So I had the odd Flashback Experience of being visited last week by a college roommate I had not seen in twenty years (and we were roomies much longer ago than that, at the University of Texas, in Austin, circa 1984), a Polish friend who lives in Warsaw, and at one point I asked him about the perception of Climate Change in Poland, whether it was a major issue or not—while I also made the point that it seems to me a much bigger issue in the Western U.S. than in the East (I live in both places, and will spend five months this year in Pennsylvania, seven months in Colorado and beyond). He said no, that it wasn’t a major issue, and repeated some Climate Change skeptic claptrap, as if half the scientists of the world were in doubt of the issue, the same kind of blather that spews from the mouths of Fox News et al. That “ordinary people” believe this nonsense is no shocker, but it’s still disappointing. In a nod to Stanley Kubrick’s great film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) I wish I could turn it all into a comedy, as I am writing about it (in my novel The Bird Saviors, most recently), though it’s hard to pull that off. In today’s Bloomberg.com page, here, there’s a graphic about the rising temperatures, and how March has just been announced as the hottest March on record, with 2015 already on pace to outdo 2014 as the hottest year on record (we can hope this is a fluke, and it cools later this summer or fall, I guess). High Country News recently reported a debate about whether the West is in a mega-drought or not. California snowpack is at five percent of average. We keep this up, and here’s a vision of what the average home in the West will look like in another decade or two:
But I think the analogy to Dr. Strangelove is curiously apt: At some point you have to get over your frustration, anger, and irritation at the stupidity of the vested interests working so hard to deny Climate Change, and try to say something intelligent and visionary about it. I’m working on a new novel that’s set in the West, and the heat and wind and wildfires that we expect every summer are just part of the landscape now. It’s hard to laugh at it, but it doesn’t do anyone much good to be perpetually angry, either. Perhaps it’s time for a maniacal laugh, like Slim Pickens does as he whoops and hollers, riding the bomb down into Russia.