Armageddon

Trinidad in a blood fog, Sept. 8, 2020. Photo: Susan Tissot.

A record amount of California is burning, spurred by a nearly 20-year mega-drought. … Death Valley hit 130 degrees in mid-August, the hottest Earth has been in nearly a century. …But experts believe we’ll probably look back and say those were the good old days.

Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

The orange-red sun glows in the crimson fog. Ash rains down, the smell of smoke hangs on the air. The raucous crows, silent. The streets are sparse, only a few walking cautiously with black face masks, looking sinister. The setting for a futuristic dystopian scientific fiction novel? Unfortunately no, it’s now.The future of our nightmares is with us. Armageddon? Not yet. This is the beginning.

I’ll keep this brief. Few have an attention span longer than 15 seconds these days, everyone buried in deep thought. Stunned by how much their world had suddenly changed. Wondering when life will return to normal. The answer: never. We have passed a threshold and there’s no going back. Is this the new normal? No, it will get worse.

Climate change..is smacking California in the face.

Thomas Fuller and Christopher Flavelle, NY Times

It didn’t have to be this way. Many scientists, myself included, have been warning those responsible for protecting us from these calamities for decades. I published papers in the 90s, wrote op-eds in the 00s, blogged in the 10s. I lectured to my students and the public for 30 years, telling anyone who would listen about the dangers on the horizon. Sure, many would recycle, bike and walk instead of driving, minimize air travel, and other sacrifices. But it was all in vain. No one with the power to change our trajectory cared. To many, scientists were view as part of a socialist conspiracy, threatening to take away your cars, your electricity, your hard-fought freedoms. But it was an honest warning of what would come. Of the world we now live in. What we didn’t see was how the effects might pile up, overlap, and trigger or amplify each other.

This summer has seen more fires, more heat, more storms — all of it making life increasingly untenable in larger areas of the nation. Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable.

Abrahm Lustgarten, NY Times

Pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, droughts, acid oceans, extinctions, rising sea levels, heat waves. For many years we didn’t know how it would play out. But now we do: all from our warming earth, from climate change. Massive climate migrations have begun, adding to the upheaval. Again, this is just the beginning. Can you imagine our world 30 years from now, 100? What world are are leaving for our children and future generations? It scares me to think of it. It’s not too late to improve our future. But we are running out of time. The future is now.

Here’s how to make a difference:

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