We can all make a difference in the world

Jan 19, 2022

In the Bargain Hunter

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Seven years ago this month, I started writing columns for the Bargain Hunter. My very first column was about the chemicals in foods.

For the past seven years I’ve tried to make each column an informative fact-based piece with topics that are important to readers. It often takes several days to get a column ready. I access peer reviewed data and seek out sources and quotes for most of the columns. As a scientist, I deal in facts, not fluff.

During these many years I have had positive feedback from readers and have made many new friends. As much as I have educated my audience, you have educated me.

I remember getting two phone calls from readers about the use of leg-hold traps for bobcats. After investigating, I wrote about the issue and testified at the public hearing in Columbus. The hearing was heavily attended and thankfully the use of these horrendous traps was denied.

As a former teacher, the column became a way for me to educate readers about issues that are very significant in their lives. My students have often told me my knack of simplifying complex scientific topics was my best asset.

I am a nerd, I love science. Sadly, I see our nation becoming less and less science literate, and I worry how the next generation will deal with complex issues that require science literacy.

Some of the many topics discussed during the years include: the value of hemp, the dangers of PFAS (Teflon component), the risks of sun exposure, my trip to see the total eclipse, renewable energy, the benefits of forests, organic farming, and the health benefits of berries.

I have tackled other topics, some local and some national, many that involve legislation. I find the lack of public participation in the political realm of our nation disturbing. By discussing some of these laws, especially those targeting science-related topics, I hoped to encourage more public participation.

I’ve been an environmentalist most of my life. From the time I first read “Silent Spring” and saw the Cuyahoga River catch fire, I knew this was my path in life.

I make no apologies for my columns. I continue to believe the climate crisis is the most crucial issue of our lives. Afterall, it we don’t have a livable planet what does it matter if we have a designer handbag or a new SUV?

But the human race is good at lying. We lie to ourselves that humans aren’t the problem. We lie to ourselves that we don’t really need to change our unsustainable lifestyles to save the planet. We lie to ourselves that technology will save us. We lie to ourselves that we’d do anything for our kids; anything except address the climate crisis. And of course, our media lies to us all by omission.

Avoiding the topic of climate change will not make the carbon dioxide levels drop. However, an email statement forwarded to me this week, written by senior management of the Bargain Hunter said, “Our management and advertising partners would like to see our publications avoid politics (especially state/national), environmental commentary, abortion, and other hot topics – which in the end doesn’t translate well to Randi’s typical content.”

In essence, the very topic that is by far the most important in the history of the planet, the topic that we can no longer afford to ignore, is now to be “avoided.” Why is climate change a disturbing topic for the “management and advertising”?

I am not a fan of censorship, so sadly this will be my last column. I will continue to speak truth to power on other platforms of social media. I will miss the opportunity to reach out to my readers and share the research on these timely topics.

Remember, we can all make a difference in the world, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”