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A Moment of Climate Despair

A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby Azothius » Fri 18 Jun 2021, 11:52:16

I have been aware of the onset of Global Warming, and concerned about its consequences, since at least 1995.

My first experience of "climate despair" that I remember occurred in 2008 when we had 70 degree weather here in central Minnesota in November.

I was doing a "Medicine Walk" in a Scientific and Natural Area that protects 200 year old sugar maple trees, when the full import of catastrophic climate change came crashing down upon me. I of course had no way of knowing whether or not the temperature that day was due to simple weather variability or if it was somehow linked to the destabilization of the jet stream due to the effects of global warming, or whatever. But the warmth that late in the year was just so aberrant that I was brought to a place where I grokked, clearly "saw", deeply felt the consequences, and sensed the "imminentcy" of a ruined planet.

Catching up on my reading on this site on threads like Drought, Heatwaves, Sea Level Rise, I had to agree with jedrider's comment that it seems that, "CC is now going to start it's full court press..."

I found myself looking at the U'S Drought Monitor map once more, and then looking at these air temperature anomaly maps put me over the edge:

Image

Image

Not that these sorts of heat waves have never happened before, but the image just so graphically depicts an overheated planet with cold pockets chaotically interspersed.

It's often said that monitoring climate change is like watching a slow moving train wreck, but at moment's like these it feels more like we're accelerating into a black hole.

The moment has passed and now I'm just reflecting upon "things". No doubt if the arctic sea ice melt were to take a dire turn this year, or if other factors worsen, I could be facing another moment.

Usually I'm in a "monitoring and concerned" mental and emotional state, as I imagine others of you are who post on this site. But I"m curious, I would like to hear your stories of the moments that you deeply felt for the earth and humanity as you pondered the effects of climate change.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 18 Jun 2021, 18:31:18

I was sort of aware of climate change but not fully “awake” to it until listening to Bill McKibben in 2009 or so.

I don’t see a lot of change, but ai see change. And I understand that the change is slow in coming, delayed, and cumulative.

What has me down is that, in my view, CC is just one of a suite of man made events each about as destructive as the other.

IMHO we are headed for a near extinction bottle neck, at best, within the next few hundred years.

It t feels like a gigantic meteorite is on a solid collision course with Earth. And I am a particle on that meteorite.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby dissident » Sat 19 Jun 2021, 01:21:42

It is clear that a lot of people barely aware of this subject believe that warming has to be uniform around the planet and in particular around their house for it to be "real". The above images show a problem that will be hammering humans in the decades to come. That is concentrated temperature anomalies that are much higher locally than the global average. So a "small" global warming will be producing damaging heat waves that will destroy crops and damage infrastructure as well as kill people directly. Not mass death of course. We wouldn't want to be alarmist.

The above images also highlight the crisis in the cryosphere. High latitude warming anomalies are intense and this acts to melt permafrost and release CH4 and CO2. At this stage wasting time discussing "variability" is detached from reality. Variability is constrained by the energy content of the ocean-atmosphere-land system. Temperatures cannot amplify arbitrarily by sucking in the heat from every corner of the planet. The growth in the variability envelope is governed by the thermal energy accumulating in the system.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 19 Jun 2021, 08:51:25

I wonder why religious people aren't there ahead of you? I am religious. I am not a fundamentalist. It is the fundamentalist portion of my ilk that drive the non-recognition of the reality of climate change. They keep saying that God promised the world wouldn't be destroyed again. Because of that they use deliberate will, not the truth, to see the reality they believe in.

If you put facts in front of them, they will lose focus. They do it on purpose. When they have to deal with any sort of cognitive dissonance they don't problem solve, evaluating their original position for error. They engage in the act of shutting down. That's how it works. They don't really listen to those who tell them otherwise. The bible told us to listen to each other over these things. We don't have to come away agreeing, but we are supposed to listen. Well, the rest of us don't necessarily agree. He promised He wouldn't destroy the world. He never promised that He wouldn't let us do it.

You may have guessed that I have a problem with other religious people. As much as I refuse to judge them, I cut people so much slack over how they behave, I despair when I look for results from exposure to the truth. I can see the whole story as one of us growing up as we mature as a people. Eventually, we will get to the point where we get past needing some small family or little group to give us a sense of purpose. That way of thinking always leads to those not in the group being reduced to something less than those who are in the group. Ultimately, though, this is not about a subset, but about all of humanity. Just like you have to include women in drug trials, if you want to really know what a drug does to everyone, the world we live in has to be developed by everyone. You can't stand around pontificating about how others don't see it like you do, and rest upon a story that could only ever stretch as far as the ground you are standing on.

What happens with climate change and conservative religious people is that they agree to see the world their way, and then they reinforce all of their talking points to each other. I know the behavior. I've watched them do the same thing over domestic violence issues and child abuse issues. I've watched the far right in the church preach racism and elite privilege. Maybe there are elite people, but I think those people mostly are elite because they went through one struggle or another, not because they just happen to agree with you. The funny thing is, these very people complain the most about any other social group that has any taint of elitism. Watch out for them. They want total political and social control. Everything they do in the name of their in-group they perceive as doing in God's name. If only they had any idea what was on God's mind? But that sort of soul searching, that sort of humility, that ability to live in loss and still live well is not a part of them. They don't want to be children of God, they want to be God.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby Pops » Thu 01 Jul 2021, 08:16:54

Azothius wrote:But I"m curious, I would like to hear your stories of the moments that you deeply felt for the earth and humanity as you pondered the effects of climate change.

