Another late and unfocused post, and I apologize for the rambling. The last few days have been a little rough with regard to new knowledge gained about various aspects of Climate Change. The big CC is shifty and wily, crafty and unpredictable. We already knew all that. But to what degree continues to open our eyes wider and wider. The news seems to be a constant reflection of that, and it seems to be coming in at a more brisk pace. I think the newly elected president may have something to do with these copious amounts of climate-related copy.
The information that particularly caught my attention over the last few days involved what the climatologists call tipping points, and how CC might just blow on past one, or two, or more without blatantly broadcasting the event in some fashion to those among the species incredibly interested in understanding what may have just happened. This, especially given the idea that the thing that just happened perhaps also just put us past yet one more “point of no return.”
One analogy that made me chuckle a bit was brought up by some big name professor type working at a university whose name I didn’t register. He made reference to the idea of trying to balance chairs on just two legs and how the tipping point, forward or backward, was razor thin. This reminded me of a pastime I indulged in frequently as a teenager in my mom’s own kitchen. I’d balance each chair around our big white table on just its two hind legs. I don’t know why I was always so impressed with myself whenever I accomplished this feat, but there was nobody else in my family who even attempted it, which made the visual aspect doubly pleasing in my mind.
The idea that I could grab the same chair, delicately, in the same exact place, using the same exact grip, the same finesse, the same muscles, the same everything (or so I would think), only to discover that there was only one combination…only one…of all those variables in tandem, that would make that darn chair balance itself beautifully on just two of its four legs. It might take 25 tries. It might take a hundred. But eventually the thing would respond, awarding me with a defiance of physics (or an affirmation of it, I would think). It was like me and that chair shared something fleeting and special between us, and I suppose it was, if only in the most trivial sort of way. It would stay in that same elegant pose as long as nobody stomped a foot, or came through the doorway too fast, or turned around too close. That’s all it would take to lose that moment that was only gained by trying again…and again, to make it just so.
I wonder if Mother Earth tried to make herself “just so” for us human creatures. And I also wonder if we’ve come through the doorway too fast. Before we happened onto the planet, the earth was in an elegant pose already, or at least I think we can safely assume so. She still is, although, to our eyes, some of the postures she strikes now are alarming, threatening to do us grave harm, and, if we personify her enough, we could almost conclude that she’s trying to shake herself free of us, her most annoying and disruptive little fleas. Our existence on this planet, after all, has been precarious from those very first days in the cave, and then beyond it.
Most of us have little scientific grounding to inform us of this most tenuous of situations, not to mention the fuel we have added to the fire with our ceaseless heat-inducing activities. Civilization is costly. We were supposed to maintain symbiosis. For a while now, we’ve only been parasitic.
We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow residing outside of, or above, or beyond, the natural world around us, as though what we do or don’t do has no real effect on the activities and on the biological activities that take place beyond the borders of our techno-cities.
Climatologists have a different take on this perspective, of course, warning us again and again about the dangers involved as we continue down the same reckless path we always have, believing that our oceans and our atmosphere are endless open sewers for all the entropy we care to dump into them. They are so convenient, one has to admit.
Country folk who have lived in the woods for generations use the back tree line to dispose of their household garbage. I worked at a garbage company many years ago. We were setting up county-wide disposal services for some very rural areas. It was the first time these folks were being told they would have to pay to get rid of their household garbage. They called our company by the hundreds, informing us customer service types in rather undignified language that we’d better not send a bill, because they weren’t going to pay. “…and don’t set no toter cart by my house, neither, ‘cause we didn’t ask for it, and we aint gonna use it.” And so it went. Some of them threatened bodily harm if the garbage man came around trying to dump their cart. More than a few actually took the provided cart and used it for personal use, like a repository for used antifreeze or motor oil.
Same mindset still abounds. Same types of scenarios play out thousands and thousands of times on the planet each day, on local, regional, and global scales. Somebody’s dumping something somewhere they’re not supposed to right this very minute. It’s quite likely they won’t get caught. But the planet notices. It always notices.
For these reasons, I don’t drink the water that comes from my well. Ground water isn’t safe. Neither is the water anywhere in the world without some type of filtration system imposed on it. And I can safely assume that, even though the FDA has deemed the food I eat as safe, there’s a whole helluva lot of stuff I’m ingesting that nobody’s going to monitor for me, nor the ill effects I’ve no doubt it has on my own little biome. We, the people, the businesses, the cities, the nations, the heat engine that sustains homo sapiens in this comfortable little bubble we call civilization have now racked up enough entropy that it’s having a severe impact on the very environment we depend on to keep us alive.
But it’s 2017, and it feels terribly similar to 2016, and 2015, and 2014. I think it’s pretty much just more of the same. We’re trying hard, just not hard enough. Look who we just elected into office. Look who he’s filling his cabinet with. Mama Earth must think we simply don’t care enough. That’s why she’s letting those tipping points slip on past, not telling a soul about them, especially not her fleas.
Sincere thanks for stopping by!