Monday, September 3, 2012

Criminals and Kindergartners

The days are getting shorter; the nights longer. That, at least, remains within the range of predictability. However, I can't help thinking our earth is being crudely reshaped in the hands of criminals and kindergartners.

I know, I have touched on this subject before. The other day, on a wildflower identification hike, we encountered an enormous weed patch -- a fire-eaten  shallow bowl of tangled shrubbery where Ponderosa pines once grew. Artemesia was the predominant shrub -- not bad looking really, feathery and full but not a Ponderosa pine.  Definitely not a Ponderosa pine. These weed patches will proliferate  as each summer thousands of acres of the southern Rockies burn with unprecedented ferocity.

Then there's the coast of Maine where, once upon a time, we went out every morning wearing a heavy sweater which we shed at noon and put on again just before sunset. This July, we actively sought shade at nine a.m. and never wore anything more than shorts and a tank top even after sundown. The once sharp blue sky was smeary with a thin layer of clouds. The starfish were gone or almost gone and new forms of aquatic life replaced them. The humidity reminded me of long-ago summers much further south -- in Virginia or Washington, D.C.

I have done some research online and it seems pretty clear to me that (a) global warming is a fact, and (b) that it is human caused. The majority of climate scientists think so and they can cite data to prove it.

I also believe that the the most vocal opposition consists mainly of uber-rich capitalists who trot out studies sponsored by Exxon-Mobile and other fossil-fuel-based industries.

The uber-rich capitalists won't have to endure the consequences of global warming. They will have air-conditioned mansions in cool places. They will have access to food even when half the world starves due to drought. They will still be able to enjoy their swimming pools even as the water table sinks and rivers dry up.

I think the top dogs in the energy industry know that human-caused global warming is a scientific fact. They simply don't care because they won't be negatively affected by the consequences. In the meantime, there are huge profits to be made. These are the ones I call criminals.

Then there's the kindergartners.  Kindergartners indulge freely in magical thinking -- e.g., if I want it to be so, then it is so. Attached to this assumption is its corollary: I am supposed to live happily ever after.

These kindergartners are easily persuaded by the energy industry's propaganda. They also harbor an attitude of suspicion and contempt toward environmentalists. I can sort of understand this having  observed inflexible ideologues hooting like spotted owls at town meetings as if such behavior had even a ghost of a chance of changing hearts and minds.

I am not one to claim a moral high ground. I, too, am a kindergartner, just not when it comes to global warming.

Kindergartners believe in the bottomless cookie jar. They cannot imagine a tomorrow with fewer cookies, no cookies, or no food of any kind. Someone will fix it so that this doesn't happen. The grown-ups. They. The people in charge.

 Meanwhile, we continue to raid the cookie jar, reaching down further and further as the supply dwindles, scraping the sides to gather crumbs. Eventually we smash the container to pieces, promising to glue it together later. After all, the bottom isn't really the bottom. And we can always lick the shards.

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