Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weather and politics

It's raining this morning.  No real news there -- the drought broke quite a few months ago, and it's rained a lot in Atlanta lately.  Of course, since the record rainfalls and flooding in September (when the above photo was taken), every time rain is predicted now there's a lot of musing on local news about whether or not there might be flooding again. 

There will be, of course.  The only real question is whether or not anyone will have learned anything from the last time.  Probably not.

I finished reading Storm World recently and am currently reading a  theme issue of Mother Jones that focuses on climate change and environmental disaster. It's scary stuff.  California's Central Valley, long viewed as an agricultural Eden, is turning into a dust bowl due to lack of water for irrigation -- and there's no water for irrigation because the snowpack in the mountains irrigation relies isn't as deep as it used to be.  Farmers are clamoring for water and blaming government policies for their woes, but it's real hard to give the farms something that no longer exists. Island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives are facing possibly vanishing if ocean levels rise very much.

And how are we, as in humanity in general, dealing with the growing body of evidence that's announcing loud and clear that the climate is changing, and changing in unpredictable ways? Even the deniers, the folks who say humans have no influence on the climate, have switched from "it's not happening" to "it's part of a natural cycle."  The way people always cope with bad news:  denial, willful ignorance, and procrastination, both as individuals and as governments.  And then when we do notice, we Americans tend to think we can shop our way out of environmental disaster:  buy a Prius instead of  Hummer, look for the energy star on new appliances, get reusable shopping bags, stop buying bottled water and get a Pur filter for the kitchen faucet.  There are exceptions, like the folks involved with,  but not as many as there should be.  Politically, of course, the Obama administration isn't doing much better than Bush did -- the big difference seems to be that Obama is at least smart enough to make some noises like he takes climate change seriously.  Doesn't mean the US will do anything substantive, though, because even if Obama wanted to, Congress is going to throw up roadblocks. 

On a purely personal level, the retirement bunker in upper Michigan is looking better all the time.


  1. May I suggest "Dam Nation" as well? its a rather eye popping expose on just how stupid our history of water and waste management has been.

  2. I lived though a hell of a storm on the beach and will start posting about it in the morning.

    As for politics, not much point in continuing to beat your head against the wall over them. Nothing is going to get fixed until everything topples over.

    It's a stupid system, it can't be fixed.

    On a purely personal level, the retirement bunker in upper Michigan is looking better all the time.

    I sure can relate to that, the more remote the better. Stock up on underwear, rags on the outside are fine but who wants rags for underwear?

    Oh, and socks.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.