I’ve always loved the op-ed page, mostly because I never believed in a point of view that was unchangeable. Call me a wishy-washy flip-flopper if you will, but those with calcified opinions just never seemed all that interesting to talk to, and I’ve always hoped to be — if nothing else — a reasonably interesting person myself.
One opinion piece that has always stuck with me was written by The New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman, where he wondered “if we can have a serious discussion about the climate-energy issue anymore,” what with the factions so clearly dug into their own trenches. In the piece, Friedman argued for switching from the term “global warming” to “global weirding” to explain how we can have some of the coldest, wettest weather in certain places without contradicting the fact that climate change is real. I loved that language and kept it in my pocket for every time I encountered a fallacious argument that hung purely on an unfortunate turn of phrase. Poorly coined terms should be no excuse for ignorance, in my opinion.
When I looked up Friedman’s column again in preparation for this issue of Chicago Agent, I was shocked to find it to be almost exactly 10 years old. A decade has gone by, and today we have a president who’s repeatedly referred to climate change as both a hoax and “fake news.”
In Chicago, we know better, and we’re starting to do better. Midwesterners are practical people at heart, and though we haven’t always been the best stewards of the environment, we know the difference between stormy weather and a tweetstorm. I’m excited to see what local policymakers, developers, builders and brokers are doing to help clean up our little corner of the planet, and I hope ten years from now the story will have changed for the better.
In the meantime, consider my inbox to be your op-ed page. Whether it’s on environmentalism or the coinage of new phrases to meet the next decade, please do send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.