THIS month will likely end up as one of the three warmest Septembers on record.

Climate change is the culprit.

Right now, it is snowing in the high mountains of Glacier National Park.

Oh, well, that is normal for this time of year.

Any weather event the least bit out of the ordinary is used by activists as evidence that the climate is changing dramatically. Any normal events are simply ignored.

Climate change made the news almost every day this week, with old and young protesting in Washington, New York and other cities. Getting the greatest attention was 16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s impassioned and angry speech before the United Nations during that international body’s Climate Action Summit.

Thunberg declared unequivocally that we are in the beginning stages of Earth’s sixth mass extinction. With all due respect for the young Swedish activist, that is taking things a bit too far.

Our climate is changing, but then our climate has always been changing. The Earth has gone through warm periods and ice ages for hundreds of millions of years and every one of those changes occurred without man’s help.

From 1350 to 1860—a period of about 500 years—we experienced the effects of the Little Ice Age, with average temperatures falling worldwide. Man did not bring on this climate phenomenon, nor did he reverse it.

Scientists, who now say we’re on the edge of oblivion, still don’t know the exact cause of the Little Ice Age. A change in the intensity of the sun is presented as the most logical explanation, but even that is not a certainty.

Nor are we 100 percent certain what caused four of the previous mass extinctions. The fifth and most recent, the one that killed the dinosaurs, we are sure about because we have located the crater where a huge meteorite fell and started a fire that burned much of the planet.

Man may well be playing a part in the climate change taking place now, but then again, his role may be less significant that activists assert. A century from now, scientists may be comparing our current climate change phobia with physicians in the 19th century using leeches to cure diseases.

In the late 1980s, it was predicted that the polar icecaps would be melted by 2000. That still hasn’t happened. In the 1990s, I read one prediction that said Miami would be underwater in 20 years. I visited there in March and it wasn’t.

At the same time, there were predictions that there would be more hurricanes because of global warming. There haven’t been. The average annual number remains steady.

But if humans are causing the climate to change, what are we willing to do about it? Thunberg obviously flew to New York in a jet plane that uses oil and produces carbon emissions when she could have paddled across the Atlantic in a canoe to lower her carbon footprint.

Almost all the other people who took part in all the other climate change protests across the country arrived at their appointed spots in some kind of motorized vehicle (some who lived close make have walked or rode bicycles). The vast majority were not willing to give up that convenience for the environment’s sake.

In our area, people who scream about climate change on the one hand turn out at public meetings to try and prevent solar farms, which produce no carbon, from being built.

If people are the problem, the simple solution is to eliminate people. Anyone want to volunteer?

We could pass laws to restrict the birth rate, as happened in China. Make it illegal for a couple or a single mother to have more than one child or only allow so many babies to be born each year in any given locality. Put birth control drugs in the water. Anyone in favor of that?

If we do indeed stand on the precipice of a sixth mass distinction, as Thunberg declared, then we need to start making dramatic changes. But before we make such harsh decisions to save humanity, we’d better make darn sure that humanity really is on the brink of extinction and that we’re the cause.

People may well cause the next mass extinction, but if it does happen, it’s more likely to be brought about by atomic weapons, not vehicle exhaust.

And that scenario is overdue. When I was a child, doomsday prophets said we would all be dead from nuclear war by now.

What happened to that prediction?

Donnie Johnston:

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