I’m thinking about Climate Change pretty much all the time now. “Oh, how tragic…” you say, “…he must be miserable with worry. Poor thing.” Ha, well I doubt that’s what you’d really say, but it would be very far from the truth, nevertheless (and if you are stopping by my blog frequently, maybe you need to check your own compulsions, as well…while you keep stopping by, of course).
No, I think about the big CC so much because it’s like I’ve returned to college and every course I’m taking is full of useful information that I can actually employ in my everyday life. I’m experiencing an addiction, but in a good way.
Lifelong Learning has always been a big draw for me, and this is the mother lode. I discover so many new and interesting things each day (not all of them encouraging, by any stretch), each one inspiring me to look further, peer deeper, ponder more and wonder. I’d like to think that this is what education could feel like for every kid in school. Maybe we should suggest a Climate Change curriculum. The kids’ minds would travel all around the world and then some, dipping into every nook and cranny imaginable. It would be so useful in countless numbers of ways, and the benefits would just roll on and on. (It would also be so bloated with political angst that it would never get off the ground).
Today, while I was walking around the parking lot where I work (I get my steps in whenever, and wherever), this is how my mind demonstrated to its owner that something has thrown the CC switch up there): I registered the notable differences in temperature based on relatively small differences in my surroundings (brain started thinking about feedback loops). Where I passed in the shade, I felt comfortable and refreshed, whereas exposure to the sun made me yearn for that shade again (brain started remembering an article about heat thresholds and the human body and how some places on the planet are bumping up against those thresholds in the summer). Where I was around vegetation, there was a cool freshness all about, whereas the parts where I was on the open blacktop made me yearn for both the shade and the vegetation (brain began thinking about how the plants transpire, taking in what we are using to slowly kill off our chances for continued habitation on the planet, breathing out what we need for our very next breath).
Given what I know now about Climate Change and how so many factors affect so many others, what I was most impressed by was the heat radiating off the wall of the building I would pass close to each time I rounded one particular corner. The color of the building isn’t particularly dark, so I decided that the stucco was partly to blame, as well. The warmth was fairly intense, with the accumulated heat from hours in direct sunlight blasting me strongly enough to remind me of mid-July temperatures. That threw open the gate for all kinds of wandering about in the gray matter.
I won’t even say that I made that many direct connections to the big picture based on what I experienced on a very local level. Just curiosities, musings, questions that I didn’t expect to answer but was still happy to pose, anyway. What I realized is that a genuine shift in the way I perceive everything around me now is occurring. What I think about most persistently from day to day and week to week, is how we are so intricately intertwined with what is happening on our planet. We’re not above it or beyond it just because we live in a house that feels very insulated from what is happening “out there.” I see a tree and I think of the rainforest. I look out at the water now and realize how much trouble the ocean’s corals are in. I see the highway being widened (not metaphorically, but literally, a project that’s been going on where I live for close to a decade I imagine) and I think of the massive amounts of carbon being put into the air to make that all happen…
- Hundreds of piles of discarded trees, sometimes burning for days on end
- Hundreds of big machines digging and leveling, usually for years on end if the new stretch of blacktop or concrete is substantial (this one is).
- Those miles and miles of fresh asphalt, made from barrels and barrels of oil extracted from the ground, all so carefully prepared so that we can burn…
- Millions and millions of barrels more as we roll blissfully down the highway of life. Sounds downright poetic were it not so inextricably symptomatic of this blog’s very purpose.
(Here’s a statistic from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to chew on…in 2015, the U.S. all by itself burned a whopping 9.16 million barrels of gasoline each day).
I used to think of a new highway as representing progress, jobs, infrastructure, stability, strength. Still do, I suppose, and I sure don’t begrudge the working man or woman their livelihoods. We all have to eat. I’m only saying that along with the economic side of the equation, I now see the toll we’re going to be asked to pay from here on out.
No, seriously, I’m not miserable, so please don’t perceive me in that light. I’m intrigued. I’m amazed. I’m stunned. Sometimes I’m amused by the absurdity of it all. But I’m not miserable. That is a mantle for somebody else to take on. For me, I’m one of the sinners, but trying to be a little less so every day. As a sinner, however, as a part of the problem, I’m asking myself now how I can become a bigger part of the solution, as well.
In the meantime, I can say without hesitation that, moving forward, I’m a changed person, now that I know what I do about the big CC. This is even bigger than the paradigm shift I went through when I read Rifkin’s Entropy nearly a quarter century ago. We’ll talk about that in the not so distant future, since it all neatly ties in, and almost too well.
Sincere Thanks for stopping by!
“Hope is the feeling that what is desired is possible of attainment. This book is about hope: the hope that comes from shattering false illusions and replacing them with new truths.
To a civilization nurtured on the modernist notion of a future without physical constraints and a world without material boundaries, the truths of the Entropy Law will at first appear sobering, even somber. That is because this law defines the ultimate physical boundaries within which we are constrained to act.
If we continue to ignore the truth of the Entropy Law and its role in defining the broad context in which our physical world unfolds, then we shall do so at the risk of our own extinction.”
Jeremy Rifkin (Entropy) – Sounding the alarm nearly 40 years ago.