I smoked cigarettes as a teenager. I didn’t think I was stupid. After all, many of my friends smoked, including my own father.
That was during a time when there was no proof that smoking was bad for ones health. I remember the lush magazine advertisements touting not only the pleasures of smoking tobacco, but also how the industry provided jobs for thousands of workers.
Yes, I was ignorant. But I was not stupid.
During that time, we also learned how we were destroying the ozone by releasing fluorocarbons into the atmosphere. We learned to at least pause before purchasing a can of hair spray. On a larger scale, we learned that all carbon-based molecules from cars and factories could be changing our climate.
Yes, we were ignorant. But we never had solid evidence. We were not stupid.
Today, it is easy to understand how our human activity is trapping our suns heat and warming our earth. But what is only four degrees, you may say? The answer would mean the end of us.
The tobacco industry made immense profits. It is understandable why there was never an urgent study on its harm. Today the world revolves from the burning of fossil fuels. Similarity, why would the CEO’s of these institutions rush to research any possible harm?
I do not want to be on the wrong side of science. If our government and leaders of companies that sell and burn fossil fuels do not take responsibility for the devastation that is peeking just under our horizon, they will be considered guilty of the crime against humanity.
We can no longer claim ignorance, but if we continue along our path without change, we must claim stupidity.
For starters, we must redirect our government to not only have firm roots in the Paris Climate Accord, but to also embrace the ingenuity of our nation to be leaders in this urgent global cause.
By the way, there is no such thing as “clean” coal.
And no, cigarettes are not simply annoying to ones health. They will kill you.