Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Weather Makers

As both our regular readers can tell you, we've spent a lot of time lately keeping them up-to-date on the latest in weather, water, and energy news. Not as popular or interesting as venal and corrupt politicians selling the country out for themselves and their party (I'm actually talking about both parties), but the problems that will concern every nation on earth for the rest of this century, the only problems beside nuclear that can change human existence significantly, no matter how important gay marriage, Iraq, teen killings, or [add your own issue here] may be to individuals. We're just trying to make you pay attention. No need to thank us.

The tragedy of our coming history and of the Dems is that a focus on the community and international effort it will take to negotiate our weather,water,energy future would provide the narrative necessary to get us past the divisive politics and "us/them" politicians who now dominate. "We don't have time for all that now. The future of our children and grandchildren is on the line here." But that would have required foresight and wisdom. Just how often could those adjectives be applied to Democrats over the last 40 years?

If you want one book, the best primer, on the weather issue and its relationship to the other two (they're all actually subsumed under "continued human existence in marginally acceptable conditions"), I recommend
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery. Flannery professes that he was skeptical about global warming and all its implications before doing the investigating necessary for this thorough, well-written, and frightening book. How skeptical you want to be of that claim is up to you. The point here is that he wrote this book as a means of blowing any skepticism about what we face out of the water (so to speak). This is what "An Inconvenient Truth" would have been if Al Gore could have gotten us to sit through a 12 hour movie.

Everything is there, the evidence for global warming and the short-circuiting of critics (just a metaphor, unfortunately, especially for corkhead Inhofe), the way weather works, what we've already done that may be irreversible, the scientific modeling, the likely inability of cities to function in "normal" fashion, possible solutions (and impossible ones, no matter how well sold or dramatic), alternative energies, and things individuals can do (much better and longer than Gore's ending). The most important topic for one trained in policy and politics is his discussion of what government can do and, better, what kind of government is even possible if action isn't taken NOW (it's not pretty). (The sad thing is that a guy named Ophuls wrote
Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity 30 years ago spelling the last out even better. But that was when it was "Morning in America" and Jimmy Carter was an idiot.)

This is the real fly in Bushnev's psychotic dream of dominance (which will not be derailed by the coming elections, despite the "clap louder" talk from the delusional bloggers on our side who think Bushnev is capable of everything except rigging these elections, and that's after 2000 and 2004, and GA in 2002). Reality is what took down the Soviet Union, not Reagan, and it's about to take down the people who think they are powerful in this country. Georgi and his Politburo, Pravda media, and can't-be-bothered-to-be-real-citizen "Americans" are completely unprepared for the next few decades. The problem for those of us it won't surprise (which will include you after you've read this book) is that scarcity almost always brings forth authoritarian regimes to handle the rationing and triaging. The only democracy that has a chance is one in which its people all recognize the common threat and work together to address it in a spirit of common sacrifice and accomplishment. Does that describe any US that you can think of right now?

So. Flannery is required reading for your future, whether you like the sound of this or not, unless you just prefer "hear no, see no . . . ". This IS your future, whether you like it or not. The evidence, as he piles on and on, is overwhelming, and we haven't as a nation even begun to address it as we should, much less prepare for its outcomes with some hope of retaining our culture and government. As Arthur Silber says in my other post today (below), we are living on lies right now, some told to us by "leaders" and media, others we tell ourselves. Of course, maybe Flannery's wrong, maybe I'm wrong, maybe we can all just ignore or wish away that coming tsunami.

There's a better chance Pat Robertson will divert it from the coast.