[On Sundays, this blog looks beyond career in “Sabbath.”]
Rain, Rain, Go Away?
It might rain today. The key word is might. We’ve had some great weather in Chicago lately, sunny, warm, even hot at times. What we haven’t had is rain. Over the next week, high temperatures are expected to range from the low 80s to near 100. What isn’t predicted? Rain.
Last week I wrote about a frost that will affect fruit trees. That’s bad, but we’ve dealt with frosts in the past. I think what we’re seeing now is different and much worse. A frost affects us for one year. Prices go up and down. What if we have less precipitation or more erratic precipitation? That will change how we live – if we live.
A few weeks ago, farmers in the Midwest were predicting disaster if they didn’t get rain. It didn’t rain. While the media ignores this story, common sense says that we will literally pay for this “good weather.” Food prices have jumped over the last couple of years. Why? It’s harder to grow food. It costs more to irrigate fields when there is no rain. Farmers pay the price, and, then, like any business person, they pass the cost along to us.
For several years now, we’ve seen less snow during the winter. Or, when it does snow, we get hit by a blizzard, not a steady volume. The same can be said for rain. Storms now drop more water in a faster time, which doesn’t help plants grow because less moisture sinks into the ground. Water pools and then evaporates, which is only good for mosquitoes.
I’d say this is an important story, except very few people are talking about. We’ve been trained to accept changes in the climate as natural. We’ve been trained not to trust our eyes and memory. I don’t watch TV much anymore, but, a few weeks ago, during a baseball game, I saw a commercial from a group advocating for U.S. coal. The ad mocked the occupy movement and said that using coal was good for the country and good for jobs. Last year, BP produced commercials with happy, smiling people (actors?) from the Gulf states praising the company for all the good things it did in bringing the region back. It never mentioned that BP was involved in the Deep Horizon oil spill. They didn’t want us to remember that, so it’s time to write a new history.
I really don’t blame corporations, think tanks, or politicians for the failure to deal with climate change. I blame myself and my neighbors across the globe. We can see simple things: It’s not raining. Summers are hotter than they’ve ever been. Wildfires burn for weeks. Still, we do nothing. Most scientists have accepted global warming as a man-made problem. But we don’t listen to scientists anymore. They ask us to think. Commercials ask us to obey, and we in the land of the free are much better at obeying than thinking.
Why don’t we ask why it isn’t raining? Because it’s more fun to tweet about all things Kardashian. Because we have come to think of politics as a game with winners and losers. Because we have become consumers who buy instead of citizens who sacrifice. Most importantly, because we have become self-absorbed and selfish, seldom thinking about our neighbors or future generations. We will get the future we deserve, and I fear that it will be very ugly – and dry.