Friday, December 14, 2018

What Do The Trees Say About Climate Change?

As I sit bundled up and sipping my hot coffee, I watch and listen to the cold north wind blusteringly tear at the limbs of the Schumard oak trees outside my window. I note that their leaves are vibrating violently and, though mostly red, are stubbornly refusing to completely change colors. So, I leaf back in time through the pages of my Dia•rio and note that, in years past, these very same trees have not remained quite so green for so long. This causes me to recall the recent Christmas card from a family friend living in Alaska, whose ancestors have been there since before anybody ever heard of Jack London. She wrote that their winter storms’ temperatures were not as severe as they used to be. In me, this triggers visions of melting permafrost resulting in thermokarstic flows and accompanied by increasing methane release. This triggers the recent memory of a different family friend launching into a defensive and well rehearsed diatribe about Al Gore and how global warming is a hoax. Sheesh! She’s the one who brought up the subject of global warming ‘out of the blue’. A nice lady, but she probably needs to read about the greenhouse effect. You can’t deny global warming without first denying the physics of the greenhouse effect:

Well, it’s time to go downstairs and get another cup of hot coffee. In the past, I’d have been sitting in the neighborhood coffee shop at this time of day reading the newspaper and sipping freshly brewed coffee. But, they got kicked out after being in the same location since 1987 by a Californian outfit that wanted something ‘bright and shiny’ in that location. The replacement coffee shop calls themselves a ‘coffee bar’ and sells “coffee drinks”. That means the fresh brewed coffee itself is subpar; but, you can’t tell because of the flavorings and sweeteners. The old coffee shop sold the same kinds of coffee drinks and had an excellent reputation for both the coffee itself and the add ons. The difference is that one looks like a 1950s bus terminal while the other looked and felt like a coffee shop, even though both seated equal numbers of people. The new venue’s atmosphere does not encourage one to linger, thus rotating more people thru. Thus, no hard copy newspapers sold, nor are customer conversations to be found in the new establishment; only subdued and downwardly tilted heads focused on bright and shiny electronic screens. 

Note: Even the newspaper that I used to read there has lost its depth since it was bought out by a larger corporate interest and has resorted to more outsourcing and deceptive gimmicks to boost subscriptions. They are adrift in a world where an increasing number of people get their news via social media that’s driven by algorithms and questionable sources. And though newspapers depend upon advertising dollars to stay afloat, most popular online news sources depend entirely upon advertising dollars, hence the phenomenon of ‘clickbait news’.

So, in which direction does your news feed lean as to whether or not global warming is real? It tends to depend upon your past online activities. Your device is tracked, your preferences catalogued and you categorized. We all tend to live in bit more and more of a bubble where we are ‘sold’ down the river.

P.S.- My trees and the community gardening center club members who witness the lengthening of growing seasons all say the climate is warming, and those who comprehend 8th grade level Earth Science know that it’s because of the greenhouse effect — global warming is real.