The sky is falling, cried Chicken Little

I heard it first from my brother back in 1947, "The sun is dying," he said. "It will burn out in less than 70 years." 
I usually deferred to his superior knowledge, but that statement sounded a little farfetched. I screwed up my eyes and glanced fleetingly at the orb in question. It looked okay to me, and I could still feel its heat on my back. "What are you talking about?"
"I read it in a science magazine," he explained. "Scientist’s have measured the mass of the sun and computed how long it will take to completely burn up. We don’t have much time left before it cools and we freeze to death."
For a few months I worried about the death of the sun, but eventually decided to forget all about it; my distress wouldn’t help avert a catastrophe. Years later, I read the rest of the story concerning that strange scientific projection. The experts had not understood the atomic nature of the sun’s fire and had made their faulty prediction based on the rules of normal combustion. Scientists do make mistakes.
Back in 1959 many authorities predicted the world would soon die in an atomic war.
That year Anna and I and our two kids headed to a college in Saskatchewan. We would change my profession and our address and living conditions, but that didn’t seem such a big deal at the time in light of world conditions. The Americans and the Russians had enough atomic weapons aimed at each other to destroy three or four worlds. 
As we dragged our reluctant house trailer across the prairies, we looked up and saw the vapour trail of an airliner crossing the continent. Then looking southward we saw another vapour trail approaching. It rushed toward the airliner, passed very near and then returned southward. A military jet from a U.S. air base had just made another practice intercept using a civilian aircraft as a target. During the trip we saw many similar sorties. It took little imagination to picture real attacks occurring directly overhead with Soviet bombers streaking down from the north.
After our arrival, the college president told us of the school’s plans to install bomb shelters to give us security from atomic fallout. They didn’t build shelters, but the concern of the college administration and the skittishness of the U.S. Air Force illustrated the fear of the times. We, like so many other little people, continued our education, added to our family, and organized our lives under the umbrella of fear – the potential of atomic war. Most of us breathed a huge sigh of relief when the cold war ended. It seemed we had held our breath for 40 years.
Back in the 1990s we began to hear about another danger involving the sun, but this time we didn’t envision freezing in the dark. The experts expected us to burn from the sun’s rays due to the depletion of the ozone layer. Ultraviolet rays attacking us directly would damage our skin and promote skin cancer.
Today the concern about cancer has blossomed into a fear that global warming will destroy everything we know. The most strident voices warn us that we have passed the point of no return, that we have only 50 years left. 
What am I going to do about it? I’ll take the warnings seriously and do everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint. I’ll encourage governments to become greener. But I won’t let it spoil the rest of my life by living in a perpetual state of worry. I’ve already done enough of that.

Ray Wiseman