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Matt McFarland
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To the Grandkids,

You may never see this message. You may never see anything. You may never exist, and I may be writing to no one.

However, in the case that you see this message, please continue.

When I was a small child, I was first told that the Earth was heating up. I was told that the bus I rode for school was warming the Earth. The bonfires I watched with my parents, the meat I ate at every meal, and the things I threw away were warming the Earth. The scientists were wrong in all their predictions. The Earth had gotten hotter faster than any scientist predicted. My fellow humans and I were living in a situation supposedly worse than a worst case scenario. But I saw no people dying. I saw no summer days where the temperature was 150 degrees. Everything in my life, in fact, seemed to continuously get better with age. That is because everything really did get better with age. My home country, the United States, was growing and becoming a continuously better place to live. I was never living in the worst case scenario described by scientists.

Although this is true, people living off-the-grid on tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean were and are living a worst case scenario. Their land continues to shrink and their food yields decline. Anyone living in a large desert has been and is currently watching the little rainfall they see disappear. Crops have stopped growing in. Animals aren’t even typically as lucky as the previously mentioned humans. Many animals haven’t even been able to live the worst case scenario. They have gone extinct.

When a parent in a family dies, the siblings sometimes fight and create division between each other. When the Earth dies, the situation is not much different. In the United States of America, there currently exist many who deny the specific effects of Earth’s heating. In other countries, similar deniers exist. However, the special case with the USA is that the most powerful man in the country also denies climate change. President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party continue to needlessly fight with the Democratic Party, Green Party, and parts of the Libertarian Party regarding climate change. While the Republican Party is largely steadfast in its denial of climate change, Democrats and other politicians sit on precisely the opposite side of the issue. However, the Republican Party is not the enemy. Ignorance is the enemy. Division is the enemy. And as a proud Republican, I want nothing more than for the United States to unify behind keeping this planet livable. That means destroying ignorance and destroying stigmas.

I am a busy man at the moment. I have time for neither heavy activism nor volunteering. The capitalist system in the USA requires that much of my time be spent making money. I cannot do much for climate change on my own.

What I can do, however, is propose a plan and practice my plan. The first step involves education. Educating people in the United States and around the world would be a time consuming, expensive process. It would involve lecturing, hands-on learning, informal word-of-mouth learning, and cost potentially (in today’s dollars) billions of dollars. While it would be expensive, it would not be as expensive as a major lack of resources for a growing population in the future.

In order to accomplish this part of the plan, I plan to (at first) informally educate as many people as I can about climate change through word-of-mouth. Awareness, in this situation, overlaps heavily with education. Perhaps if I find time, I could formally attempt to educate students, employees and other citizens of my country about the danger of climate change. Every talk that happens would create paths for even more people to be made aware of the dangers of climate change.

Following the increased education of people regarding the dangers of climate change, the second step of the plan would desperately need to be implemented. This step involves destroying the political stigmas around climate change. At the current time, Republicans are largely seen as ‘science-denying barbarians’ who place money over scientific fact, while Democrats are many times seen as ‘tree-hugging globalist Communists’ who would love to see socialism overtake capitalism. Though these descriptions may be extreme, they are increasingly being used as a result of political polarization. In order to destroy the stigmas, the Republican party will need to increasingly flaunt politicians who not only believe climate change, but make climate change an important issue on their agendas. This would resolve a massive portion of many Democrats’ beliefs that Republicans deny science.

Democrats are not completely fault-free, though. In order for Democrats’ ideas concerning climate change to be taken more seriously, many (if not most) will need to be more open to Republicans’ arguments regarding climate change and the economic effects of plans combating climate change. A more generally open Democratic party would be significantly easier to work with regarding climate change public policy than the current one. This can be seen in the current split of the Senate and House of Representatives (the Republicans currently hold majorities in both houses).

My specific role in this portion of the plan comes from being an individual representative of a portion of the Republican Party that is open, ready to work, and living in reality. I will do my best to make it known that I am that Republican. I strive to be the Republican that Democrats won’t hate. If I, many other Republicans, and many Democrats can flaunt their bipartisan tendencies, the general political climate will be much more forgiving towards climate change public policy. If that can also be combined with a generally respectful political attitude, it is likely that the United States can to its part to mitigate climate change.

Your major requirement in this plan, if the plan still needs execution so far in the future, is to be respectful. Be respectful to the Earth, your fellow human beings, the laws currently in place, and yourselves. Do not hurt anyone. Do not hurt the Earth on purpose. Do not create hate towards any specific group. Realize that most situations are the way they are because of past events. Respect alone will not keep the Earth from warming, but it will clear a path to sustainability (and maybe even cooling the Earth).

I love you, and I hope to God my plan works.

Your grandfather

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