Saturday, June 7, 2008


A storm of terrific intensity has just swept through my home town in Virginia. This occurred at the same time as the storm of terrific intensity in Minnesota, the ongoing rash of such storms across the greater Midwest, a massive deluge in China, wildfires in California and North Carolina, the first stirrings of what’s predicted to be a bustling hurricane season in the Caribbean, the start of the 7th summer of drought in Australia, a new drought in Ethiopia, and the ongoing mass death in Burma following the cyclone.

Such crises pass increasingly unnoticed by anyone, except those caught in their path. They are suddenly everywhere, like cicadas in a year of concupiscence. They spawn typhoons, tornadoes, floods; they tear out power lines, plunge us into darkness, wreck our cities, punish our coastlines, destroy our homes.

This particular not-very-noteworthy killer storm in Virginia happened to drop a centuries-old oak tree on the home of one of my best friend’s parents. The next day my friend's father tried to remove part of this tree himself. He tried too hard, suffered a heart attack, and died.

I am sick beyond words of hearing that climate change is too expensive to address. That we will all have to go slouching off to the almshouse if we take sensible steps to cut back on the carbon we dump into the air, the fuel for this atmospheric engine revving out of control. Battalions of thieves and liars will continue to peddle this fear, or any other that might keep us from acting, until there's not a place left on earth that hasn't been scoured, blighted or burned by our collective denial.

Of course we can’t know if any one storm resulted from global warming, any more than we can know if any single cough by an emphysema sufferer resulted from his chain-smoking. Is it wisdom to ignore the cough, to learn not to hear it at all?

The evidence of global warming’s costs to this world lie about us in heaps. Like the evidence of duplicity by the paid mouthpieces of industry, elected or otherwise.

I wish I could say the Worldstorm that destroyed civilization in Alifros was just a fancy. I wish (now and then) that my novels could be merely an escape.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree. We have to take responsibility for our knowledge, for our actions. It's part of growing up, and maybe we (humans? north Americans?) have yet to come of age?