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Some new things personal, local and beyond
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Each of us has things to wrestle with day after day: Pleasant, unpleasant, routine, extraordinary. One of my "things" this week is learning to use a new computer. It's not the newest model, but newer than my old 2003 Windows XP, and I'm adjusting.

Of course, I've confessed on numerous occasions that I am almost electronically illiterate, and, of course, Rick patiently demonstrated what I really need to know and will answer my questions as they occur.

But because I don't spend a great deal of time with the machine, I don't know yet what all my questions are. I'm sure they will come.

It is difficult for an old "plugger" to move gracefully into a new millennium.

For one thing, some of us never dreamed that we would have so many things to which we must adjust. We didn't expect the changes to be so rapid and sometimes so difficult to acknowledge.

But we may need to admit that we could -- even should-- have seen some of them coming.

Climate change, for example.

Most of my readers know that I'm an environmentalist and have been since my days of working with the Environmental Education Program in Atlanta during the l970s.

We were learning, and teaching, about problems with solid waste disposal, polluted air and water, food shortages in areas of over-population, carbon emissions and the ozone layer, dangers in destroying ecosystems and many other environmental concerns.

Much progress has been made.

We no longer have dumps with landfills leaching into groundwater or burning acres of garbage polluting the air.

We have learned to recycle many products and to produce more that is biodegradable and recyclable. We work at cleaning up toxic waste and other pollutants in waterways and try to prevent such waste getting into the systems at all.

We try to replace fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources with more renewable resources.

But we have found that many forces of nature move faster than we can cope with them or can change our habits or standards of living or expectations of having and using more.

For instance, the water cycle doesn't renew California's supply fast enough to grow the crops upon which so many of us depend, serve a growing population, fight forest fires in areas where people chose to live.

In short, like us elder citizens, the world must realize that we can't always cling to our old comfortable ways -- to the beliefs that our comfort, even luxury, is something that must be indulged and that making more money is not always the criteria for important actions.

We may have to face present facts, learn how to cope and what needs to be changed before we are overcome or become obsolete.

Although we often must be dragged, kicking and screaming in protest, into admitting that regulations are necessary, even if they deny us some of the creature comforts which we love and demand. We are facing more of those admissions as we consider the Clean Power Plan authored by the EPA -- and it is not an easy time.

Here in Dawson County we have also faced and continue to face multiple changes. Some of those have been documented in the Historical Society's new book, "Dawson County, Georgia: A History."

I am so happy that it is already selling well, and I hope that many of you will drop by the reception and book-signing on Aug. 26. It will be at the Government Center (new courthouse), 4th floor, at 2 p.m.

And if you don't yet have the book, you can get one there.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.