World on Fire
"My God! we've done it." I screamed to Jeanelle.
"What honey?" she says.
"We've actually done it."
"It says here that, according to the most recent observations, the north pole is now an ocean, it is officially ice free all but a few months during the middle of winter. It's now like the Great Lakes used to be before they stopped freezing over."
"But aren't the Great Lakes shrinking?"
"Yes, because the lack of ice doesn't cap the evaporation during the winter."
"But that's old news, this is huge honey."
In true form, the next day the national news ministry reported the good news.
"Ice Free Arctic Improves Global Sea Routes"
This was pretty much standard these days. Once it became abundantly clear that Humankind was changing the climate with its emissions of carbon from our cars and power plants, and that the political powers that be "would not", or rather "could not" put in place carbon tax policies that would curb the emissions and move us to another age, "a solar age", so to speak, the news channelers of the 3 remaining news services decided (or were told) to coordinate the news about the coming disaster with the news ministry.
Rather than deal with the issue, it was determined by the "corporate carbon elite" that it would be better to continue to obfuscate or as they saw it "massage the truth".
After all, there were lots of people who were losing their lives now to the change in climate for lots of reasons. Starvation in Africa had moved like a black plague into southern Asia, picking off several million victims a year. Malaria was moving up from the mid tropics into the upper latitudes causing a 10 fold increase in world malaria deaths. Over-heating in formerly cool climes like Paris and Chicago had brought heat stroke deaths to the point that they took over as the leading cause of death in males and females over 70. Even in our rich town, due to crazy weather issues, certain fruits and meats were now only available at the elite super stores which required a government classification to enter.
I remember well how the Chicago over-heating story was spun as a "new prosperous market opportunity" for window air conditioners.
My friend Lanny was in the news ministry, and Jeanelle and I would argue with him about the new disinformation policies over dinner.
"We cannot possibly tell the truth," Lanny would say.
"Last year, 100 million people died from climate change and the number is growing by 20% a year. Do you really think the national security force could keep law and order if everyone in the black lined areas knew that their children would likely not be able to survive past Jr. High, and that their own ability to survive would soon be doubtful unless they have been selected to be in the designated protected green zones?
"It would be chaos", he said.
Jeanelle and I were still working on a daily basis, hoping to get folks awakened out of their sleep walking states. We were still moving those folks who did seem awake down to the pueblos, sort of a peoples' green zone.
But here in the states, it was as if there was a thick cloud of stupid in the air. Eight out of ten on the street were seemingly innoculated with some kind of info-shield that kept them from seeing what had happened to them. Most of them still believed that our problems were caused by the terrorists who had managed to disrupt the world economy. They had their plasma screens and their mega-sports events, and they still had their beer and their freeze dried pizza pies.
"According to this report, the Greenland sheet is now slipping by a mile a day." I said.
The disinformation specialists from the national news ministry would answer this story and every other story of catastrophic climate change with the response that "the carbon and methane that was being released was primarily coming from nature, and not from human burning", and that there was "nothing that could be done". They would always end their stories with the reminder that the continued use of coal and oil, and our dangerously aged fleet of nuclear reactors was the only way to maintain even the limited prosperity that remained.
And they were right, at least on the first point.
Our burning was the match,
the match that set the World on Fire.