While I was in the waiting room of my son’s dentist, waiting for all four of his wisdom teeth to be yanked, I read a beyond-grim article in Rolling Stone on how Australia is becoming the first casualty of Global Warming. The article pictured a baked kangaroo who had been caught in a fire storm caused by the drought affecting a large part of the country, even as other parts of it are being drenched by flooding rains. Most depressing to me and anyone who has ever known the rapture of floating over one of the Pacific’s technicolor coral reefs was the news that these will all be gone — bleached to death — by 2050.
The article concluded with a quote from some scientist who said that Australia was basically supplying the climatogological rope to hang itself with by selling zillions of tons of dirty burning coal to China, which that country will use to stoke its furnaces and send zillions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the air which is THE main cause of Global Warming — which some say, if eliminated, would eliminate the problem.
And we won’t stop burning dirty coal…..why? Oh, well, you see, China and India won’t do that until their economies catch up to the U.S. And the U.S. won’t do it because that would kill jobs. And better to kill every living thing on earth in the long run than lose a few jobs in the short term. Makes sense, right?
Yeah, I know, I can talk, at least I have a job.
With the failure of the latest environmental summit down in South Africa, and the semi flop of the latest Eurozone talks, it becomes more and more apparent that the fate of the planet hinges on whether the nations of the world can sacrifice their short term interest in favor of the greater good of survival.
So far, the answer is a resounding NO!!!!!!!!!
I don’t know why, but I can think better when I am outside of the U.S.A. Perhaps it’s the weight of all those stupid ideas concocted inside the Beltway of Washington D.C., crushing my creativity and channeling all my energy into shouting at the T.V.
Anyway, here it is: Let’s rule from below. Rather than rail at our elected representatives, let’s form “social networks” of like-minded individuals — around the environment, science, education, health, whatever — and begin to rebuild our societies along more sensible, sustainable lines. We can act in ways — perfectly legal, not even any “civil disobedience” involved — that reshape our world in a way that, on our deathbeds, we can say something to our children other than “I’m sorry”.
An example would be the environment. We shouldn’t waste anymore time trying to convince the Oil Companies and the Tea Party that Global Warming, if not addressed, is going to asfixiate us all. Instead, we simply form “social networks” of everyone who believes in Global Warming and ask the foremost scientists to tell us what we, on the individual level, can do to mitigate it. They will need to give us both the individual impact (assumed to be minimal) and the “roll up” (potentially astronimical), and then a regular report on the progress we are making. If nothing else, think how empowered we will feel!
I have come, reluctantly, to this solution, because what was once “The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” (per US) has become “The World’s Most Dysfunctional Body”, incapable of collaborating even if we were under an attack from the planet Mars. Imagine Boehner: “This is great! We can blame Obama!” Imagine Obama: “Really? Can they legally do that?”
Moments before I took the picture above, I informed my daughter’s mini Daschund that her parents were engaged to be wed in November. We’re working through it.
Washington sleeps under a carpet of pollen. It coats the windshields of our cars. It sticks to our clothes and to our animals. If we sleep with the windows open — to turn off the gas and electric bills for those brief days in the fall and spring when we don’t need either the heat or the AC — we awake to what Fitzgerald called “that foul dust that preys on the wake of men’s dreams” covering our sheets.
Spring has grown ever shorter these days, some say due to Global Warming, but this year it came and went not in the course of months, weeks, or even days, but hours. It was exactly two hours long. Sunday the temperature was in the 50s, and yesterday it was in the 80s. Spring happened sometime between midnight and 3 a.m., when it was replaced by summer. The weather is said to be confusing the hell out of the plants and animals, who don’t know when to bloom or mate.
Meanwhile, down in Cote Ivoire, Gbagbo has finally surrendered. Three tyrants down, four more to go. In Yemen, the rebels are saying Saleh is going to face prosecution for killing his protesters.
You have to wonder: don’t these guys see it coming? They must have a lot of dough socked away in the UK or Geneva or Dubai — why don’t they just book while the booking is good? Do they really want to end up like Sadaam, swinging at the end of a rope, Texas style?
They say he was so heavy, or the drop was so far, that his head came off.
Often I am traveling and miss the great spring event in Washington, the Cherry Blossom Moment, but this time, thanks in part to Global Warming which delivered an unprecedented long winter (I know, it makes no sense, but that’s science for you), this time I was here to witness the splendor of my own personal Tidal Basin Cherry Blossom tree in full bloom, given to me by a grateful real estate agent when we bought the place 18 years ago.
“See the tree how big it’s grown
First time that I planted it
Was just a twig”
Say what you will about the Baby Boomers — we destroyed the economy (guilty), we mortgaged our children’s future (guilty), we are going to live too long and constitute a burden on our children (guiltyagain, I hope) — but what you cannot accuse us of is failing to produce some of the most risible, grating pop music in recorded history. Case in point is the above excerpt from “Sunny, I miss you”, a song which, psychological testing has proven, needs only to be listened to once and it sticks in your head like fly paper. It goes on:
“She wrecked the car
And she was sad
And so afraid
That I’d be mad
But what the heck?”
Iambic pentameter it ain’t. Can you stand another?
“And honey, I miss you
and I’m bein’ good
and I’d love to be with you
if only I could.”
Driving to work past Embassy Row on Mass Ave, you can see the demonstrators outside the Libyan Embassy, and a spanking new Ivory Coast Embassy, with an impressive iron elephant outside. Seems that Mr. Gbagbo (sounds like a character out of Lord of the Rings) remains reluctant to step down and honor the Will of the People. The African Union was not helpful, to say the least. Then Mr. G overstepped and took potshots at the UN, which appears prepared to blast him out of power.
Meanwhile, back in Tripoli, Muammar ponders his future.
It’s spring, and as Fitzgerald put it, I have a familiar feeling of life starting all over again.