05 May 2013

It Just Isn't Going to Work Out

I don't think I've done this before: basing a whole blog post on an image. Usually I write a post and then find a suitable illustration. But when I found this graphic weeks ago, it spoke to me. So I've held onto it, thinking that its day would come. Today is that day.

Here where I live, we are experiencing our first truly warm weather of the year. At a potluck dinner last night with my students and their parents, the kids ate quickly and played out in the front yard all evening. The adults sat out on the back deck and ate slowly, enjoying the warmth and the grown-up conversation.

When I came home, it was still warm out. Not "hot and sultry" warm but warm-enough-to-be-outside-with-just-a-sweater-on warm. (I live on an island in the Salish Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean, and so we rarely get toasty evenings.) It was so warm that I invited my husband to take the dog for a walk in the dark with me. 

I woke up this morning to sunshine and warmth. The sunshine alone is the return of the prodigal son after a long, dark winter away. But to come home with the gift of such balminess! Now I understand why that son's return was so celebrated.

The first thing I did was read an evocative article by Jon Mooallem in The New York Times Sunday Review: A Child's Wild Kingdom. What an enjoyable read! The kind that felt like a conversation, because I was responding as I went, agreeing with this, disagreeing with that, recalling similar or dissimilar experiences or realizations. All that after a sit outside in the warmth of the new day. (I live on an island in the Salish Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean, and so we rarely get warm mornings.)

And just now, to be able to feel confident explaining something here, I waded through a Guardian article, White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral, and the hundreds of comments following it.

So why is today the day that I'm convinced "it won't work out"? 

This kind of warmth in early May frightens me as much as it exhilarates me. I know, I know. I should just enjoy it, revel in it. But ignorance is bliss, and I'm not ignorant.

Last night at the party, we talked about several perpetual energy sources: geothermal, solar concentrating, closed loop steam engines, solar thermal. But these conversations -- and conversions -- are coming too late.

That article I read this morning? It completely skimmed over the fact that children -- that all humans -- are indeed animals. Forgetting (or ignoring) this has been one of the reasons we think we can override natural processes. 

And the article about the White House waking up? Ha! From the article: "In February this year, the US Department of Defense (DoD) released its new Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, which noted that global warming will have:
'... significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to greater competition for more limited and critical life-sustaining resources like food and water.... DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on its facilities, infrastructure, training and testing activities, and military capabilities.'" 

So there it is. The US is finally worried. They're finally "getting" how serious this is. And their response? "On the Arctic, the report highlights the imperative to protect US resource interests by increasing regional military penetration: 
'Melting sea ice in the Arctic may lead to new opportunities for shipping, tourism, and resource exploration, but the increase in human activity may require a significant increase in operational capabilities in the region in order to safeguard lawful trade and travel and to prevent exploitation of new routes for smuggling and trafficking.'" 
So let's not worry about food security and trivial stuff like that. Let's just make sure that the US military is ready to deal with whatever wee problems come up around mass starvation and stuff like that. 

It's not going to work out, folks. So yeah, maybe I should just turn off this old computer and get outside for some sunshine and gardening. Not a bad idea anyway, global warming or no global warming.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?