts will be permanently flooded or the heat will be so intense crops will disintegrate.
Now, no thinking person, whether or not they adhere to the many predictions, believes we have no responsibility for the world we have been lent.
As far back as the writing of the Bible, we were told, in Genesis 2:15, "The Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."
We are to be stewards and by being stewards — in today's world — we should reduce our waste, keep our waters free of plastics, seek alternative energy as it becomes more affordable and reduce the pollution we can with more efficient products. Among other things.
But to live our lives by the words of climate extremists and Chicken Little — "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" — is no life at all.
So it was that a just-released article by the nonprofit, conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions," reminds us how the more we think we know, the less we probably know about what will happen.
"Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s," the article by Myron Ebell begins. "They continue to do so today."
Instead of recalling the predictions in a narrative, though, the article reprints copies of what was printed. So there will be no doubt what was said.
* A 1967 Salt Lake Tribune article, citing a Stanford University biologist, said "it is already too late for the world to avoid a long period of famine," which will be at its worst in 1975. The U.S., the biologist suggested, will need to make birth control involuntary and put sterilizing agents into food staples and drinking water.
* A 1969 New York Times article quoted the same biologist in saying "unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years."
* A 1971 Washington Post article, quoting an expert at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said "fossil- fuel burning could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees" in the next 50 years.
* A 1974 Time magazine article said "telltale signs are everywhere" of another ice age.
* A 1974 United Press International article said holes in the ozone layer would cause a dramatic increase in skin cancer within the next 12 months and that the earth was "on the verge of a period of great peril to life" because of them.
More recently, the New York Times wrote of "no end in sight" to a 30-year cooling trend in 1978, Gannett News Service in 1988 described the oceans soon rising one to six feet, the Associated Press warned in 1989 of entire nations disappearing by 2000 because of rising seas, The Guardian wrote in 2004 that "Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years" and the Associated Press quoted a NASA scientist in 2008 that the Arctic would be free of summer sea ice in five to 10 years.
Then it got serious.
Former Vice President Al Gore said in 2008 the North polar ice cap would be gone in 10 years, Great Britain's Prince Charles said in 2009 we had "96 months to save [the] world," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in 2009 "we have fewer than fifty days to save our planet from catastrophe" and in 2014 the French foreign minister said we have "500 days to avoid climate chaos."
The U.S. and other countries have a responsibility to themselves and others to make sound environmental decisions. But the predictions in the above mentioned articles either falsely invite panic or cause people not to take any environmentalism seriously. Either way, they're not helpful.