When I was a little girl growing up in Texas, we roller skated up and down our street in Fort Worth, played hide and go seek and kick the can. We climbed trees, enjoyed swings in a park on the grounds of the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum just a block from our house on Watonga Street and climbed on the great comedian’s statue as he sat astride his horse.
Those days are preserved in a photo of me, my sisters and playmates on Will’s statue taken by a newspaper photographer who happened to be in the park one day. It ended up in Life Magazine on January 23, 1950, as the Picture of the Week.
The freedom children like us enjoyed in the late 1940s and early 1950s lives in memory. But a time may be coming when kids can’t play outside every day of the week like we did, even if they wanted to turn off their cell phones and computers, for a time.
Global warming is changing our world with temperatures that regularly soar above 100 over the U.S., wildfires that sear large drought-stricken sections of the nation, the drought in Texas, record breaking floods, a violent high end EF4 tornado that demolished an entire Oklahoma town and F5 hurricanes with winds over 156 miles an hour. Before 1924, no F5 hurricanes were officially recorded.
Scientists say that global warming could easily get worse and it could be coming even faster. So it may be too late to bring the old days back.
It’s a fact the oil, gas and coal industries have denied for 62 years. Had those companies phased out fossil fuels and used green energy instead to make money, global warming could have been averted, or reversed to some extent.
This year, those companies’ executives appeared before Congress and denied they’d ignored warnings about global warming and also denied they’d spent millions to discredit the science that proved it was happening.
But they knew the truth in 1959. That’s easy to find. Just google “how the oil industry lied about global warming.” Ten stories will pop up - NBC News, the BBC, Scientific American, Harvard University, The Washington Post, The New York Times and greenbiz.com.
Benjamin Franta, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Stanford University, reported on greenbiz.com that he found the transcript of a 1959 petroleum conference held at Columbia University. It was in a museum in Delaware. It included a speech by Edward Teller, a scientist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb. Teller warned:
“Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide…its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect….” Teller said that effect would melt ice caps and raise sea levels so “all the coastal cities would be covered.”
Given the weather disasters in 2021, it’s clear just how drastic the overall effect could become. If it’s ignored, maybe there’ll be “no more green, green grass at home” before the planet gets the death penalty like the man in that famous 1967 country music song.
Jodie Sinclair is an award-winning writer who holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and resides in Bandera, Texas.