A slow-moving thundercloud of panic has settled over me. Perhaps I am reading too much, not enough, or too selectively. A few thoughtstreams have converged and are making me feel this way.
Oil in particular, energy in general, resource use overall.I’ve become almost fetishistic about the amount of resources I consume as a human being. And yet I haven’t made any radical changes. I turn out lights when I’m done, we recycle paper, plastic and cans religiously. I try to run the laundry and dishwasher at night, we keep the curtains drawn during the day. I try to raise the A/C temp a couple of degrees above what I think it should be (my wife usually turns it back down). We drive to work and errands, and not much else (I get to cop out of this one cause I mostly work from home now.)
- The tightening conservative noose in this country’s political life. We seem to be witnessing a coup of historic proportions in the governance of this country. The Executive branch has been hijacked, the Legislative has been emasculated. Now the Judiciary is undergoing dissolution, to be reconstituted as the grinning skull face of the Executive branch. And yet as I complain and wring my hands, I secretly suspect that “We the People:” have only ourselves to blame. Cynicism leans close, offering numbness and freedom from responsibility. What can I do, anyway? My optimism is being seriously challenged — and why should they want it any other way, the fucking bastards?
- Global climate change. It’s scary when scientists sound alarmed. They are supposedly pursuing truth objectively, without an agenda. And yet, when as human beings they are alarmed by the truths they are discovering, it sounds in their words. And that is scary. There seems to be growing consensus — and growing alarm — that abrupt climate change has not only happened before, but seems like it could be just around the corner. It’s scary enough that we seem to be doing so little to change the man-made conditions that are amplifying the changes. Scarier still is that, in our denial that there may be a problem, we have failed to even prepare for what may be an inevitability at this point.
Indeed, is any preparation possible, short of head-for-the-hills survivalism? We are talking about a fundamental shock to the relative ecological stability on which human civilization is founded. I cannot even begin to imagine the chaos as system after intertwined system succumbs to noise. Electricity, agriculture, water — all the things which we in our overpriced utopia take for granted. Gone — or at least massively disrupted and available to the rich and the well-armed. No more middle class.
Still, it all seems like so little. I read about the world’s growing demand for energy, thrill at the prospect of hybrid cars which I can’t yet afford, and am even being swayed by “green” arguments in favor of nuclear energy and GM crops (which could minimize the footprint of agriculture). But it seems it is just a drop in the bucket. My meager efforts may put me towards the low middle range of typical American consumption levels — still far higher than that in most of the world. And every time I bring my recycling out to be picked up I’m mentally computing the millions upon millions of households which consume more and don’t recycle at all. Then I wonder about the efficacy of recycling at all…
Well, it helped to get that out at least. Thanks Internet!