Prophets of Doom

For a couple of years, I checked climate change blogs every day – until it all became too much to bear. I wasn’t afraid of the future the data were pointing towards. I just became tired of “climate has always changed” butting heads with “but not as quickly as this”. I guess I don’t like conflict much.

Cognitive dissonance can be comforting and it won’t trouble folk on one side of the divide that the pace of “global warming” appears to be quickening. It seems only five minutes ago that Guy McPherson was giving humankind just thirty years to live. Recently he told viewers of a TV station in New Zealand that we have, collectively, only eight years to complete our bucket lists. The “news” freaked the program host into shooting his mouth off at the messenger. The good doctor has heard it all before and took the rudeness on the chin.

Guy McPherson doesn’t make stuff up. Rather, he reads the scientific papers and passes on their conclusions in a form that most people may be able to understand.

There has been a magic figure for a while now – that we can’t afford to allow the average global temperature to rise more than 2ºC above “pre-industrial”, (the middle of the 18th century). It is arguable that we are about to blow through this figure and race to 10 degrees by 2016.  This is the current reckoning by the scientists who contribute to the Arctic News blog, edited by ‘Sam Carana’.

When this information reached the “Kremlin-sponsored” media company RT it was received calmly and passed to viewers respectfully. No rudeness, no histrionics, just an invitation to make of it what you will. The reporters briefly addressed the “what can be done” question but the answer is so clearly “nothing” that I, for one, appreciated the absence of any offers of false hope.

We humans don’t have to accept that we are stuffed but what is left of our lives might be happier and more fulfilled if we did. I remember, as if it were yesterday, Mr. Swain telling his class of ten-year-olds at Stoneferry Junior & Infants a story about a friend of his who lived every day of his life “as if it would be his last”. I failed miserably to follow the example and have wasted most of my days. And producing this blog may not appear a sensible way to spend the short time old age may leave me.

Grief for what we are losing is ever-present now. The white rhino in the room. There is some comfort that Nature Bats Last – but how supportive will the planet be for surviving sentient creatures after we have finished with it?


Today’s Image

The winter hasn’t been so bad but some plants are “behind”. The celandines in Martin’s Ravine are reluctant to flower in their cheery way, and the monster with the gunnera-like leaves is at least a week away from its vigorous state in 2010. I used to think “rhubarb family”, but I noticed today how substantial its stems were. To describe them as “trunks” would not be misleading. Does anyone know what it is? (The largest leaf, in the foreground, is a bit smaller than an adult human hand.)