Sunday, October 09, 2005

Our Grandchildren Will Rule All They Can See

New York City, 2150

It's official: by 2150, the seas will have risen at least 18 feet, covering most of the world's populated areas. Man has drastically accelerated natural fluctuations in the earth’s climactic rhythms like a bull elephant give a toddler on a swing a mighty push. Click here for the scientific evidence.

Here's an excerpt...BoingBoing readers will recognize this, but it's the best pull I could find...

The ramifications of a transition to this new system state would be profound. The deglaciation of Greenland alone would cause a substantial (up to 6 m) rise in sea level, resulting in flooding along coastal areas where much of the world’s population resides. Shrubs and boreal forest will likely expand northward, further decreasing the albedo. Less certain is the fate of vast stores of carbon previously frozen in the permafrost. Would they be exhaled as carbon dioxide and methane, further accelerating warming?

The change appears to be driven largely by feedback-enhanced global climate warming, and there seem to be few, if any, processes or feedbacks within the Arctic system that are capable of altering the trajectory toward this “super interglacial” state.

I haven't been quite the same since I read this earlier this week. I've gone to work, come home, eaten, laughed with friends...but in the back I've had this gnawing, empty feeling that I can't even describe. It's not just loneliness or unmedicated depression, both of those are old guests in my head now. It's just the feeling that it's all over. That even if mankind does survive the floods, we don't deserve to. At the very least we are plunging toward another Dark Ages and maybe something on the level of climate change that took the dinosaurs out.

I keep looking at things and seeing how flimsy and shabby they are. I know this is ridiculous, but I keep saying goodbye to each moment, listening to music and visualizing the rotting corpses of Delta bluesmen being nibbled at by crabs as CBGB's and the MOMA wash away on a rotting carpet of 21st century flotsam created by a naive and beautiful love of excess.

I was driving over a bridge yesterday in the pouring rain thinking...this may never stop. In one hundred years, a torrential downpour will be the driest day that DC can even remember. The river below seemed like a surly, emotionally abused foster child, lying complacently until some unforeseen and misunderstood event in the future, when it would rise to kill us all and hit the road to hang with its friends.

I fell sick and unsettled. Nothing feels safe or permanent, everything bobbing out of reach on a tide of time. I know there's all these real and gift-shop pop Buddhist adages that preach the suffering that comes from attachments to things and how you have to let it all go to be happy...but I'm not ready. I like thinking that my hometown will be there in a hundred years, and I like thinking that my grandkids will be able to see some of the sights I've seen instead of hunting deer in the deciduous forests of New Mexico.


At 5:25 PM, Blogger Nics said...

This really scares the hell out of me. I watched 'The Day After Tomorrow' just after the tsunami on Boxing Day, it really hit home.

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey -
Tried clicking on the link and it didn't work, put a slash after the .edu and still didn't work. Would love to read it. Many scientific studies that I have seen say that the number of years that we have been collecting precise data is just too short for most of the extreme climate change theories. Not at all saying that we don't need to do something about it at all. There are lots of organizations - Friends of the Earth based in Dupont is great for emails, information, campaigns and eveen monthly gatherings. There are many more. I'll send you an email with info if you like.

But I'd love to see the original URL. Also, lets figure out when to get that drink. oh, Bauhaus tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m.

David S

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just in case you haven't heard:

David S

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not convinced. -- Mr. Moderation

At 1:44 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

Remind me to tell you about the time an island I was working with (indigenous sovereignty, my anthropological doctoral thing) lost their fresh water reservoir. That was almost as depressing as the "development" programs that decended to "repurpose" the land. With help from South African mercenaries, which led to a coup that actually made the front page section of the NYT, so that was something.

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous richmond melody said...

John Cage said "We cannot destroy the past. It is already gone."

He also said "Instead of changing the environment or the piece, I change myself."

The I Ching says:

"Change is the nature of the universe." This was the guiding force behind much of Cage's work. If you haven't thought about 4'33,(Johns' best known work) try it again and instead of seeing despair in the silence, you'll find peace.


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