Monday, March 28, 2005

Belief Belief

More than 13 years ago

I came back from a UN meeting on Climate Change

all jazzed about the coming Global Treaty on Climate Change.

It was just before the big Earth Conference in Rio.

I did a few interviews on TV and I visited with a few reporters.

I specifically remember visiting with one reporter off the record

about what happens to you when you really do believe

that Climate Change is happening.

Once you truly believe that your generation is making decisions

that will effect all of the generations that follow

and their ability to live on this planet

you begin to, well, take it kind of seriously, I told her.

The reporter just looked at me with one of those looks

that they give when they realize that they are in the presence of a zealot.


One Sunday, many years back, when I lived in the country,

on the edge of a oak and pine forest,

I was outside, probably just trimming a few trees

when I noticed that the light was turning kind of red.

Everything had a funny copper sheen to it.

I looked to the West and thought maybe the sky was a little overcast.

I started walking back into the forest and down the hill.

As I walked through the thick brush,

I began to smell smoke, and then I began to hear it.

It was a forest fire.

It was all around me now and blowing straight toward my house.

My heart leaped out of my chest as I sprung into action.

I ran up to the house, and told my wife to call the fire department.

I got out the sprinklers and started to moisten my house

and the area around it.

I grabbed a shovel and a hoe and I ran back down the hill

to fight the fire.

In a little while, the firemen came with a plow

that turned the earth into a firebreak effectively and quickly.

Another truck came loaded with water.

Within a hour or so, the danger had passed.

My wife believed there was a fire.

The dispatcher believed there was fire.

The firemen believed there was a fire.

And we put out the fire.

We may believe that Climate Change is real.

We may believe that Peak Oil is real.

We may believe that a collapsing dollar is imminent.

We may know that 3 carrier groups are headed for Iran,

and we may believe that a blockade of Iran is imminent.

But do we leap into action to protect our family?

our house,

our home,

and our future?

No.

And that's the reason that they don't believe it either.

Because we don't believe it.

If we did.

We would start the water.

We would call for help.

We would fight the fire.

We would build

an Earthfamily.

We would think of nothing else.

Until the danger had passed.

It's called belief belief.




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8 Comments:

Anonymous sb said...

I'm sending this one to my lists tomorrow.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is way cool. thanks

5:16 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

my x reminded me today that she helped put out the fire by filling her boots with water.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous bqparler said...

I'm not up to your blog, Oz, but this is excellent poetry. Thanks for the tip about the Web.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying that other issues at this point are simply diversions? I think we must work where we can.

6:49 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

yes, they are diversions and yes, we must work on all fronts. A forest fire is composed of hundreds of small fires.

But the firebreak was the most effective.

We don't have to worry about Social Security insolvency if Peak Oil and Climate Change and a devalued dollar have completely left a charred burned out political and social economic landscape.

12:21 PM  
Blogger StagirasGhost said...

Among certain circles, I am an apologist. The following anecdote is an example of such, for completely different reasons.

I recently received a telephone call from a high school friend. We played golf against one another as we were students at rival high schools. We happened to be members of an elite group of junior golfers hand-picked by local golf professionals. The "Top Guns" congregated once every week at the premiere area golf club. In order to afford the "privilege" I worked at the golf club. My friend's father was a member so he was a member, and he would help me with my job duties, gratis, just before the sun went down so we could get out and play. Our friendship took precedent over any tension as competitors. We got drunk together, chased girls together, smoked our first joint together, and soent countless hours assisting one another in developing our competitive edge. Some of my fondest memories are of this place, under the sun, fluidly swinging a seven iron, dead solid perfect.

So he calls me up one evening and lets me know that the course (that he now works at as an assistant golf professional,) is temporarily closing because the superintendant of the course has persuaded the golf association to rip up the turf that composes the greens, to replace it with a grass varietal more resistent to Summer heat. Apparently, the current greens, after 30 glorious years, are dying. Said superintendant composed a lengthy report of over 100 pages chronicling the history of the course, the history of the weather in this particular micro-region, chronicling pretty much everything that directly effects the object of his job--glorified lawn maintenance. He came to the conclusion that the bent grass varietal currently planted on the greens is untennable in light of recent weather changes in this particular micro-region. Said changes have created new bacterial clusters that attack the grass consequently causing the greens to look and feel like a slimy sponge. The areas not effected by the bacteria simply burn, only to crust like the cherry of a slow burn cigarette. This obviously effects the purpose for a golf course--a course without functioning greens is like a person without a fully functioning brain.

The remedy is apparently a tiff-dwarf grass, a hybrid grass varietal that can withstand the kind of heat and humidity experienced in the Summer months, up to 150 degrees at 90% humidity. This varietal was created at Texas A&M and has been planted all over the United States, Southeast Asia, and South America, primarily at golf courses.

The course is closing for six months and will force the membership to play on temporary greens for no less than nine months. It will probably cost the membership just under a million dollars, but this expenditure will ensure that the membership has green, "healthy" grass to play on for the next 100 years (short of a nuclear detonation directly over the course.)

The conclusions of this real-life anecdote are obvious, but suffice it to say that climate change is real. As it continues to effect life in suburbia and abroad, the economic influences and the sharp rise in biological consequence will foment a new kind of change. Let's just hope that people are not satisfied with a new kind of grass.

Who knows, maybe golf in the future will look like a moon landing--fit with solar/radiation resistent suits and special micro-fiber, super-polymer plastic grass. If so, God help us.

8:44 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

thanks for the comment SG and others. thanks SB for sending this one out. do it some more.

8:48 PM  

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