Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Welcome to Blog Action Day, 2009. Today, October 15th, over 6,000 bloggers worldwide will be reaching over 11,000,000 readers while writing about one thing: climate change. Myself included.

But wait, you ask. What does Amy know about climate change?

Aha. Next to nothing. (Don’t you feel in good hands?) Despite watching An Inconvenient Truth like a good Al Gore fan and sitting through a university ecology class (the easiest science course on offer), I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that when I first heard that this year’s topic was climate change, my first thought was…El Nino. (Yep, I’m very current on my eco news.) My second thought was of The Day after Tomorrow (aka, one of the worst disaster movies ever). Then I must admit I got distracted for a moment while I tried to remember who starred in The Day after Tomorrow…show of hands…anyone else get Dennis Quaid mixed up with Jeff Bridges? No? Just me then? Which one of them was in Seabiscuit? I finally decided I’d better google this bad boy (climate change, not Dennis Quaid). Well, I did google Dennis Quaid, actually, because that Seabiscuit thing was driving me crazy.

Anyway, what I learned (two hours later): I really, really know nothing about climate change. I mean, I get the basic concept: greenhouse gasses trapping, ice caps melting, seas rising…all our fault. But it’s all so huge, isn’t it? So overwhelming.

So let me tell you what I do know about:

I know about impossibly sunny days in mid-August, when as far as I can look, there’s not a cloud in the sky or the slightest stirring of breeze. I know about the glare of the sun on snow, multifaceted and sharp. I know that the Pacific in springtime mirrors the cloud cover above it, heavy and deep, and that if my kids don’t get at least one opportunity to leap into a pile of soggy leaves every autumn, they revolt. I know about the deer that leap our garden fence, much to my annoyance, and about the single hummingbird that visits us every warm month of the year. I’m a creature of habit--as we all are--but I also know I don’t want any of that to change. That as a citizen on this planet, I cannot afford to let any of that change.

When I researched the effects of global warming at the EPA, their list included “sea levels rising, glaciers shrinking, changes in the range and distribution of plants and animals, trees blooming earlier, the lengthening of growing seasons, ice on rivers and lakes freezing later and breaking up earlier, and the thawing of permafrost.”

I’m not entirely sure what permafrost is, but it sounds like it‘s supposed to be, well, permanent. And as silly as it seems, the image that comes to mind at these words of warning is that of Narnia’s White Witch spurring her sleigh onward even as the runners stick in the muck of a spring thaw. Of course, C.S. Lewis was using ‘climate change’ to symbolize the end of evil’s reign at the dawning of an iconic springtime, but now?

I think we may be up against an entirely different enemy.

And we can’t keep cracking the whip, pushing blindly forward on sheer determination and denial, ignoring how deeply embedded in the mire we’re becoming. If nothing else, we’re eventually going to run out of road.

And I know what you’re thinking…in this analogy, are we the sleigh, or the witch, or the mud? Er, I kind of lost track. But never mind that. In the spirit of Blog Action Day, and at the risk of sounding preachy, I want to say that this whole ‘environmental movement’ thing is not just for us odd, crunchy, outdoorsy, out-there people. It’s for all of us. All of us who do our best to recycle, but forget sometimes, or car pool, but drive a gas guzzler, buy a bottled water because a Sigg seems expensive, or leave a light on because we‘re in a hurry to get out the door.

All of us...11,000,000 readers and counting.
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