Personally, I think I was a pretty happy kid. Most things went okay in my world and there were certainly no major upsets. When I was around twelve or so I was doing just fine in school. I rode my bicycle from daylight to sunset most summer days and I loved to read. Comic books, history books, science books and a wide variety of subjects were piled up by my bed and I was often reading three or four books at a time. I switched back and forth and in between I looked at newspapers and magazines. It was fun for me, but therein was a problem. Sometimes I read things that were disturbing, especially in newspapers. There were the garden-variety crimes and disasters, but those weren’t the ones that scared me. One article I remember talked about how the Earth was getting cooler. Fast. It talked about how our use of spray cans was shielding the ground from sunrays. As I remember it, we were being cut off from the warmth of the sun and at the same time, scientists said that the sun was actually burning out. I had visions of the world getting colder every year as we struggled to stay warm. We would use up all the fuel just to survive, and eventually the country would be covered in ice year-round. Now I didn’t like being cold in the winter and this was far worse since even our warmest days would be below zero. I was truly scared. The ‘scientists’ were very convincing, and the newspaper wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true — would they? The idea of the whole world freezing over before my twenty fifth birthday was terrifying to a twelve year-old.
That was the early 1970s. Seems to me nothing more was said about the subject for a while. It gradually faded out in my memory as summers were still hot and the sun still rose every day. I went on through grade school and into high school, and the war in Vietnam was constantly on the news. We all watched the helicopters and the soldiers and the terrible scenes of war. We had neighbors and many had family who were there, and unfortunately may families lost sons, fathers, uncles and other loved ones who died. That scared me, too, as the years went on and I got closer to being ‘of age’. I remember being nervous that I may have to go halfway around the world and be in those war scenes myself. It still wasn’t as frightening as the giant ice ball, though. My young mind reasoned that at least with a weapon in hand you had a fighting chance to survive — but no one can survive if the world turns into an ever plunging deep freeze. Before I turned eighteen, the war was over — but I still remember walking into the post office and registering for the draft. At least for the time being, I felt relatively safe.
The ‘ecology’ movement came and went. There were posters and commercials and articles written. Our own garbage was going to kill us. It probably is, but it is progressing slower than the ‘experts’ would have us believe. We would have nothing to eat or drink within the decade. Seemed that every few years, there was another scare incident; another boogie man to wipe us out.
I guess global warming really got going in recent years. We would kill all human life quickly if we didn’t do what they say. I just looked up the lowest temperature in recorded history for my home state of Illinois. It was 38 below zero in Mt. Carroll near Chicago. Was it during the imminent ice ball crisis? Nah, it was January 31, 2019.
I guess it comes back to something I read way back when, with all those books piled up by my bed. I’m really not sure if it was from Mark Twain or someone else, but it sums up how I feel now about all those worries. And truer words could not be spoken. “I’ve had a lot of troubles in my day, most of which never happened.”