Happy Earth Day, Now Change

A recurrent debate that a particular subsection of the science fiction community regularly engages in attempts to answer the resolve “how will the world end?” I write a good deal of climate science fiction and consequently I have my preferences. On balance, sure, there are plenty of potential dangers to all of humanity. The rise of an incurable super bug or a sucker punch from a big space snowcone would get the job done, but most of these things are only possibilities. Possibilities that are fleetingly unlikely.

The death of a food network and major niche

The death of a food network and uncountable niches

Climate change is a sure thing. There is no probably about it. It is the face-off of the epoch: Mike Tyson on horse stimulants versus Paul Reubens with his hands tied behind his back. We don’t even get the luxury of being represented by Bruce Lee (who might have been able to keep up for a while) or Chuck Norris (who would provide us a false sense of confidence until that moment when he is hypothetically crushed). Consequently — given the near universal failure of the world’s conservation movements to change anyone’s behavior and the perfect prediction/realization record of climate science over a similar period of time — I’d say we’re good and royally fucked.
Welcome to the world you created ladies and gentlemen. The temperature record (direct measurement) begins around 1880. It’s 2016 now. In 136 years of measurements, we’ve documented the unintentional manufacture of a mass extinction event caused by a species farting itself to death.

“On this earth day, we watch climate change progressing as predicted by scientists for decades. Meanwhile, the US, the largest economy on earth, has no leadership on this issue and we continue to vote for politicians who deny the validity of basic science.” — Clay Arango

I don’t want to sound flippant or impertinent, I’m just as much responsible for this sad state of affairs as anyone else, but I woke up this morning and looked out over the water toward the volcano and noticed the brown streak of smog that had already formed from all that human activity flying along the I-5 corridor. I felt helpless and completely useless. I felt the smallness of my vote and my voice and my being against the magnitude of the universe. I hugged my youngest child because clinging to those we love is what we do when faced with our impending mortality. It is all we can do if we’re lucky, I wonder how much comfort it brings in our last moments. I’m realistic enough to realize that it may not be much comfort, if any at all, so I hug him tighter.

Volcanic casts of a family in Pompeii

Dear readers, I’d like to offer you some morsel of hope. I’d like to suggest that if we all just agreed that there was a problem we’d be able to figure a way out or around this mess. It somehow seems important to me to remind you that we can’t have nice things –Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité — if we burn down the stage where these things will be enacted. And then I acknowledge how powerless I feel to affect even minor changes, motivated by my own self-interests, in my own life. Je désolé pour tout le mal que je t’ai fait.


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