Commentary: In the coming climate crises, denial is the best course of inaction


In the coming climate crises, denial is the best course of inaction.

In Lewis County, millennials and Generation Z youngsters make up only 35% of the population, whereas the Greatest Generation, Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, plus Generation X make up the majority, about 65%.

We Boomers and Gen X have had the best life the United States has had to offer in the second half of the 20th century and going into the 21st. Of course, there have been a few bumps in the road with the Vietnam War, the 1970s oil embargo, economic recessions, inflation, 9/11, the Middle East wars, the Great Recession and, most recently, COVID-19.

Life here in Lewis County and all rural America is somewhat insulated from the broader world. We haven't had as much economic opportunity, and the shrinking of resource-based industry has caused greater economic hardships. The population has adjusted and most of that is now in the rearview mirror as of 2024.

Our modern lives are the result of the industrial revolution of the 1800s and the inventions of alternating current, the telephone, radio, television, the automobile, the airplane, the splitting of the atom, the space rocket, the flushing toilet, the chainsaw, the computer and other inventions, as well as the tremendous advances in medicine and other fields.

The energy for this modern world has been carbon-based fuels pumped up and dug up from the earth where they had been sequestered for eons. The debt incurred by this society for this energy continues to mount in the form of hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses emitted into our atmosphere. It’s now an overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that these emissions are building to climate disaster, with all of its negative consequences, within this century.

Many people here in Lewis County don’t believe this is happening — it’s just another spotted owl conspiracy cooked up by environmentalists and liberals. When it comes to opinions, they more commonly align with political views than scientific research. These frogs will deny there is a fire under their pot and will not be jumping out as the temperature increases gradually over the next decade. 

Considering over half of our population is elderly or approaching elderly, the more dire effects of global warming may not be felt in our remaining lifetimes. If it becomes evident we were wrong, it’s a problem for the millennials and Gen Z people to deal with anyway, just as they will have to deal with the bankrupt Social Security fund and National Treasury, our mountains of garbage and many other problems, while living on the Late Great Planet Earth.

No matter what we believe, world governments, at least in the developed countries, believe it and continue to craft policy, laws and agreements to wean the world off carbon-based fuels, regardless of how long, painful and costly a process that will be.

Of course, the broader world is going to impose hardships on us with fuel taxes and other carrot and stick measures by those liberals in Olympia, the other Washington, and the United Nations. For sure, they will make you drive an electric car and give up your gas lawn mower. A motorhome will be outlawed and dead in your yard growing moss. We may also have to contend with severe weather events as well as massive forest fires and floods, but we will survive that. 

We are in a much better situation than the broader world. Barring nuclear war, we will survive.

Not to worry, Boomers and Gen X, the music continues to play, and the record scratches are only annoying so far. 

So, the best action for us going forward is to continually live in and voice denial and ride this thing out as long as possible, which may be all or much of the remainder of our lives where we care at all. Whatever happens, and whatever the mitigation efforts, technologies and costs imposed on us, we are just along for the ride.


Bill Serrahn has lived in his Packwood “afterlife” for 15 years. He is a Vietnam veteran and former hard rock underground miner. He spent his first afterlife in Seattle as a systems analyst and business application developer. His interest and familiarization with Lewis County government developed during his quest to save Skate Creek Park in Packwood. He can be reached at