The Effects of Climate Change Are Unfolding in Real Time

We've F'd around and now we're finding out

The Effects of Climate Change Are Unfolding in Real Time
Photo by Chris Barbalis / Unsplash

My daughter went to her prom on Tuesday. It was an occasion for joy and she looked so beautiful. We shuttled her to her prom date’s house where the rest of the group was gathering. It was a beautiful afternoon with blue skies and sun, perfect for taking photos. Then an orange haze descended and the smell of wildfire permeated through the air. The smoke from the wildfires in Canada descended across New Jersey.

That was just the beginning, yesterday a darker haze descended over us. I was in Manhattan for work and the air quality was so bad that I had a hard time breathing and walking around. As I ran into my office building to clear my lungs I realized that the effects of climate change were unfolding in real time. This horror, and many more, is what we can expect to happen to all of us if we don’t do something now.

But what?

FAFO

There’s a saying in German, “Wer nicht hört muss fühlen” and translated literally it means “he who doesn’t listen must feel it (pain). We have a similar saying, Fuck Around; Find Out (FAFO). We’ve fucked around for decades, now we’re starting to find out. The problem is that if we stop all our polluting and come together as a world, singing Kumbaya, it’s too late. This freight train has left the yard and has no brakes. The end station is extinction.

I don’t write this lightly but we’ve surpassed seven out of eight planetary limits for our survival.

Earth is in danger zone in nearly all ecological ways
A new study says Earth has pushed past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone,” according to a new study.

The Earth is sick right now. She’s running a fever and is getting ready to rid herself of the infection; the human infection. She’s going to make it unbearable for us and other life to survive.

The find-out phase we’re entering will radically drop the quality of life for everyone in the world, not equally and at the same time. Europe has been feeling the effects of climate change sooner than we have in the United States but once it happens to us in the US it’ll becomes an issue. The majority of US citizens don’t believe in climate change until it hits them square in the face. Then it becomes an emergency. It will be too late by then.

The end of rose gardens

I went with my partner and friends to the Botanical Gardens in New York this past weekend. We go every year around the beginning of June to see the rose garden bloom. They were at peak bloom and everything was gorgeous. The weather was sunny and cool and everyone had a wonderful time walking through the gardens.

I thought about how I’m living, possibly, in the last decades of a web of life that’s sick and dying. Our insects are collapsing and without them, these roses may stop blooming and die off. I might take my last sips of PFAS-free water. I might not get to sit under the shade of my beloved Ash trees. My grandchildren, if I ever have any, may never experience the joy I’ve felt breathing clean air and roaming through nature.

I know that I must keep fighting but I’m tired. Everyone one of my friends and colleagues that are environmentally conscious is tired of fighting against a tide of misinformation and exploitation.

I have to ask myself, do we even deserve to survive? Do we even deserve the Earth? I’d like to believe that we do but we have to do a better job of taking care of it.

“This the end, my beautiful friend. — The Doors”