Tomorrow’s Hellscape Today

It’s not like we haven’t seen this coming, and for a very long time. In 1958, CBS broadcast one of Frank Capra’s science specials, The Unchained Goddess, warning that “man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate through the waste products of his civilization.” In case you missed the 16mm version in school, SNL presented “Carl Sagan’s Global Warming Christmas Special” in 1990. Around that time — thirty years ago — we first encountered the idea of a “tipping point”, when atmospheric carbon reaches a level where the climate flips like a canoe, and there’s no going back.

Back in 1958, when live-action Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker were laying it down for America’s television families, the first carbon-dioxide measurement was taken at NOAA’s Mauna Loa weather observatory in Hawaii, more than two miles above sea level. There, beyond any local conditions that might clutter the reading, the initial number was recorded: 313 parts per million.

The Tipping Point — the idea is more complex now — was regarded as somewhere above 400 ppm.

Last month, it was 419 ppm.

And it’s not slowing down. Whatever industrial difference the pandemic made down here, it changed nothing up there.

It’s still only June. Water levels in the western United States are already dangerously low. Wildfire seasons are starting early. Here in Denver, we had three 100-degree days a week ago, part of an enormous regional heat wave.

But today we’re here to talk about Eugene, Oregon, our hometown, nestled in the southern end of the Willamette Valley, a hundred miles from Portland. Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, perennial home of the Olympic Trials since we were growing up.

Eugene, where it rains so much that you can plan on bringing an umbrella to graduation, where a popular local joke was “Oregonians don’t tan in the summer — they rust.”

Eugene, where Sunday’s forecast is 111 degrees.

Previous high: 108. In August.

This is the world we now live in, a world born of a few short generations of ignorance and denial. A world that has little hope of getting better, and high odds of getting much, much worse. A broken planet that we’re leaving to our kids and grandkids, but not before getting a good whiff of it ourselves.

There’s hardly anyone alive in America today who didn’t grow up under some existential crisis: Depression, world war, nuclear weapons, Republican administrations. This one isn’t going away. The moral arc of the universe may bend toward justice, but there’s no guarantee that anyone will be left to benefit when it finally touches Earth.

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Sunday’s toll: 111 in Eugene, 112 in Portland, 116 in — BC? Cascadia is burning.

Friend was at the Olympic Trials in Eugene this afternoon, posted a picture of the field heat at 103. They finally gave up at 106.

Meanwhile Florida’s Trumpenfurher Ron DeSantis signs a law that forbids the elimination of fossil fuels.

Gawdamn it’s hawt.
Confession time: I hung towels over the windows. Pure white trash, but it worked and kept the temp in my house at a chilly 85.
I would’ve tin-foiled the windows too, but we only had about three square feet. Pro-tip: Shiny side out; old Southern trick.
Even the Canuckistanis got in on the heatwave action. My gawd what did they and their pet walruses see when they looked out their igloos and it was 46 degrees?

Speaking of hell, it just got a new occupant. Donald Rumsfeld dead at 88

Lucky bastard got to live a lot longer than the soldiers and civilians whose deaths he caused.

@SanFranLefty: And Kissinger is 98. Can’t be long now!

@nojo:
The gnome of realpolitik will outlive all of us.

@SanFranLefty:
“You go to your death with the eulogy you have, not the eulogy you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Sure took that lying murderous fucker long enough.
And Cheney is still alive ARRRRGGHHHH.
It does give me the strength to go on knowing that someday hopefully soon we’ll get to see Cheney, and McConjob, and $hitler et al. go in the ground. Gawd Herself will do a jig. But I’m not bitter, tee hee hee…

@ManchuCandidate: I read that poor Lytton now has a wildfire to deal with as well.

@nojo:
Shocking it happened, eh?

BTW, Happy US Amercia Day!

I stopped celebrating the 4th of July during the CaliguBush years, because at that point it became obvious that the greatest threat to me and my loved ones is other Americans and our abusive, sadistic, destructive society and system of government.
It’s not possible to be objective after having lived through the downward tailspin of the last 40 years, but I wish the Founding Fuckers had been hanged for treason and their revolution had failed. We’d all be better off today after a negotiated independence from British rule, rather than a rebellion that cursed us with this racist kleptocracy.
I’ll contemplate and reflect upon the underdogs who accomplished nearly impossible victories over the last two centuries, including women’s liberation, the Civil Rights movement, immigrants rights activists, and queers of all kinds that’ve let our freak flags fly high. Our courage and bravery means something and matters.

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