Dean Clough

August 11, 2021

Portico Darwin: Baby, It Is Not Cold Outside

While we thankfully have not had this yet here in SF, the wildfires and extreme heat are all around us.  It's been a typically foggy and cold summer here, which is very welcome when compared with the smoke of the last two years.  But I've still become really alarmed about climate change, and it's not just the recent news.   

A disclaimer before going further:  clearly, we personally have it easy - for now.  Our home has not been destroyed by fire and our air has been pristine for 27 of the 29 years we've been here.  But we do live on the coast and if the seas rise as feared, our neighborhood and many others will be gone.  That sounds dramatic until you do the research.

I remember when the warning lights started flashing for me personally.  It was in 2008 when I read Thomas Friedman's excellent book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" that the real dangers of climate change became clear.  13 years ago, Mr. Friedman explained how good and truly fucked we are if Brazil, India, and China end up owning cars and air conditioners at the same rate as Americans.  That long ago, Friedman argued for urgent and direct action on a global scale, as he pointed out it's not possible (nor ethical) to withhold those "luxuries" from the  newly-minted middle class populations in those countries (or others).

But the world has mostly stood by and watched, even as the Earth keeps saying "enough".  We are in far worse shape, temperature-wise, than was predicted in 2008.  And America really went off the rails when Tr*** pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord, setting a horrible example for the world.  Yeah, I get China's role and culpability, but since when do we wait around for others?  Why the hell is America not leading the way to a carbon-free future?  Why the fighting, as Rome literally burns?

Perhaps you remain skeptical of the whole thing, but wow, I do feel that borders on willful ignorance at this point.  Maybe this article will encourage you to reconsider the severity of the problem, and the resulting urgent need for action. 

Code Red:  UN Scientists Warn of Worsening Global Warming

More?  Here is a book considered to be the "go-to" on the subject.  I read it 5 years ago and it's a must if you want to understand the severity of the problem, and also a way out. 

But Portico Darwin, this is America and we want a happy ending!  I've mentioned it before here, but it's worth repeating:  Kim Stanley Robinson's stupendous "Ministry For The Future" is a novel set 30 or so years in the future, when shit starts getting real.  The magnitude of the carnage wrought by climate change is so great it actually motivates the Earth's nations to cooperate and reverse course.  It works, and calamity is avoided.  That may be the best future we can hope for at this point.

But will we have to have a couple of real "mass-extinction events" (as the book calls them) to get us to stop screwing around and get very real about climate change?  You tell me.

I had barely turned off the printing press for Monday's blog when the newly jet-lagged Kevin Monza texted with his full-throated approval of these scribbles.  Or at least I took it that way.  Regardless, thank you my friend, and it's going to be great hanging with you and the data center superhero and king of optimism, Miguel Shannon, at next Wednesday's Giants-Mets day game. 

Let's file this one under "For The Unwashed Masses".  If you have HBO, I can really suggest the new show "The White Lotus".  If you can picture a very edgy "Love Boat" set at a Four Seasons rather than on a mediocre cruise ship, you're very close.  But this is even better, especially the characters.  I challenge you to not hate that fat-cat bastard Shane!

Thank you to any one that is reading this blog.

One of the easiest picks ever.  Here is the late, great and justifiably legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan and "Couldn't Stand The Weather".  

I had the pleasure of seeing this guitar master live in concert, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in the late '80's; he died just a couple of years later, in 1990.  Pretty scary to think that Eric Clapton almost got on the same helicopter, transporting performers from a big concert at Alpine Valley, WI, that went down and killed everyone onboard, including Vaughan.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.