Sunday, August 12, 2012

When Hope Dries Up

For my wife's birthday, I really wanted to fix global warming. It's been bugging us both a lot, this bit of science that points us at a place in the not too distant future in which our planet will be unable to sustain life. It really sucks every last bit of fun out of a birthday celebration. Trust me on this.
And so we have some choices: We can ignore it, as we often do when we get busy being worried about topics like crime in the street, public education, and the sequel to "The Hunger Games." As it turns out, this is no solution, and we just end up feeling worse because all that time we were fussing about Katniss and Peeta we could have been lowering our carbon emission levels. Then we go out and try to limit our carbon emission levels and we become overwhelmed by the math, but quietly smug about our tiny accomplishments. Presently, there is no scientific evidence that connects pride with greenhouse gasses, but the folks at South Park would like us to believe there is. I can only assume that Matt and Trey buy carbon offsets to deal with the havoc each episode they produce plays with the environment.
Instead, we have been staying home, watching our Energy Star compliant television, wishing that they were handing out gold medals for sustainability. Instead, we have been treated to NBC's promo for their new fall show, "Revolution." It tells the story of how some cataclysmic event causes all energy sources on our planet to disappear. The story picks up fifteen years after that moment, and lets us all know how brave humans strive to overcome their vine-covered world, and the nastiness that ensues when we lose all our coal and oil and Gatorade. The image that stuck with me was the one of a moss and vine covered Wrigley Field. Apparently it will be another hundred years or so before the Cubs win a World Series. It is nice to know, by contrast, that after fifteen years without lawnmowers or refinery fires that nature will begin its cleansing process. According to Wall*E, this should take at least seven hundred years, but since it's all science fiction, it probably doesn't matter much.
But we can keep talking about it, because that's something we can do.

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