This isn’t a trick . It’s a genuine question based on a few premises with which you have to agree before we can begin:
1 – Climate change is real, based on science and facts. It isn’t a glitch in nature and if we ignore it, it won’t go away.
2 – We used to call it “global warming” – but obviously there’s quite a bit more to it.
3 – You are sure it is going to affect you … but exactly how?
4 – You are not a conspiracy theorist. You do not believe that climate change comes from an angry God or some weird technology.
5 – You’d like to know what you should be doing about climate change — and you are pretty sure that recycling bottles is probably not the ultimate answer.
These are questions for which I don’t have an answer. I have always believed that we were doing serious damage to the earth, even before it was officially proven. I thought it was pretty obvious. We still have pollution resulting from things we did in European river valleys a thousand years ago and these days, we simply make it worse. Even when we are trying to make it better.
The thing is, I know I had no idea what all of this meant on a personal level. I understood about rising sea levels. I got that part of the equation. I understood the increasing and probably endless loss of species — such as all of our large land mammals and probably all or most of our carnivores.
There will be no wolves, no tigers, lions, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffe. Whales will be gone. Slowly but surely because we are polluting the oceans and I don’t know if there is a way back from the mess we have made.
The air will become more polluted and we will never figure out what to do with our radioactive wastes. We haven’t even figured out what to do with the filthy, polluted soil in this valley or for that matter, the Rhine valley or along the Yangtze or Ganges.
Storms will be bigger, encompassing the size of entire oceans eventually. Right now, we have storms in North America so big they go literally from coast to coast. Super storms. Super tornadoes. We will have droughts and floods in sequence. Fires and mud slides in between and let’s not forget the occasional earthquake, just for fun.
It rained 30 inches in Hawaii over the past 24 hours and another monster storm is on the way. The concept of “monster storms” never crossed my mind.
Slowly rising sea water is pretty much what I saw in my head. I never imagined it would all be happening at the same time — and so fast. I thought it would take a lot longer for the water to rise. That the oceans would slowly edge up over the coasts. The rivers would rise and we’d have flooding.
Snow? Maybe we’d have less with rising temperatures … but I didn’t think we’d have storm after storm with warm weather in between so it would fall, then melt, then fall again, and melt again. I didn’t expect the bizarre alterations of seasons, either.
What did you imagine would happen? Did you imagine the mudslides in California? Or the fires? Or the floods in Puerto Rico and Texas? And now in Kauai?
What did we think was going to happen? What do we think is going to happen next year and the year after? It won’t be nothing, that’s for sure. Something will happen and we will be in the middle of it. In the end, there will be few places left to hide.
I don’t think my imagination moved me much past a flooded basement. I never considered we might have an entirely flooded valley … or maybe a state under water. Or even finding myself turning up the thermostat in the middle of April.
Since the season is almost here, I implore you to not kill your early blooming dandelions. This is the food the bees need to keep alive until the rest of the flowers and plants bloom. Remember the bees because without them, we are dead, so skip that lovely Scott’s lawn for now. Let’s try and preserve life on earth rather than the nicest lawn in the suburbs.