Monday, May 22, 2017

No climate deniers in a raging storm

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our teeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurour and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!―
 William Shakespeare, King Lear

Most people tend to think of Climate Change as a slow and gradual climate disruption occurring sometime in the future. Even if that is true, and scientists have overestimated as to when the most dire consequences of this crisis may transpire, you should still consider what it is we are unleashing on our children. (Actually, most evidence seems to be leaning towards the conclusion that Climate Change is happening far more quickly than scientists predicted.)

Anyone who has experienced a major storm must have had at least one moment when they wondered if the great forces that brought life on our planet had suddenly turned and threatened to extinguish it. Few things in our existence can trigger such a profound sense of peril as one’s world being turned upside down by a major storm.

Yet, even though this response is hard-wired (via evolution, of course) and provokes our keenest sense of dread, we seem to quickly forget this terror once it passes and carry on heedless of the future.

When her doctor tells us that the small growth on our child’s brain is malignant, we do not respond by saying, “My daughter looks just fine and besides her cancer treatments would be very expensive.”

But this is how Trump and climate deniers are responding to Climate Change. They toss a snowball into the Senate chambers (supposedly proving it cannot be warming if we can still make snowballs) and rail about how the liberals are trying to take over the country by increasing government to address this ‘hoax’.

Parents often respond immediately to an unseen growth in their child’s brain with denial but quickly come to their senses knowing that every minute counts. We too must get over our disinclination to put off future threats and deal with them on a scale and time frame that will matter.

The melting of the ice and permafrost in the Arctic and the glaciers calving in the Antarctic are an indication of an unstoppable catastrophe unless dealt with immediately, just like a cancer.

That all-shaking thunder of a storm should remind us of that we have the power now to help our children adapt and maybe lessen the consequences of Climate Change.

Time passes.



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