The way I feel the power of nature has changed. It might be a change in me, aging or temperance, something like that. But at 105 degrees F in New York City this summer, and with storms that felt like they were blowing the windows in when they came, I think the change in how I feel has something to do with the weather.
Some call it global warming, some call it climate change, I call it feeling the power of nature. In the face of overwhelming power, people experience reactions from pleasure to awe to fear.
Remember the scientific method from school days? Problem, hypothesis, method, results, discussion and conclusions? I’ve taken comfort in the scientific method for many years as a way to tease apart things that baffle me, from plants to human behavior. But when it comes to the power of nature felt in global warming, science has failed me. We have a problem, we had a hypothesis about increased pollution trapping the heat on earth, we had results that supported this reasoning, but we fell apart in the discussion and conclusion sections.
I’m not sure where we missed the whole point, which was to do something about the pollution before we tipped over into the “it’s really quite too late” place.
In last week’s discussion at the Brecht Forum in NYC on Environmental Dangers and Science as a Hammer for Change, I was reminded that science as a tool has failed dramatically when it comes to the environment. The tragedy of the Dust Bowl in the US for example, was predicted by scientists of the time. Yet scientists could not move people to take steps to avert the disaster. Here we are again, with global warming. With a 1.8 degree F, and 1 degree C rise causing melting of polar ice, increase in extreme severe weather, and a new pattern of water in the atmosphere bypassing our areas of drought and deluging our areas of flood, the evidence of global warming’s devastation is everywhere.
I used to predict rain when I lived in the Bronx, from the sounds of the distant rain falling on the trees of the Botanical Garden on its way to me. I would say “come on, come on” and look forward to the storm arriving, waiting on the steps outside my apartment. I was fascinated by the thunder, the lightning, the sheets of rain around me. Freaked out my family a bit when the rain would come, who thought I might be some sort of witch in secret. Science is like that, it can seem like witchcraft but it isn’t, really. It is prediction based on observations. Science can seem like magic when the methods are not fully disclosed and the measures are not well understood. The more we open up and show the method of science, the less it will be mistrusted. And I hope, the more it’s predictions might be heard.
To prepare for the Brecht Forum session, I watched “The 11th Hour” from Leonardo DiCaprio with interviews of many scientists from all disciplines discussing the evidence for global warming and the need to reduce pollution. A video of DiCaprio talking about his documentary is here:
So now, I don’t call in storms any longer. I fear severe weather with a dread as powerful as my fascination used to be. Now when I hear the storm coming, I’m inside, I’m closing the windows, I’m waiting.
How do you feel and what do you do in the face of extreme weather?
Please leave a comment, I’ll look forward to sharing views here.
We have worshiped the sun in various forms with many names for ages in the pantheon of gods. Now is a time for action, so our gods do not become our demons.
You may also be interested in:
DEATH AND THE DREAM, short stories from J.J.Brown available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79628 as an ebook edition distributed by Smashwords. The paperback edition is coming soon.