Right in the centre - Ask the questions


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Many decades of reading, observing and writing has caused me to be very interested in many topics. It has also taught me to question just about everything and I don’t mean in a cynical or nasty way. I just think it’s good to question just about everything you see, read or hear.

Recently, I read an article by a reputable writer about temperature changes. The article was well thought out and well written and showed that temperatures at various weather stations have gone up since 1950. I don’t doubt that is true. What I want to know is where are those weather stations located. If they are located at airports, as they often are, let’s think back to 1950. Take Winnipeg airport for example. In 1950, it was in an open prairie area with few buildings around it. There wasn’t nearly the acres of concrete that are there are now and the number of airplanes was far fewer in number. The planes were mostly single engine planes, some with two engines and a few four engine planes. Jets were rare. Do you see any factors in that description that might be adding to the temperature at Winnipeg airport since 1950. Any claim about temperature increases at Winnipeg airport need to be examined in light of those changes. I know for a fact that the airport was in the middle of a wide expanse of open prairie, not only from looking at old maps and pictures but because my older brothers told me they could run out from their house on the last street on the west side of Winnipeg and play near the airport. Great fun, watching the WWII planes coming and going all day.

Back in my University days (1960s) we were told the world was running out of oil. All the oil that was made by compressed plant life and dinosaurs or whatever would run out. There’s two problems with that story. One is we haven’t run out of oil yet, they are discovering more all the time and who is to say that the earth’s pressure might be still squishing stuff into more oil. Oil shortages may come some day but we certainly haven’t met the targets that people set in the 1960s.

We have also been told that the solution to poverty is more government money. I am sure government has a role to play in battling poverty but I think poverty has a lot to do with attitude. Let it be said, if someone is in a bad situation, they need help, no question. That help needs to come from family when available, community when available, from faith groups whenever possible, lots of places. Poverty is real but it can be beaten, one family at a time.

There’s another problem these days. Food is very expensive. That’s for sure, no question but compared to what? If a person owns two or three homes or goes on unnecessary trips, are they short of money for food or victims of misplaced priorities. Food is still pretty cheap in this country.

And here’s a story that amuses me. People love their junk food, their pets and their entertainment. If you are feeling a bit pinched, are those three things really necessary. You can’t blame the cost of food on junk food, pet food, expensive family holidays and, yes, disposable diapers. There was a day when parents bought or made washable cloth diapers. A bit messy but for those who are truly concerned about landfills, remember that 40 billion disposable diapers end up in the landfill every year.

Then finally, why on earth do we use bottled water? Really, bottled water? In most communities, the water is good enough to drink from the tap. Even if the chlorine level is bit high, let the water sit in a jug for a few hours (that’s what we do) and it will be fine.

These are just some random thoughts on what have become accepted facts that need to be questioned once in a while. Always question things, be nice about it, but ask the questions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in thiscolumn are the writer’s personal views andare not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.