03 May 2006

Cue The Fat Lady!


The first of 21 proposed Bush Administration global warming studies states that it is actually happening, that the earth is actually getting warmer because of human activity.

And yes, while I almost spit out my coffee and let out a whoop when I saw this flashlight-sized beacon of truth shining from deep within the bowels of ignorant denial, I still have a question. Why do 20 more tests?

I am concerned, primarily, with the emotional/existential/metaphysical aspect of how humans deal with the bummer news of global warming. And I am interested in how all this telescoping back and forth of time and scale:

am I causing the extinction of all life on earth by drying my clothes?am I going to see global warming?should I have children?we are all just frogs in a pot!why isn't the government doing anything?why am I getting on my hands and knees and turning off all the power switches for five minutes every time I leave the house?I am so powerless, isn't there more I can do?

contrasts with the straightforward, physical nature of the problem:

Just stop emitting CO2 and figure out how to sequester some without screwing ourselves later.

The most interesting thing to me about all this is that it's too big to handle. How does a people look at the fact that they are destroying their planet and ensuring the extinction of 95% of species without wasting precious time on the extra 20 tests, without foot-shuffling and intertia and tremendous fear?

The resulting disconnect between physical reality and human behavior is what interests me, and of course the Bush administration is going to ride that disconnected space, pull it open as wide as it can for as long as it can. Rove's favorite tactic is not to bother the American people. No draft, no high gas prices, no consequences. I have a feeling that this is a problem that can only be handled existentially by providing the public the opportunity to feel consequences instead of formless anxiety.

I want victory gardens and carless Tuesdays! I want a gas tax! I don't want 20 more tests because 20 more tests is more years spent floating in this eerie disconnected space between our increasingly certain doom and the increasingly brittle and hollow insistence on business as usual.

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