I try to remember what it was that got me so lathered up about the weather. As a longtime resident of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast region, most of my days in any given year consist of lots of sun, lots of recreational water to play in and on, and lots of congestion, caused by an overabundance of tourists and new arrivals who want their little piece of what I get to enjoy 365 days a year. Beyond the idea of too many bumpers weighing down the town’s infrastructure, however, I can’t think of anything that raises my blood pressure or my hackles too much. Nothing is wedged in my craw very deeply. Life is good. Life has always been good. Life will always be…incredible.
But something has fundamentally changed, and it had to have been a story on a newsfeed or a video on YouTube that was somehow just enough to get me exploring, trying to understand the dizzying array of numbers and facts and data that are now part of an accumulated wealth of concern and alarm that live in my head.
I insist that I won’t become a worrier, and I’m a pretty light-hearted guy most of the time, asking you to go about your day, while I go about mine, with neither of us trying to sway the other to a different way of thinking. I disagree with a whole lot of what goes on in the world now, locally, nationally, internationally. But I can’t help but think that the world is on a path that it has chosen for itself, logically or otherwise, and there’s not much we can do to turn things around, at least not quickly, cleanly, or easily, and we’ll certainly not reach a consensus on anything, big or small.
So what’s the point, you might ask, in someone taking the time to write about all these things that concern me greatly? After all, there must be thousands of others doing quite the same as me. The scientists keep this ball rolling all the time now, driving a surly and unpredictable convoy of Climate Change events. They put out the warning of the day, confident that the rest of us will digest and transform those words into activism, policy, angst, drama, money…blogs.
If I could clap my hands and take my life back to a time when I didn’t have this gray cloud of uneasiness hanging off my shoulders, I certainly would. Pull out all of that excess carbon from the atmosphere so the world could cool off a bit (by the way, the story last week was that the Arctic is 36 degrees hotter than normal for this time of year…if that’s not worth concern, I can’t imagine what is). Let the coral reefs “unbleach,” let the ice “unmelt” itself into the quantities we used to have, let the oceans “unacidify,” let the glaciers “unretreat,” let the sea levels “unrise.” Of course, what we realize now is that, in order to go back to such halcyon days, we’d have to turn back the clock a couple hundred years, back to before the Industrial Revolution ever started. Back to before our discoveries of coal and oil and natural gas. This would be because we now know that it was just about that time we started throwing right off the tracks all the natural indicators that lend balance to the world we precariously inhabit.
On this blog, I see that I’ve already gone down a burdensome laundry list of Climate Change woes at least a handful of times already. There are literally dozens of elements that make up the big CC, and most of us don’t understand how interconnected the planet truly is. If we stop to think about it, however, it makes perfect sense. After all, Earth is spherical. If you sail far enough westerly, you’ll come right back to where you started, approaching from an easterly direction, dropping anchor in the very same port you left out of. So…what goes around will simply circle back behind us if we give it long enough to do so, right? What we put up into the atmosphere is going to have consequences. What we dump off into the oceans eventually bubbles its way back up to the top. What we thought we’d adequately buried deep in the ground will soon be found sunning itself at the surface again.
There’s no way around it…with respect to Mother Nature, we get what we give. Now we are reaping the rewards of our “efforts.” We’re getting spanked real hard, and there’s more punishment to come. It will be interesting to see how the climate shapes up in the years ahead, since more than a few very smart scientists have told us that we have very likely passed, or soon will, some critical tipping points, markers in the map that Mama Nature lets us know about, only (she chuckles) as we’re sailing on past them and it’s kind of too late to address them once they have made themselves known.
I’ll do my part to keep you posted as we close in on the end of another year, hotter than any previous year on record, and with much more of the same to come.
In the meantime, guard your backside and Happy Thanksgiving!