Wednesday 26 Oct 2016

Unrelated Events?
AJ Robinson

My daughter just put a deposit down on her first apartment. My wife and I are so proud and excited for her. It’s such a big step for her on the journey of her life. Yet, I can’t help but feel a bit of trepidation at this time in her life. The reason is an event that is completely unrelated to this occurrence in that journey.

A portion of the Antarctica ice shelf is collapsing.

Just the other day, I saw a report on this major change to the ice in Antarctica. Scientists say the melting there is taking place much faster than anyone expected. Oh, and yes, it is due to Global Climate Change. Last winter was very severe and, in some places, they’re still dealing with snow that, too, predicted by the climate change theory.

The designation “Global Warming” is kind of a misnomer. Although the overall trend of climate change is to make the world warmer: summers are blistering, springs and falls are shorter and winters are milder, there are other aspects to the theory. With the northern latitudes getting warmer, the polar vortex and other aspects of our weather patterns are pushed south during the winter. As a result, we get some very severe snowstorms.

I wonder how long before we act

Yet, still we have climate deniers, most of who work for the coal and oil industries. Of course, the politicians they own parrot the company line, “There is no evidence that humans cause climate change,” they say. Oh well, at least now they acknowledge that climate change is real. I suppose that’s a first step.

I have to wonder: How long is it going to be before we act? At the rate we’re going, I’d say ten years minimum!

How much more damage will be done to our world in that time? I keep coming back to that other event. My daughter starting the next phase of her life, she’s going out on her own, getting a job and even starting to talk about marriage. She’s planning for her future. I’m wondering what sort of future she’ll have and not in a good way. Where once parents hoped their children would do better than they did, now, what with the very poor economy, we just hope they don’t do worse! As for me, I hope she’ll be able to live a decent life.

The report on the Antarctica ice shelf said its total melting would be devastating for coastal cities. It also said that the melting would take centuries. So we have time to act. And yet, I still wonder. The seas ARE rising – both from ice melting and water expansion due to warming – and many of our richest farmlands are withering in the heat. What will these changes mean for her and her family? Will food prices sharply increase? Will the Atlantic rise seven or eight feet to destroy coastal regions? Where will those displaced people live? Will they live?

My Dad always said
now is the best of times

When I was the age my daughter is now, I was looking forward to the future. I wasn’t one of those people who looked back at the past and called it the “Good Old Days.” My dad was never one to do that.

No, he always said that the current age was the best of times, and that the future was bright with promise. For myself, now, looking back and forward, sort of playing the part of the Roman god Janus, I have to say I actually do long for those good days of old. Back to a time when people could live on the Federal Minimum Wage, the environment wasn’t as endangered as it is now and climate change was something we could still deal with. Today, I’m not so sure.

My daughter is just starting her life. I have to wonder: Will it be a good one?

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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