It’s the best description I can come up with regarding the climate change debate and appalling lack of action. I suppose it’s easier to fight over the proper term (global warming vs. climate change) than face the unpleasant (unsettling) reality. For those not familiar with the saying… though Nero was a cruel, unpopular Roman emperor, turns out he wasn’t even in Rome (35 miles away) during that famous city destroying fire, and the fiddle wasn’t invented until 1,500 years later.
Still, the idea is there, perfectly capturing an uncaring, won’t affect me attitude.
It’s what we, all of us, are doing to this planet. And in case you haven’t noticed, Mother Nature is not all that happy right now, and she’s signaling her distress in many ways for all to see. Of course being the maternal sort, she’s trying to give us the lesson gently, let us come to the key understanding on our own. Except that we’re still too busy arguing about what to call it to actually do anything about it.
Once nature was a major part of everyday life. People rose with the sun, lived and died on the success of crops and livestock, had tied celebrations to the change of seasons, comfortably co-existing with the world around them. Then progress came along, got a foothold and we’ve never looked back. Today people live as apart from nature as you can get.
But that’s progress, and progress is good. Or not.
Now we use apps on handheld devices to check the weather, we watch the fronts move on satellite images and head out for the staples, milk, bread, toilet paper, liquor and prescriptions at the least provocation. We curse the weathermen but hang on their every word. We talk about weather all the time, but have you ever stopped to think about the (far superior) forces at Nature’s command?
- Snowfall can paralyze a city, take out power, slow, even stop travel so our modern machines become useless.
- Heat waves are one of the most lethal forms of weather.
- Bolts of lightening (each with millions of volts of electricity) strike the Earth every second, even as you read this.
- A hurricane can have wind speeds up to 160 mph, and drop 2.4 trillion gallons of rain in a single day. When a storm like this hits, there’s a storm surge of 20 feet that might extend a hundred miles.
- The Mt. St. Helen’s volcanic eruption in 1988 was the equal of 1,600 times the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Lava flows at a toasty 2,000 degrees F.
- Tornado winds have the fury and destructive power to take down large buildings, lift 20 ton railroad cars off the tracks and make even small objects deadly projectiles. They can move at astonishing speeds of from 30 to as high as 70 mph.
- Earthquakes can flatten even the biggest, tallest buildings, rip open major roads while also triggering landslides, fires, floods or tsunamis that kill and ruin.
- Once triggered, a tsunami can travel up to 700 kilometers an hour over the open ocean, and upon reaching the shallows they slow, built up to over 30 meters tall. The one in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killed nearly a quarter of a million people in 14 countries.
Are you sensing a theme here? The forces of Nature are incredibly destructive — they can halt our progress, make our technology useless and wipe any trace we ever existed off the face of the earth. Think The Day After Tomorrow, a climate fiction disaster film from 2004. Those people learned a lesson about Mother Nature — if we, the human race, become too much of a threat, too uncaring about this fragile, beautiful place we call home, Nature might be forced to remove us from the equation.
Our only hope is to STOP arguing over what to call it and START doing something about it.
Focus people — how can we help Mother Nature? We’ve put a man on the moon, phones in every hand, . Can’t we do something to send all those greenhouse gases harmlessly into space? Give the brightest minds this problem, the resources they need and a bit of time to work it all out. Then listen to what they say and act on it.
P.S. If any 2016 Presidential candidate is reading — Here’s your priority for the election. Explain climate change so everyone understands. Make easing these affects your top priority. And then follow through.