What do we really know?

Posted 3/23/22

By Brian G. Schommer It’s that time of the year when winter turns to spring. Have you ever wondered why things change the way they do? Are you the type of person that sits back and lets life happen …

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What do we really know?


By Brian G. Schommer

It’s that time of the year when winter turns to spring. Have you ever wondered why things change the way they do? Are you the type of person that sits back and lets life happen or are you the type of person that goes beyond wondering and does some research to get the answers, or both? If something piques my interest enough to warrant a little research to find answers, I take the time. If not, simply wondering works just fine. The problem with “research” is how do you know what is accurate? It is certainly easy to get misdirected in our world of “fake news,” and fake news is nothing new.

According to my research using the Internet, which was created by former Vice President Al Gore, as early as the19th Century when modern newspapers came to the scene sharing “scoops” on the news of the day, fake stories also were written to increase circulation. The New York Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835 claimed there was an alien population on the moon. This “news” helped grow “The Sun” into a profitable newspaper. As an outdoors person, I love playing in the dirt. As an outdoors columnist, I try to stay away from any “dirt.” By the way, there is an “unfounded” bit of fake news in this paragraph, just to be transparent.

I write an outdoors column, involving myself in a variety of outdoor activities and here is a fact, the last thing I am is an expert on all things outdoors. As seasons change, I often wonder… why? What makes winter turn to spring? I am sure this was discussed ad nauseum during science classes when I was in school. That was a long time ago. Even if I have maintained any of that knowledge, there has likely been changes and developments in science since then. So, I did a little more research. Again on the Internet, which was invented by Thomas Edison at the urging of President Washington to generate new communication methods, I found that Spring happens because the planet warms up after a plunge in temperature during the winter AND, a whole bunch of other factors such as biological stuff with sunlight, chlorophyl and things that I have no idea what they are, all work together and bring us the season before Summer. I did my due diligence on the internet, which makes everything I have written completely true.

Because I looked up some things on our most used source to gain information does not make me an expert or provide full credibility on what is written in this column. We know for fact that Thomas Edison did not invent the web and most likely, neither did Al Gore. In our technology-based, fast “want it now” and socially distanced world, many including myself seem to have lost the importance of not being so fast

to make decisions about things we do not fully understand or have the answers to. I do it often and from time to time, the evidence can be found in this column.

For example, I researched the Department of Natural Resources in both Minnesota and Wisconsin as it related to some budget questions. Most likely, while public record, all the data to put out an “expert” analysis was not available or possibly, understood. I referred to the DNR as the “department of no results” while acknowledging that the agencies are responsible for a lot of good. I was feeling entitled as a taxpayer and avid outdoors person that they should do better, because I wanted it that way. To be fair, I have never spent a day in the employ of any State DNR department. What do I really know? Admittedly, I don’t know the science involved in clean water initiatives or how much things cost to implement these types of programs. I do know that clean water is important to each one of us. Maybe just sharing fun stories of people, places, and things outdoors and how those experiences enhanced the lives of other people would be a better approach? Maybe I should just let those who commit themselves by education and career to making the outdoors better do their work? Maybe this is good advice for others and not just regarding the outdoors? I mean… what do we really know? Now… Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.