I have spent a lot of time lately thinking and reading about climate change. In the process, I realised how well I had previously done at not thinking about it too much - catching it out of the corner of my mind, but not full on thinking.
Why? My friend and co-conspirator Paul spoke a few weeks ago about the way climate change confronts us with 'deep emotional questions about ourselves and about society':
Without being too simplistic about the climate change debate, it’s basically we’re all going to die but we might be able to do something about it. It’s a big serious challenge to us as individuals and it lurches between optimism and pessimism. It’s pessimistic as a way of encouraging optimism and that's emotionally exhausting...
But among the emotional exhaustion, I did make one rather wonderful discovery. I will rush no more! is Tim Hodgens' blog. It is also his mantra, as he goes about trying to make a change and simplify his life. I am slowly reading my way through several months of entries, but one of his posts about climate change gave me back a lot of hope.
Having been thinking about how to get talking to people about global warming, Tim is having a late lunch at Harry's Pastrami Shack, when his attention is drawn to a conversation at the counter:
Counter Guy: "People complain about having to reset their clocks when there's a power outage. (On the TV they were talking about the storm in Denver) But it's much more serious when it's much more serious."
Mr. C: "Big changes in the weather."
Counter Guy: "the spring was worse with all that rain. I work for a pool company and we couldn't put in the pools. We were down $100,000 in receipts by July and there's no way you can regroup after that."
Later, and after Counter Guy leaves, I say, like out of the blue: "how do you think this will all play out?"
He looks at me and I say: "with the weather, the changes."
Mr. C: "Ya don't know. We haven't been there before."
I start talking about my previous posting about climate change and talk about Jim at Big Bear, California (he knew it instantly - I could see him 20 years ago growling up the mountain on a good old fashioned hog) and Laura in Sasketchewan. He listens attentively.
He tells me about how there was "flowering going on, on the north side of PJ Rhodadendruns; 6 months early."
He then goes on talking about the melting arctic ice shelf and how that's all fresh water and how it will upset the current (that circulates from the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico and then up the Eastern seaboard of the States.)
You really have to wonder how this is all going to play out.
For my part I liked how I got into the conversation with the elevator pitch of "how do you think this is all going to play out."
His comment of "ya don't know, we haven't been there before" is incisively spot-on
The other thing I took away from this conversation was how easy it actually turned out to be to "get at" what was going on beneath the surface with the right question.
He offered his hand, we shook and I left.