We’re well past the first quarter of the calendar year for 2017, and I’ve pulled back quite significantly on the intentional reading of Climate Change news stories. I realized several weeks back that, once I became familiar with the basics of the Big CC, I only need peruse the headlines and skim through the paragraphs to update myself on what I am now largely familiar with. It is for this reason that I stated some few posts back that 2017 is shaping up to look a lot like 2016. In essence, this same statement can be used over and over again, going back many years sequentially, so that one could say that 1982 looked a lot like 1981, for instance. What do I mean by this, and of what use is it to even bother with such a non-committal, non-useful comment?
Well, I’m limiting the statement to Climate Change only; however, I suspect that it could probably be applied to many other disciplines with equal accuracy, the premise being that, for the most part, big change still happens rather slowly. Even though small changes taking place now are shaping the next moment, the next decade, the next century, they oftentimes do so in ways that can basically be considered imperceptible, at least in the short term. You feel something is different, but you’re not sure what. You know that something has definitely happened, and it’s most assuredly exerting pressure on your circumstances, but you’re just not able to express that change, that pressure, in meaningful, concrete terms.
Back when the Industrial Revolution really got to cooking along, nobody but perhaps a handful of really astute observers would have said that the climate was going to change as a result. It simply did not compute, and still doesn’t for many to this very day. The excitement of the steam engine and its limitless potentials would have drowned out any voices expressing concern over such trivialities. John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius would have been like so many lone voices crying wolf in the wild.
So, the seas rise imperceptibly and no one’s the wiser. Who really notices such things? Most of us only acknowledge that fact…the sea level rise…because it’s what we’re being told to believe. Same with the increase in atmospheric carbon levels, coral reef bleaching, ocean acidification, sea ice decrease, ocean temperature rise, etc.
You name “it,” “it” is mostly imperceptible to someone who never leaves their concrete jungle but for a two week vacation in some other concrete jungle (this one with a water slide and roller coaster in the middle of it to justify the time and money spent getting there, and the term “tourist destination” to make the weary traveler feel better about things).
Recent studies (although this really only requires some good ole common sense) tell us that, just because we say we believe in the things science professes to be true, doesn’t mean that we truly embrace what our mouths say we do. In other words, if we don’t change our world view as a result of what we claim to personally embrace as real, factual, and valid, it’s kind of like a little white rationalized lie we perpetuate on ourselves to get through the day. Like responding on the survey we were asked to participate in that we believe recycling is a good thing for the planet while, back home, we continue to throw all our plastic bags, gallon jugs, and water bottles in the regular garbage. Why? Because it’s such a major hassle to get them to the recycling center.
Up until now, Climate Change hasn’t been dramatic enough to fully proclaim it as the new reality. It is, of course, but we really still don’t quite believe it. The big weather events being the one exception, most people respond with a big yawn when the climatologists present their latest numbers to the public, shocking to those who understand them, next to meaningless to those still in search of a valid reason to care.
And then there’re the cautions, caveats and disclaimers. Such academic trepidation means that the rest of us wonder how much of this is solid science, how much is informed guesswork relying a bit too much on computer modeling, a bit too little on sound field observations (I’m just parroting similar remarks I’ve read in the media here, nothing more).
This approach clearly has not, and will not, serve well the goals I think we’re all collectively after, i.e., saving ourselves from our own misguided ways so that the planet might continue to serve as our home beyond just another generation or two.
It is for these reasons and others that I am no longer pursuing the minutiae involved in every aspect of Climate Change, such as those I used as examples above. That’s a very small sampling of the data points Science is keeping its eye on, and, as I also mentioned, things are trending this year in the same direction they have for several decades prior. After all, one would have to be a fool to think that any of these tracked metrics are going to suddenly reverse themselves in some big time way, or for any significant amount of time. No, 2017 is looking a whole lot like 2016, with just a little more of that imperceptible concern for all those things that will eventually make this planet uninhabitable (or at least extremely uncomfortable) for homo sapiens.
All the items I listed on my blog’s 2016 page will be there with us in 2017. Speaking in generalities, and in no particular order, we can rest assured in confidently predicting that this year will bring us:
- More extreme weather events
- More scrambling for clean reliable water sources (water is scarce on a planet that’s soaking wet with the stuff) (so, more desalination plants, more hydroelectric dams, more subsidence, more salination of ground water, more water wars)
- More coral bleaching
- More sea level rise
- More carbon in the atmosphere
- More record high temperatures
- More flora and fauna extinctions
In short…more crisis. This is what Climate Change represents. This is what we have behind us, and, as it turns out, what we also have in front of us. Does that mean we’re kind of stuck in the middle? Seems to be the case.
Sincere Thanks for stopping by.