Friday 21 Oct 2016

Tick Tock
AJ Robinson

“Time and tide wait for no man,” so goes the old saying. I was put in mind of that saying because of a recent news item; both because of the meaning of the saying and its reference to water. The news item had to do with Global Warming. I first heard of the theory back when I was in college, and I immediately saw the truth of it. After all, if we put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, naturally, the temperature is going to go up. The one thing I was unsure of was: how much?

I wondered: how would good, old Mother Nature react to this change? As a college kid, I didn’t know all the science behind the theory, and so I wondered if perhaps nature would act to stabilize itself as those gases built up. Would more plants grow and flourish in the C-O-two-enriched atmosphere? I had learned about the ice ages of long ago, and how the earth slowly froze and then thawed, and that it was all perfectly natural. However, these gases were being pumped into the atmosphere by humans, and at very high levels. So, how would the planet react?

Thus we were treated to decades of phony debate and denial about the whole issue. The more I learned about the truth of the science, the more concerned I got. If we humans didn’t do something to ease our impact on the planet’s climate, we were headed for real trouble. The only question was: how soon would we reach a dangerous tipping point? I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime, but such was not the case. It wasn’t that we had a number of severe hurricanes – we go through cycles of such events all the time. It wasn’t that summers were hotter and winters shorter – again, such things are also cyclic. Although, when I saw that summer after summer was getting hotter and hotter – I grew concerned. When the “fire seasons” of the west got longer and longer – California doesn’t have one anymore, it’s just always “fire season” in that state – I got more concerned.

Then, just this year came my own tipping point. I heard about some real extreme temperatures in the Mid-West. Now, the drought and heat wave there have already been severe – farmers have watched their crops shrivel and cattlemen are selling their stock to prevent them starving – but a new wrinkle has been added. There was a report on fish dying in rivers and streams throughout the area. It seems the waters there have gotten so hot that the fish are literally being cooked to death!

It is one thing to say the world is going through a modest fluctuation in temperatures and that it has nothing to do with the actions of humans. However, a river becoming so hot that the fish swimming in it are killed – that’s the proverbial straw that breaks the back of my proverbial camel.

Global Warming is here. We can bury our heads in the (hot) sand and try to ignore it, or we can act. How badly it damages our society is up to us, but the clock is now ticking very fast.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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