Nearly 90º Fahrenheit and stiflingly humid, we get a another reminder of climate change as summer nears its end.
It’s interesting that so many people work to adjust the environment they find themselves in so they can be more comfortable rather than change themselves to be with the environment they’re in. I suppose “Be Here Now” is not always easy when extremes of weather create massive ice storms, years of drought, monsoon rains or scorching temperatures. I confess — I am one of the lucky ones – sitting now in an air conditioned café to create this post.
The Long Emergency, James Kunstler’s manifesto on the coming catastrophic changes, suggests that as far as the USA is concerned, I’ve chosen a good place to live. Certainly the different types of extreme natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, droughts, etc.) already emerging in North America are statistically less common in New England than in any other region. That didn’t seem so true when our small town was visited by an F-5 tornado 25 years ago, or massive flooding and snow storms caused by Super Storm Sandy created a major disaster in the Northeast states. Our own backyard was ground zero.
But who among really take action steps to reduce the impact of global warming? Environmentalist David Suzuki mused, “We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing where they’re going to sit.” Now we hear a new cast of characters on the campaign trail share their own perspectives. But the rhetoric of nearly all politicians, scripted mostly by corporate lobbyists, does little to slow down the car let alone turn it around. Recycling or riding a bike seems fruitless when economies on the other side of the globe erode the ozone faster than our own coal burning plants only hundreds of miles away from home.
And anyway, who’s got time to protest when the next episodes of Downton Abbey loom so soon in our future?
Some days I fantasize about what I‘ll be saying to my sons when I reach my seventies…..
“Hey guys, do you remember when everyone was so concerned about the weather, all those earthquakes and disasters, how incredibly hot those summers were, and how much snow we had each winter? And how about those days when society seemed so polarized between the haves and the have-nots! And do you all remember those nights when inner city streets were full of crowds protesting unchecked police brutality and the killing of so many young African Americans? Do you remember when politicians were not really representative of their constituencies but were all controlled by their donors? And all that talk about nuclear weapons — boy, I’m sure glad those days are over, right?”
But no – I cannot really expect to say anything of the kind. We are living in times of trouble — one could easily argue times that are as dangerous as any we’ve lived through — and so it is increasingly hard to just “Let It Be.” Though I’m not giving up, I do intend to do my part to be heard, to do what I can to relieve the suffering of all sentient beings, contributing where I can to make life a bit more livable while remaining open to change and the opinions of others who do no harm.
Challenges all, and I’m ready for them.