Sunday, July 01, 2012

Still don't believe in global warming?

Let's see. In the last week, the U.S. has experienced: an early-season tropical storm with severe flooding; raging wildfires; a crippling heat wave; and a lethal wave of thunderstorms accompanied by highly destructive winds. "Well, it's summer," you say. OK. But we had basically a non-winter last year on the east coast, and now we have the summer from hell. Hmmm ...

My husband recently attended his college reunion, in Middlebury, Vermont. While he was there , he passed up a talk by Bill McKibben, Middlebury College's writer in residence, who has done more than any other single individual (I think) to get out the word about global warming. J. doesn't often do things that make me squawk, but this did.

"You can't be serious!" I squawked. "You passed up Bill McKibben to play tennis?" I was flabbergasted. "Who does that?"

Let me explain. I used to write a book review for the newsletter in a former parish. In this capacity, I read McKibben's The End of Nature, which was my real introduction to the climate change phenomenon, and which kept me up nights. So I wrote several paragraphs about the book, and when the parish newsletter came out I eagerly anticipated a run on the bookstores. Not because of me, but because I had tried to fully convey the alarm I felt upon reading the book, which made the point that nature, in the late twentieth century, no longer functioned independently of man, so badly had humans encroached upon it.

What happened? Nothing. In response to my review, there was a crashing silence. A torrent of non-sound. Not a peep. Someone did mention to me that I was a good writer, and he enjoyed my book reviews. He suggested that some mysteries might be a nice choice.

Stunned, I simply went underground, becoming a closet climate geek. During the same period, I was also becoming a theology geek. I have now reached a level of geekdom in which the theology books and the climate science books cohabit on the "theology" shelf in my study, and I really can't tell the difference anymore. Yes, I am crazed about climate change. There may be a twelve-step program for this, but I have yet to seek it out. In fact ... no.

Recently, in the post-non-winter blahs, I read Eaarth (not a typo, despite the best attempts of spellcheck to fix it), which McKibben published a year or two ago. The premise of this book is that we have so changed the face of the earth and the functioning of her natural systems that we need to find a new name for the planet. If we don't reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, we are basically screwed. In fact, we may be screwed already. The earth we are living on is no longer Earth.  It is Eaarth.

Well, if I was nuts before, you can just imagine how I am now. And I think, though I've been wrong before, that perhaps I'm not the only person I know who is taking the warnings seriously, and voting accordingly.

But don't believe me, because I'm just the local theology/climate change geek. Check it out here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe-that China is showing the 3rd world the way forward.