September 20, 2019

I started my day a lot earlier than I like,  but I knew I owed it to Swedish teen Greta Thunberg’s lead for world-wide climate change marches today.

News of the “greenhouse effect” first appeared in 1824.  The first mention of global warming in 1975 was still long before Greta was born.  It was 1995, still before Greta was born, that there was a definitive statement that humans are definitely responsible for climate change.  Three years after Greta was born, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” came out in 2006.

But the humans of the world were mostly too busy thinking about money — how to get it, how to get more, how to pillage and plunder to take what was thought to be rightfully ours as the masters of the universe and the most intelligent of all living things.  Yes, there were a few endearing characteristics of humans, but not enough to deflect disaster.

Much of nature, and many animal species continued to quietly disappear while the human population grew.  It was 1 billion in 1800, two billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1975, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1999, 7 billion in 2011.  8 billion is projected for 2024.

I won’t be here to verify it, but I strongly doubt humans will outlive climate change no matter how smart we get with technology and out of the box clever ideas.

Greta’s generation may make it into middle age or beyond, but I don’t see a happy ending for humans.  But the ending of humans will be a happy ending for nature because I firmly believe in the ability of nature to reboot and thrive again minus humans.

I ended the evening by watching a science fiction movie by chance called “Knowing” with Nicholas Cage.   In it, the entire earth is destroyed by a massive sun flare.  However, aliens have taken a selection of chosen children into spaceships and transported them by twos with two rabbits to a fresh, pure land with a beautiful large tree.  As I watched the children playfully running toward the tree, I felt a tiny flicker of hope that these children would be better guardians of nature, but a dread that they would once again contaminate mother nature with human arrogance and superiority.

I held onto two events rather desperately last week to counter-balance  a world going wildly wonky.

Having lived in Taiwan, I like to hear good news from that relatively small, remote place we usually don’t hear about.  The news showed gay people there happily celebrating their right to marry.  The second beacon of light came from children following the lead of eloquent Greta Thunberg of Sweden in passionately, unrelentingly, continuing to demonstrate one day a week to demand the world recognize the present and future dangers of climate change.

Fifty-five years have passed since the grown-up heroine Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring,” warned us of the many ways we humans are killing our planet, and ultimately, ourselves.  Why weren’t we listening?

Last week, I remembered a necklace  I once had, but could never quite put around my neck.  It was a miniature coat hanger — the symbol of what was used to abort babies in a time when abortion was not legal.  But it seems I threw away that necklace too soon as more and more states are making abortion illegal again.

And last week I heard a compelling plea from the President of Columbia University that we must become ever more vigilant about the attacks on what Americans hold dear about our government.

And then there was another mass shooting spread across the news in Virginia Beach where it’s legal to bring guns into buildings.

I was born while the Holocaust was raging on the other side of the sea, and my father was being sent there to fight a war.  I lived through the turbulent, tumultuous 1960’s.  But now, more dangerous even than guns, is a mean-spiritedness that is taking over the world.  Sometimes it maims; sometimes it kills; sometimes it wounds slowly, but deeply.

Last week, I saw it as the insidious Ebola virus so seriously, dangerously, and cleverly depicted in “The Hot Zone” as it calmly mutates into the best way to kill humans.

In last week’s comics, Dennis the Menace talks with Mr. Wilson about the news.  Mr. Wilson explains that he likes to stay informed of what’s happening every day in the world.  But he adds, “Even though most of the news these days isn’t great news.  Boy!  I sure miss the good ol’ days!”  And Dennis remarks, “You think there’ll be some good ol’ days left for ME?”

And I think, “Maybe not, Dennis.  So sorry.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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