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By Bill Diem

For me, here on vacation at last, I am reveling in the cool mornings and warm days. I liked the thunderstorm; it reminded me of many past thunderstorms I have enjoyed here. Lots of family started our vacation, and there was camp to open after being shut for two years, and the limitations of internet keep me in real life far more often here than in France.

But I catch enough news to know that the American west is burning, and part of Northern Europe was flooded with a 1,000-year flood, and I know in my heart that we Homo sapiens are causing our planet Earth to change.

We know that we are responsible for climate change, and some people are doing some things to slow it down, but we really have a long way to go, and it will be painful.

I went into The Store in Curtis the other day to buy 24 small plastic bottles of good water. Mostly we collect drinking water from the artesian well in the Portage Township Park on the Big Lake, but when we go on a boat ride or trout fishing, it is handy to carry a little bottle.

The store owner said, “They may be banning these single use plastic bottles.”

“They probably should,” I said, “but they are handy.”

“This is what they ship to people in disaster zones,” he said.

There I am. Taking advantage of a system that isn’t sustainable because it is useful for me.

My sister was here for a couple of weeks, and she was a master recycler, returning her returnables, and packing recyclable unreturnable cans to take home to Cleveland, where they can be recycled.

She and her son, John, saved clean cardboard and No. 1 and 2 plastics for the Curtis recycling center, which is open on weekends.

I am not as good, although I want to be. For me to do a better job of protecting the planet, I need to be required to do it. If those one-use plastic bottles are banned, it won’t change my life. I will have a refillable bottle, I suppose.

If gasoline powered cars are banned, as they may be in Europe, I will figure out how to live with an electric vehicle.

To protect our planet, I need more than my own good intentions. I need authorities to make me toe the line.

The 160 or more who died in floods in Germany and Belgium paid the highest price for the convenience of our global population using energy whenever it can. The houses and croplands burning in the West add to the economic loss humankind is suffering from climate change.

Living here in this beautiful summer, I mustn’t forget to be thankful for my good fortune. And I must encourage our leaders to make my life more difficult by making rules to save the Earth.