Wednesday. Returning from breakfast just before eight, pulling into the garage, realizing I hadn't thought once about the knee since I'd gotten up. Good. Good is good, as I believe I may have mentioned.
So now what? I received a copy of Eaarth by Bill McKibben yesterday and read the first half last night. It's been clear that 2007 was something of a watershed for the understanding of global warming by the scientific community, the year when better ongoing studies began to outline what was happening to the climate and what we had to look forward to in the near future. Some of the results were frightening and books such as McKibben's are now outlining those findings for a broader audience.
McKibben, the founder of 350.org, has appeared on a number of television and radio talk shows recently promoting his book and some of these led me to place the order. He outlines, not so much what's coming, although he's very clear about what's coming, but what's already here. The bottom line is the next forty years are going to be very upsetting, the way we live is going to change, change radically, and everyone in their thirties and younger is going to see and experience one hell of a roller coaster ride before their days are done. Basically the die is cast and there's nothing we can do now to head off the tsunami, although we can still make changes to avoid the unthinkable. I'm assuming what we need to do to avoid the unthinkable is outlined in the second half of the book, which I'll get to this evening.
The problem isn't particularly hard to state. The global temperature has increased by one degree Centigrade and will increase by another degree if we hold carbon dioxide emissions to their current levels. Most people, scientists included, thought this one degree rise a problem, but a resolvable problem. What they've learned is that in the past, this new one degree warmer temperature is enough to melt all of the polar ice. It takes time for this to happen, the oceans have to absorb this one degree increase, but once absorbed, all kinds of “tipping points” will have come into play, many of which we've now been observing, and the world will change radically.
The problem is not one of cutting our CO2 emissions to zero. It's like a giant cargo ship, once it gets going, it takes a long time to bring it to a stop. Once the carbon dioxide is in the air, it takes a very long time at zero emissions to bring it back down and well within that time the ice will have melted and the damage done. Bringing the polar ice and our current moderate world back can only be done on a time scale measured in thousands of years. And that's where we stand. The ice is history, it's only a matter of time, how much time they're not sure, but from what we're seeing, not nearly as much as was once thought.
Still, best to not get totally immersed in this stuff. Right? The morning looks good. It rained quite a bit yesterday and I could have gotten out in the afternoon and early evening for a walk as most of the rain was done by late morning. We'll take our camera and shoot some pictures this late morning, early afternoon, one way or another. Get our head out of the Eaarth and smell the roses, re-arrange our little head to take advantage of the afternoon sun and set out on some modest, nearby, no problems with the knee, adventure.
Later. A walk toward the downtown, a bus the rest of the way bumping into a graffiti artist who called out “hey, take my picture!”. I always assume this is encouragement sent by the gods, so I assumed, whatever I was doing, was doing well. A trip by Rite Aid for necessary items, a walk to the transit office for a May bus pass and then a walk the rest of the way home, the knee just fine, the attitude good, the rain holding off for the entire journey. It's now noon, a week's worth of excitement had in a single morning, the afternoon ahead.
You've probably ridden that horse to death. Excitement and all that.
Our good mood is not to be denied.
Later still. A walk down to the usual café for a cup of coffee and a pastry of some sort. I must admit my usual café could use a menu shake up. Something added in the way of a cereal or two for breakfast, maybe, adding pie or cake or their pastry list. Less cholesterol in the mornings, more sugar in the afternoons. But they'd probably be insulted if I suggested it. My guess is they've had this same menu since Jack London was drinking at Heinold’s and raiding fishermen' crab pots at night out on the bay.
Evidently he wrote about it. Started by stealing crabs and such from local Oakland fishermen' crab pots and ended up taking a job as a cop catching what amounted to some old confederates. Be interesting to know how that hiring interview went. Brought a lot of useful experience to the gig, I would think.
But we drift.