I had an encounter with a fellow hiker this year wen I was completing my hike of the Pacific Crest Trail; the 2,667 mile footpath from Mexico to Canada through the Pacific states. We got off to a rocky start because I (as I’m prone to do) made comments regarding land management agency policy that was negatively skewed against the Republican party. I make no apologies for that but I discovered that one of my fellow hikers was a Republican.

He expressed an interest in attending the Forestry program at Oregon State University. It’s a fine program on resource management but I mentioned that the head of the program is a climate change denier. That’s when I discovered that we had dissimilar interests. I should have known better after he told me he was from Junction City; a small farming community in central Oregon that specializes in growing grass seed.

Now, I no longer try to debate this issue of climate change because 1.) it’s time consuming to undo 20 years of listening to the conservative AM talk radio shows your parents listened to and 2.) Where do you begin? It’s a complex issue. There are tons of misconceptions out there about people who are concerned about abuse of the environment. For example, the one about how we treehuggers are going to get rich off of regulating pollutants. Yeah, that’s a moneymaker. There’s the misconception that limiting capitalism is beneficial. Hunh? Then there’s the whole science is wrong argument. How do you refute that? It’s a total flat Earth argument that has been disproved yet people still feel the need to cling to.

I might have spent energy making a fool of this guy except for one thing. He was a Marine that served in Afghanistan. Regardless of what I think about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan this guy went and got shot at by people who don’t like us. I owe him respect above any other consideration. I hope he attends college and asks the questions we were discussing because that is the crucible of knowledge where it needs to be brought up.

I’ve already reached my conclusions about global climate change. I did so based on evidence. I hope he gets the same opportunity. But in the meantime, all I can say is…OOHRAH. Semper Fi my climate denier friend.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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