Yes, another doom-and-gloom post. Given my hand-wringing to follow, it may seem a bit hypocritical for me to fault hyper-righteous religious bigots for their hand-wringing over gay marriage, but I do so mostly because of their conviction that gays and feminists and liberals are the cause of natural disasters, which to their evangelical eyes are punishments from God for sinful permissiveness. (Let me refer you, gentle reader, to my religiously-based counter-assertion to this entire idea here.)

But still, I flatter myself that my hand-wringing has at least some basis in science, and the only judging I do is — OK, fine, I seem to end up comparing the entire human race to locusts quite a bit these days. But at least I'm not singling out vulnerable populations, right? (I do not count wealthy narcissistic over-indulgers as "vulnerable," by the way.) Anyway, while I try to confine myself to worrying about real problems stemming from real causes, I have been wrong before, and at least once rather spectacularly so (i.e., my firm belief that Y2K could possibly lead to The End of Technology… but hey, the Red Cross was grateful for the generator I donated when we moved to France the next year!).

I am an admitted catastrophile, which in addition to my hyper-religious background puts me in a reasonable position to understand several facets of the eschatological mindset, in particular how exciting and dangerously titillating the End Times can be. Yes, it is scary but also energizing to be engaged in a battle against evil, especially when people are convinced that they are fighting on the right side. And when the overarching cause is heavenly, so what if the tactics used are devilish? (The ends do indeed justify the means for so many, it seems.) Preparing for the battle is nearly as exciting as actually engaging in it!

Of course, my catastrophism is no longer religious in nature, but it is probably good that I got caught up in Y2K-ism back in the day so that I am less prone to go all-out in trying to do something about my current concerns about the many-headed manifestations of climate change. (This assumes that I can figure out exactly what makes sense to do, apart from trying to pressure lawmakers and doing my wee bit to recycle, and so on.)

This article was the impetus for this little blog entry. "Fish Out of Water" is a pretty reliable source for information about sea temperatures rising and polar ice melting, and this latest bit of documented news is… sobering. Per my comment on Fish's story, I've been watching the wind map as Ireland and the UK have been getting clobbered repeatedly by big storms. I've also taken to keeping an eye on the California Drought Monitor. Little wonder that the saints have been praying for "moisture."

Oh, I do think it's going to take more than just prayer to deal with the droughts in the western U.S. and in Australia and all (even if the saints and evangelicals repent of saying "moisture" and start praying for rain and snow in drought areas instead). My biggest concern is that there are so many people living such ordinary lives from day to day, contributing our own tiny, seemingly inconsequential bits to the overall problem, that we simply and catastrophically will not be able to act in a concerted manner as a species to stop destroying our biosphere. We seem to be crossing more and more thresholds at an accelerating pace.

I don't have answers… and even were it a good idea, we aren't in any position at present to be building and stocking our own Survival Fortress.


Update, 18.02.14: Science published a study (as it turns out, back in Nov. 2006!) that says that unless we change our ways now, there will be no saltwater fish left in the oceans by 2048. Why do I think we haven't changed our ways at all since then? Mon frickin' Dieu.