Where Will You Be In 2050?
You know how it is when you think something and then you come across the same idea in print and you think: Finally! Someone gets it right?
This happened to me recently. The Global Warming thing. See? You’re rolling your eyes. I know. But why do we do this? We have it on reliable authority that our grandchildren are in deep shit – why collectively do we not seem to care?
For some time I’ve thought it’s because the language in which this debate – if one can even call it that – is framed is essentially religious. Global warming is seen as the secular world’s apocalypse, return of the Lord, end of days, rapture, etc. And as we all know, you kind of want to see what the end of the world looks like and are the special effects better than 2012? In this fantasy, we are not one of the teeny-tiny CGI figures falling from towers collapsing over the 415. We are one of the saved enjoying a hilariously wacky, yet effective, ride out of the mouth of hell up into the bright blue yonder. This is why we go to the movies. So too, our evangelical friends imagine, as the rest of us are CGI-icly consigned to the pit, that they will somehow be eating tuna salad sandwiches with all their dead relatives, plus pets, in a heaven that seems to be located somewhere in Iowa but with a better climate, a lot of choir practice, and no liberals. Perhaps this is why we go to church?
Which returns me to: In the past religious predictions of the end of the world have proved to be wrong. We’re still here, right? I think that’s why, though the house we live in has moved one whole agricultural zone south since we bought it twelve years ago, we find it impossible to think that most of Florida will end up under water, no matter how much we’d like to see it happen for one reason or another.
As with religious armageddons, the threats from climate change also seem to move. And yes, of course it’s because the scientists are learning more and claim more accurate models. But can we really trust them? Won’t it all turn out to be another Great Disappointment? My personal favorite of the failed returns of You-Know-Who.
Anyhow, I’m much too shallow to do more than point your attention to this fine piece by Zadie Smith at the online NYRB (free). I don’t generally bother linque to stuff but there’s a chance you won’t have seen this and as the west of England disappears under water, hedgehogs retreat, London plans her defenses, and I shovel tons of snow that fell this winter in truly bizarre storms, it’s worth the read.