The Democratic Presidential town halls on “the climate crisis” broadcast last night on CNN were seven hours long. There was an additional about hour and a half of commentary by the anchors, blathering their opinions about what was said and how they said it; about meaning and, as with everything else on the news, chipped away at until it is little more than a game of who won. My own commentary (hopefully a little different in tone, but every bit as judgmental, probably) will appear sometime this weekend. I mean, I have a life outside of this after all. I’m married. I have children. They just returned to school this week. Time is rather short right now. And watching the repetition of people trying to be as serious as possible no matter how seriously we might take them is something of a chore. I recorded the whole damn thing. I have, presently, gotten through three and I’ve taken plenty of notes. I suspect my notebook might be entirely filled by the time I get through Cory Booker at the end and the wrap up. So please, forgive me. How many of you watched eight hours of the same thing being said over and over again in subtly different ways?
With that in mind, please enjoy a previous piece I wrote about climate change back at the beginning of the summer. I give you “Some Further Comments About the Weather”:
I have written numerous pieces here throughout the past year on the increasingly disruptive weather we are experiencing all over the world. There are plenty of images I could display articulating this point, from grids and charts displaying statistics on the changes through the years, most especially in recent times. We can look at before and after comparisons of ice caps, or view the endless parades of flood and fire, hurricanes and tornados. These are frightening events, increasing almost daily, that it seems people see in one or two extreme ways: as apocalypse or fabrication, seeking to distract the world through fear, covering up the serious things, denying “what’s really going on.”
In response to the latter I give you this:
Avoiding the rants of doomsayers, does this not look like a version of how human civilization might actually end?
There are those that write things like this off as an anomaly, and I suppose examples so extreme are not yet part our everyday world. But the fact remains that extreme weather events have been on a drastic rise, the rapidly advancing dark clouds and the sudden withdrawal of air from densely humid clouds, eventually causing the sky to literally crack open with angry-godlike bolts of lightning and the sort of thunder that causes every dog in town to shriek in horror:
So for those of you talking up the ideas about the many extinction events in earth’s past, I could say that you are telling the truth. Yes, ice ages and drastic changes in climate have been, in fact, a genuine reality in the history of the planet. And yet it is impossible to dispute that our advanced civilization has sped the process up into something none of us are looking forward too:
We are experiencing this too:
These are just a few examples, the narrative progression one of the many ways we can get from an Edenesque paradise into the thick, murky bog we dab at our foreheads and wipe burning sweat out of our eyes while huffing and puffing to endure. I want you to think about how much more often it has rained, how chronologically off every season seems to be, either too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry, and the wind is harder and more piercing, and the trees are falling and power is being knocked out and we feel increasingly desperate and alone, hording our supplies, polishing our guns. We are defending ourselves again Armageddon even if we do not believe in such a thing.
It will not come from zombies, nor even nuclear devastation (although that, too, could help speed the process along). Robots might make the world more dangerous, but they are still mostly under our command. It is the weather–the weather! It is that very thing we discuss with one another when we have nothing else to say. “Nice day outside, isn’t it?” or “Did you hear that storm last night?” or “The power is still out,” or “the power is still out,” or “the power is still out,” or tales of home owner’s insurance and just missed storms and “those poor people” and “at least it wasn’t me.” This is the earth we now live on, and regardless of whether you believe that we have contributed to it with the drastic advancement of technology over the past 200 years, much faster and far more extreme than at any other time in the planet’s history, or maybe that some god-like entity is engineering the change out of anger, or even that the endless rotations and cycles of mother earth provide these circumstances every few million years or so (historically it has been about every 30 million years, give or take), regardless of what you think, it does not change the fact that it is happening. It is our reckoning. What do you want to do about it?