Friday, July 6, 2012

One Hundred Eleven

Are any of the rest of you freaked out by the number 111 when it comes to naming a temperature?  Michael Palmer of The Weather Channel says that temperatures in the Northeast are going to be 5 to 15 degrees above normal again today.  The summer numbers have been going up steadily for the past five or six years.   I remember thinking that that heat would be difficult to bear if I still lived there.  Then another summer, I remember thinking that it was strange that it happened two years in a row.  Now, it seems to be happening one year after the next.

Climate is changing.  Who gives a shit if the politicians agree about who caused this.  It's hot out there.  I watched Al Gore's movie.  It seems pretty obvious to me.  It's a closed system, folks.  You can't triple one number without getting a reaction somewhere else. 

But let's leave the political argument out of this for a bit.  Let's say you don't agree that our lifestyles have caused this.  What are we going to do when the temperatures reach 120 degrees?  130?  150? Will that change our lifestyles or will we continue to hunker down in our air conditioned huts, going to the grocery store in the morning, wishing away the summer?  It's happening - summer for many people across the country has become what it used to be for people in Arizona. 

These changes call for action, yet I don't hear anything in the news except a lamentation.  Trees can draw in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.  Why can't we figure out how to do that?  Why aren't we working on this problem with more of our resources?

If global warming is left to continue, life is going to continue, you know.  Sure, it will get hot.  Many species will die out, including, possibly, ours.  Oh, we'll try to migrate to cooler areas, but many of those areas have wickedly cold temperatures in the winter.  It's going to be 75 degrees in Fairbanks, Alaska today.  I like being able to check the weather anywhere in the world on The Weather Channel.  I wonder if they're site is popping with activity these days.  I could imagine people in that 111 degree weather are checking it multiple times a day in hopes that the numbers will start to come down.  Michael Palmer will be very popular on the first day he announces an 80 degree day in Chicago. 

So, just what is going to happen with all this climate change?  The face of the continents will change.  Will deserts arise from the extreme temperatures?  I've already heard that the zones have changed across the United States. The plant species in those changed areas will have to change.  The animals too.  Will plant species have time to migrate north?  Animals will.  Will we? 

So, it's going to look different, the United States.  Will it make the Sahara look small?  Will Canada accept the bid for entry for a few million immigrants?  It's going to be 75 degrees in Mexico City today.   Will they allow us to come through?  There would be some irony in that, wouldn't there?  Just saying.  What will people do when their air conditioners fail? 

Can you see the movie that they would make of this?  It's a stunner.  One small band of people, from, say, Chicago, will travel by foot through 125 degree heat to Dauphin, Manitoba.  Yes, I did have to look that town up. Sorry.  They'll walk during the night because the days are too hot to manage.  Someone will die because their small party can't support everyone, but don't worry, it'll be the mean guy, the one who was willing to leave a child behind.  Wildfires will rage around them.  During the day, they'll sleep in the shade of trees whose leaves have already fallen prey to the heat.  They'll battle the border guards, struggle to carry enough water.  They'll arrive just as the temperatures drop in time for the fall, bedraggled, followed by a few million of their closest friends.  The next installation of the movie will have to be how they get through the winter with all the new people in the area choking resources, but it will never be made due to budget constraints.  Society will have begun to break down by then.

So what can we do to stop this terrible movie from being made?  Hunkering down in our air conditioning isn't going to help.  Neither is the jaunt I need to take to the grocery store this morning for one essential thing.  What will it take to make us change our lifestyles?  Catastrophe.  I'm sorry, but that's the gist of it.  We don't want to change.  It's pretty cosy in our big houses with our televisions and our refrigerators running 24 hours a day.  We like being able to pick up packages of food from a shelf.  It's quite a bit easier than going out for a hunt two or three times a week and picking different bits of grass to eat out of our yards.  We like driving comfortable cars to jobs where we move paper around before throwing it out, writing stuff that other people will never read, gathering at meetings to find ways to comply to what the FAA asks for so we can keep those airplanes in the air so we can visit the family in the Midwest this summer. 

If these numbers, the 111s and the 108s, continue to rise, we're going to have to face the truth that something will have to change.  Will we be able to change with it, invent inorganic trees that take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen?  Will we be buying them at our grocery stores and placing them in our yards like pink flamingos, garden gnomes and yellow ribbons?  Will they work?

Time will tell, my friend.  Only time will tell.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment