by Bob Massaro for Napa Valley Life Magazine
One of the more critically acclaimed shows on cable television is AMC’s “Mad Men.” It follows the lives and times of the people in a fictional Madison Avenue advertising firm circa 1960. The writers and producers have worked hard to depict life in the early 60’s, down to the clothes, sets, cars, and interestingly enough, how women were treated in the workplace. But the one thing that jumps out at the viewer is that in “Mad Men” everybody smokes. All the time, everywhere, in restaurants, in elevators, in offices, at the dinner table… there is no place off limits. Even pregnant women smoke in “Mad Men.”
Looking back now 50 years from 1960 we now know how inappropriate, and more importantly, how dangerous this type of behavior was to everyone’s health.
I can’t help but draw the parallels between how smoking was viewed in the 1960’s, and how we here in America view global warming and climate change. By the time 2060 roles around, 50 years from now, those of us living will look back at the 1990s and early 2000s and think…. “didn’t they know how bad global warming was for them; why didn’t they work sooner and harder to stop it.”
Somewhere in recent times there was a turning point for smoking. People started to hear the statistics, and made the connection to shortened lives and smoking. Regulations were put in place and people’s behavior changed. Today if someone lights up a cigarette in an elevator or restaurant he or she would be met with consternation and criticism and quickly someone would make the smoker stop. You have all heard the statistics and the forecasts about global warming. Rising sea levels, droughts, lost species, lost micro‐climates (including the wine-growing regions of Northern California), and a general loss of the quality of life, as we know it today.