Life is very weird. All the things I grew to despise about the small farming town I grew up in, I now embrace and enjoy. The closeness and familiarity of everyone in the community so suffocating to me as a teenager feels warm and comforting to me as an adult. But much has changed there just like it has in most small towns and that change has not been for the better. Fewer people, fewer businesses and fewer resources, have made the rural midwest sparse and shabby. The people that remain are for the most part tied to the land somehow, either by profession or by heritage, are honest, hard working and real.

I was back last weekend celebrating a family milestone. It was a great weekend for me, I got to attend one of my favorite bike races and catch up with family and friends. I was sitting at a picnic table in the driveway of my mother-in-law’s house with some men from the community. A couple of farmers, a former farmer who had moved to town and my-brother-in-law. We talked about anything and everything; relatives, neighbors, crops, weather, all the usuals.

I’ve thought several times since that conversation about one topic we discussed, wind generators. They’re everywhere now but had kept their distance from my home town until recently. Generators are being installed around the farm my in-laws used to occupy and close to the farm of two of the men in our little group. It’s not what they said that’s had me thinking. They were generally against them from aesthetic reasons. The also worried about the long-term damage to the farm ground and sub-soil (all that concrete poured for the tower’s base). They thought the contracts were heavily weighted in favor of the generator’s owner and we all speculated about what would happen when the generator’s life-span was over and they were abandoned. One person wondered why, if they were good enough for rural America, they weren’t good enough to be put up in the cities.

Although we didn’t identify it at that moment, what we were really talking about was the impact of climate change. Those wind generators wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for our negative impact on the climate. This little rural village in the middle of the ag belt, as far away from the coast as you can get, is feeling the effects of climate change and based on the opinions of the people I talked to, they don’t like. It makes me thing of what’s ahead for all of us.

Change is coming for the entire planet and just like the changes that my little home town has gone through, I don’t think they will be for the better. I read one estimate predicting the homes of 5 million Americans will be under water by the end of this century. When I add it all up, massive debt, polarized government, rising health cost, deteriorating infrastructure, climate change cost, global wealth gap, my usually optimistic self is not very optimistic. I believe we’re headed into a correction, a time of sacrifice and change which will cause more fracturing and disruption. Change is challenging for everyone. Giving things up and making real sacrifice is nearly impossible.

Something to think about. I suggest prying your fingers from around your entitlement mentality, brace yourself and most importantly, ride a bike.

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