We recently returned to the west coast for a few years. I had always wanted a little period house in one of the old gold rush era towns in the Sierras. I grew up in the foothills and central valley, and walked all over the Sierras as a teenager.

We took a trip with some of the grandkids up to the high country around Yosemite. The forest is dead in vast swaths due to prolonged drought, pine beetles and fire. I felt empty inside, sort of lonely.

Granddaughter sent some pictures of her boys fishing for plants on the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus river the other day. All I could focus on was background of dead and burnt trees. I wonder if there will be any forest left by the time they have kids?
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby jedrider » Thu 01 Jul 2021, 10:51:15

I didn't know about climate change until Al Gore popularized it when he ran for President in 2000. I was really living under a rock before then.

In my ignorance, I immediately thought that the World must do something, even if that meant we could only get an additional 20 years of 'normalcy' before all 'hell' would break loose. I didn't know anything back then.

After studying CC for twenty years now, I hark back to my initial feeling of doom, so correct, out of so much ignorance.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby Heineken » Wed 14 Jul 2021, 10:31:43

"Climate despair"---I like that term. Reminds me very much of the despair many of us were feeling when we thought that we faced doom within a decade or two because of peak oil. Although I no longer feel that the latter issue is a big threat to humanity, the looming climate armageddon has replaced it and dwarfed it.
Despair happens when you come to believe a hugely bad thing is not avoidable. Yes, that's how I feel now. For me, the despair has arisen only in the last couple of years with the very palpable changes in the weather/climate. Even as a kid I was aware of warming winters and "the greenhouse effect, as we called it then. But I didn't feel directly threatened as I and my wife do now.
I think that the public's perception is in a state of enormous flux. Awareness will continue to dawn, driven by ever hotter summers and damage like fires and rising food prices, and it will lead to major behavioral changes. And a spreading panic will begin to weaken civilization's underpinnings===our institutions. I think that the Trump phenomenon is a symptom of the conflict going on in the public mind over global warming.
I find the associations between peak oil and global warming ironic. One disaster has segued into another, and helped to cause it.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby JuanP » Wed 14 Jul 2021, 11:08:12

I wish I could speak of a moment of climate despair, but what I've lived is a lifetime of environmental despair. I wish it could have been just a moment of climate despair; I envy those who have only experienced that. I am so grateful I had a Vasectomy and no children when I observe what humans are doing to our only home.

There are no words that can describe my despair.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby jedrider » Wed 14 Jul 2021, 14:45:51

Pops wrote:
Azothius wrote:But I"m curious, I would like to hear your stories of the moments that you deeply felt for the earth and humanity as you pondered the effects of climate change.

We recently returned to the west coast for a few years. I had always wanted a little period house in one of the old gold rush era towns in the Sierras. I grew up in the foothills and central valley, and walked all over the Sierras as a teenager.

We took a trip with some of the grandkids up to the high country around Yosemite. The forest is dead in vast swaths due to prolonged drought, pine beetles and fire. I felt empty inside, sort of lonely.

Granddaughter sent some pictures of her boys fishing for plants on the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus river the other day. All I could focus on was background of dead and burnt trees. I wonder if there will be any forest left by the time they have kids?


You need to visit the Eureka area. The Redwood Forests there are doing just fine. For how much longer, I don't know though, as this years drought and heat has been exceptional. But, to refresh the soul, it was good to see. Yes, Yosemite is seeing the semi-desert migrating in elevation until the forest will be mostly gone.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jul 2021, 15:40:13

I pretty much subscribe to indifferentalism (not to be confused with "indifferentist"), which is the realization that the universe and the planet are utterly indifferent to our existence. Millions of species have had their shot on Planet Earth, most have come and gone, and that we humans can contemplate our existence, all-the-while contributing to our eventual fate, means little to time and space. I suppose that is the opposite of an "exeptionalist" who somehow believes humans are created and ordained by God in His image and all that bullshit. Indeed, considering humans' track record in how they treat other species and each other, and the planet in general, I find it hard to conclude that we, collectively, are deserving of anything other than the fate we ourselves make. Doesn't look good at this point.
Do not despair. The Planet, and Universe will be just fine with or without us. We are what we are: nasty exploitative creatures, just trying to survive while at the same time ensuring our demise. Everything else is just crap we made up.
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Re: A Moment of Climate Despair

Unread postby Pops » Wed 14 Jul 2021, 17:34:25

jedrider wrote:You need to visit the Eureka area. The Redwood Forests there are doing just fine. For how much longer, I don't know though, as this years drought and heat has been exceptional. But, to refresh the soul, it was good to see. Yes, Yosemite is seeing the semi-desert migrating in elevation until the forest will be mostly gone.

I always liked visiting Eureka, we looked when we were there but we just can't afford the coast anymore, not and stay sane anyway.
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