I was never a climate skeptic before but there came a moment in my life when I did become one. The last time I didn’t like the climate was in a faraway country that had very bad air quality as it had too much lead in it.
Being a new in country soldier I had to adjust to the heat, humidity and dense forest. I had to traverse muddy streams and filthy rice paddies but that wasn’t as bad as the air I breathed.
Some say we are experiencing a climate change. I say we have been enduring climate changes for decades now as there is lead in the air no matter where you go. I got my first lesson on climate change in 1967.
My drill sergeant, my in-country training officers and my fellow comrades who shared much of my feeling there was too much lead in the air with common eagerness. We were so certain it was a reality as it flew about our head and shoulders often and even making its way down to the knees and feet if not careful.
Many times without a warning and not knowing what direction it was coming from caused us to do more ducking that fighting. The lessons learned were enlightening. I wasn’t much of a climate expert but I took a special interest in learning more about the pressing issues like this flying lead over my head. I didn’t have the answers but I was beginning to know how to avoid being too close to it.
Fighting a war is a science. A science a new soldier rarely understands. I looked and searched for answers and immediately realized I had no chance of understanding the science. I was in good company. I doubt if many around me understood it either.
Whenever the lead began to get too thick in the air and calls for a medic were hectic and rampant, my attention got stronger. My ability to protect others was compromised and the only solution to this dilemma was to stay low and not draw any fire. There was lead coming from the enemy and there was lead flying of our own.
This pollution of air was man-made that was for certain. It was man-made emissions coming from all sides. What accounts for combat was lead in the air and smoke and fire right behind it. However, the smoke and fire wasn’t as bad as the lead that filled the air and polluted our ability to breathe as we ducked for cover to live and fight another day.
Who would dispute this climate change when the air was filled with lead? How could argue such a deliberate conclusion and indisputable proof that man-made lead bullets and bullets were plentiful in war contaminating the air. I certainly didn’t dispute it. I was just trying to understand it.
Every time I heard a click, a bang, a whistle go by my head I knew it was lead. I became an expert in climate change as I could tell when the lead was not in the air, the air was easier to breathe. It was that simple.