Wet Or Not To Wet

June 26, 2012

In a time when time waits for no sonofabitch, our climate is shifting right in front of our eyes and noses.

Only ignorance or delusion could keep anyone from becoming fairly alarmed at the state of our only living space, and with the environment apparently going through big, big changes, humanity is right on the cusp of a major worldwide calamity in real time — watch, and then just try and run away.
Ain’t no place to hide.

(Illustration found here).

Up here along California’s northern coast, there’s been rain the last couple of weeks and although there’s no rain in the forecast, it’s still cloudy this morning — old timers tell me they’ve never seen rain this late in the year and that’s a refrain heard in other places.
In reverse, even: Jeff Scates, a farmer in Southern Illinois, said about 75 percednt of his family’s farm was underwater last spring, and he didn’t finish planting his corn crop until early June. This year, he got his crop into the ground by late April, but dry conditions are now causing damage and reducing the number bushels his fields will produce.“I don’t remember anytime when it was this dry, this early,” the 42-year-old farmer said.
Climate change will affect/effect everybody, some more than others,but none of it pleasant.

Even as Tropical Storm Debby has stalled in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Florida is getting way-wet, but it seems that’s still too little too late.
Yesterday on NPR, in a broadcast from the Aspen Environmental Forum, there was a discussion with researchers on climate change, though, the big deal for me was a call-in guy to the program from Gainsville, Fla, where I attended the University of Florida nearly 40 years ago.
He discussed rain fall and dryness — a snip:

We see significant environmental changes here.
I own a lake property right outside of Gainesville, and my dock is about 10 feet tall, and the water is 40 feet from the dock.
In addition to that, my father-in-law works for a county agency here, and they’re getting a lot of calls regarding dry wells that are going to have to go deeper, and the water table is significantly lower.
We did get a lot of rain this weekend, you might have seen on the news, a tropical storm dumped a lot of rain, about eight inches.
But, you know, it’s neither here nor there.
It really doesn’t make a dent.
We’re seeing – when I was younger here, it would rain every single day during the summer, and now it doesn’t really do that.
We might have three, four weeks without rain, and then in addition to that, you know, a lot of the industry is pulling record amounts of water out of the aquifer.
So we see a significant change here, even the rivers.
The Suwannee River, a very large river, runs through the Southeast, and that’s at a record low, too, so…

When I went to school there one never, ever left your car windows down in the afternoon, or you’d come back to a drenched insides — it rained hard just about every summer day, mostly in the mid afternoon.
And now…

We humans, though, might just be doomed because we’re human.
In a piece at Psychology Today last week, there was a discussion on how mankind thinks about shit coming at us from the future and the bottom line: Humans are simply not hardwired to be green.
The article points out humanity has five traits that could cause us to be f*ucked.
Like so:

Humans value their personal interests more than others’ interests: Humans care first and foremost about themselves, their family and their community but they have little regard for humanity as a whole.

We value the present over the future: Our ancestors did not know if they would still be around next year and so. Thus, our minds are designed to weigh immediate outcomes more heavily than distant ones. Naturally, this affects how humans make environmental decisions, for instance, whether or not to invest in expensive solar panels.

Humans are obsessed by status: We are so concerned about “Keeping up with the Joneses” that we do not appreciate what we have got. It is not difficult to see that our excessive consumption rates are due to this obsession with status.

We copy unconsciously the behaviors of people around us: Home residents say that the behavior of their neighbors has very little effect on their own conservation behaviors, but it is actually one of the strongest predictors of energy and water use.

Humans disregard novel environmental threats: Your house smells just fine. Your neighborhood has trees, and you can get plenty of delicious food at the store. At some rational level we know that we are damaging our environment. Yet the human mind is not used to dealing with novel global environmental threats such as pollution, plastic, chemicals, nuclear waste and greenhouse gases, because for millions of years these problems were not around.

And the bottom line: If we fail to head the lessons about human psychology, we will get a Rio+40 conference in twenty years time where nothing much has changed.

But, boy, what a party!
In 20 years we’re  toast for sure.

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