Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Balloon of Perception

As I was walking out of the restaurant today, a local well known architect was eating an even later lunch at the bar. He pointed to a picture of a barren desert in the newspaper.

"What's that" I said.

"The Everglades" he said. "And still people don't believe in Global Warming."

I walked out saying, "What scares me is What it WILL take".

One of the hallmarks of climate change is not just change, it is an increase in extreme weather events. Clearly,the southeast is suffering a record drought that is threatening Atlanta's water supply. But on the other side of the earth, China is seeing a record snowstorm even as it hits 80 degrees here today. Here is part of the story from Bloomberg:

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- China's heaviest snowstorms in five decades crushed homes, grounded flights, disrupted electricity and left hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded, a week before millions take to the roads for Lunar New Year holidays.

As many as 5 percent of China's coal-fired power plants, which generate 78 percent of electricity, were shut because snow hampered coal shipments, the National Development and Reform Commission said today. Zhuzhou Smelter Group Co., China's largest zinc refiner, said shortages forced it to cut production.

More than a foot (34 centimeters) of snow fell yesterday in Nanjing in the east, the city's heaviest in 50 years, halting air and rail service, in turn delaying a third of ensuing flights in Beijing and Shanghai and throwing national train service into chaos. Military police kept order at the Beijing railway station today, where 400,000 passengers were stranded. clip

The bitter winter weather has hit at the peak of the biggest human migration on earth, when hundreds of millions of people head home to spend the Chinese lunar new year holiday, which falls next Thursday, with their families. more

According to the UN, extreme events are way on the rise:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Rising food prices and extreme weather are sparking more humanitarian disasters around the world, the United Nations' top official for emergency relief warned on Tuesday.

Fourteen out of 15 U.N. "flash appeals" for help last year were a response to devastation caused by droughts, floods and hurricanes, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said.

"That is five more than in any other year," Holmes said during a visit to European Union headquarters in Brussels.

"We are seeing them (disasters) increase in intensity and number," he told a news conference, saying weather events could not always be directly linked with climate change."

No, not always, but definitely sometimes.

The news in the geographic state of the United States will be centered on Florida tonight, but not its everglades. And the media will continue to treat climate change as an unsettled news story that the jury is still out on.

How long can a people, an empire go on living inside the boundaries of its own neural network, unable to see outside of its balloon of perception?

How long can a people be led by power seeking baffoons?

Pretty long I think.

It is said by the wisest of our kind,

that we can only see what we are,

that the observer is the observed.

No wonder we must become the change

we wish the world to become.

And small wonder that change cannot be seen,

until that change,

changes you.


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Blogger oZ said...

I made a small change to the end to make it more readable on Wed PM

4:58 PM  

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