Wednesday, August 1, 2012

D'Earth

Priests in a village in India have officiated over a wedding between two frogs, Punarvasu and Pushala, hoping that it would end the terrible drought and bring on monsoon rains. It was by all accounts an arranged affair, although no objection from the celebrants was reported. The frogs were decorated with flowers and anointed with oil of turmeric and generally done up to the nines. Other than the fact that no one could keep the cummerbund from slipping, most agreed that the nuptials went off splendidly. It is not known whether or not the effort was enough to budge the monsoon schedule.

But at least they're trying, which shows that India is way ahead of us. Not only do we not have a working roster of eligible amphibians, but we officially refuse to recognize that we're in deep shit, climate-wise. Those who suggest that we might be are being scorned as alarmists. Which is true, in the same sense that people are alarmists who yell "fire" in a crowded theater. That happens to be on fire.

Because right now, we're in the same position the dinosaurs were, when it dawned on them that they should never have gotten into the asteroid-manufacturing business. They never did? Then this is very different.

Senator James Inhofe, having studied the numbers ($509,250 in donations from the oil and gas industry), has concluded that global warming is a hoax. Sen. Louie Gohmert Jr. (R-Kingdom Of Oil) has examined similar data and determined that the best climatologists in the world have been pulling our legs just to get their names in the paper. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Coal Country) has helpfully pointed out that the earth has periodically gone through a number of such spasms of warming. Not while we were here, of course, but we're here now, by gum, and we'll adapt. Because we have Ingenuity! We can adapt technologically by using more air conditioning, which is like curing acid reflux with pizza. Or we can adapt physiologically: gills and snakeskin, coming right up. No worries!

Meanwhile, it is the position of the fossil-fuel extraction industries that global warming is a hoax. It is their practice to explore for oil in areas of the Arctic that weren't feasible before they melted all the ice.

At this point even the sweltering or flooded or blown-about man on the street seems to realize something's up, and would like something to be done about it, but, because he does not have the clarity provided by lobbyist cash, he would also like to keep gas under $3 a gallon. People tend to discount the most dire predictions, mainly because they haven't happened before. That's true. The end of everything is pretty much a one-time event.

I would like to see something done. And in this case I'm not being a big socialist liberal who wants the government to decide everything for us. No, I am just fine using the market system. But. I want polluters to pay for their pollution. I am required to take out the garbage, and local industries are required to contain or pay for their effluent. Someone soils a river, he's going to have to pay. It's the price of doing business, and it should be. I'm not exactly sure why we let the industries that dump CO2 into the atmosphere get off scot-free, just because their effluent is only dooming the entire human race. What if the producers of fossil fuel energy were required to pay a whopping carbon tax?

Why, Murr, they'd just pass that on to their customers.

True enough. But then consumers would have a real choice based on the real price of everything. We could decide whether we'd rather be able to drive to the beach on a whim or survive as a species.

Because things are about to get really ugly. If the planet does go up by eleven degrees, as some models predict, we'll have to rename it (Dearth. Or Holy Shit. Or Mars.) This is not survivable. Unless you're a cockroach. Which might explain the intransigence of Inhofe, McConnell, Gohmert and the rest. We can't even get those dickheads to marry off a couple of frogs.

93 comments:

  1. Oh, Murr, this would be funny if it weren't so damned true. I agree that a carbon tax would be a good start. The fact that there is zero chance of that happening is obvious. Mother Earth will have to take things into her own hands. Maybe that's what happening already.

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  2. I'm just glad that I'm old and childless. With any luck I'll have died by the time the shit hits the fan. Wait - the shit IS hitting the fan.

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  3. (Hands tightly over ears) LA LA LA LA LA! My, what a gorgeous day.

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  4. I only had to spend part of my allowance to deduce that Senators Inhofe, Gohmert and McConnell share a brain, which was issued to them by the oil and gas industry.

    None of the three seem to exhibit the need for an entire brain in their Senatorial duties. Sen. Gohmert is also among the crew ferreting out imaginary mooslims from the State Department (the operative word being ferret, from whence the remaining part of his brain originated.

    They may be just a smidge smarter than their House brethren (and sisters or is that cistern) on their eternal snipe hunt for jobs hiding elusively in abortion bills.

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  5. Gosh, I had this big ole comment all ready in my head but my Grandson said if we are gonna marry off a couple of frogs, we'd better get goin'. Dry as it is, it might take all day to find a couple.

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    1. There's an old joke that ends up "and aim for the wet spot," and that should work here, too.

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    2. Does this old joke involve flour?

      Great post, btw.

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    3. Why, yes, Teresa Evangeline, yes it do.

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  6. Hey I can't find any frogs down here, how about a couple of armadillo's ? Logically we should be doing cows, you ever tried to put a cumberbund on a unhappy bull ?

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    1. Maybe I should explain, Texas, at least my part, has toads and I don't want no warts, even for the good of the climate.

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    2. Keep explaining. I stopped reading when you said we should be doing cows.

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  7. This is just the beginning of one of those Mel Gibson end of the earth movies...India with half the country without power, resorts that use up all the water from the poor people living near them, Greenland melting and ship passages over the top of the earth opening.

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    1. And Mel Gibson makes it all that much worse.

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  8. Actually, McConnell is correct. The climate has changed several times in the past several thousands of years. The Aral Sea, an ecological disaster if there ever was one, almost dry from over use of water for irrigation from the rivers draining into it was dry twice before in its history. The Sahara desert underwent a number of habitable/non habitable shifts even in the past 10,000 years.

    So the climate is changing again. Are we humans causing it or merely helping it along or none of the above? Pick your religion. We are well past any kind of ability to rationally discuss this from a scientific basis.

    If we are "causing" climate change, can we stop causing it? No. Because our entire world economy is based on hydrocarbon fuels and has been since we moved past horses, wind and whale oil. The huge oil companies the Looney left love to hate didn't cause it, they merely responded to it. The fact that governments refuse to enforce good environmental regulations and force extractive companies NOT to pollute the world around them is another issue that has nothing to do with CO2. I think the coal and oil companies love the CO2 debate because it keeps people from thinking about and acting against REAL pollution
    And those countries which do not share the same level of lifestyle as North America and Europe are certainly not going to cooperate.
    So we really ought to learn to live with it. What ever IT is and why ever IT is happening.

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    1. Yeah, good luck with that.

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    2. We do know what IT is and we do know why IT is happening and IT is something we can do something about. And people are rationally discussing it from a scientific basis. You are correct about the entire economy being based on hydrocarbon fuels, and the disruption, if we could effect a (politically unfeasible) solution, would be enormous. But not as enormous and expensive as failing to act. CO2 is probably the worst pollutant we have.

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    3. CO2 is probably the worst pollutant we have.
      The hydrocarbon industry LOVE to hear you say that.

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    4. Is there an argument against: Don't $h!t where you eat?

      Seems pretty scientific to me: Don't pollute the place where you live, breathe, eat or it will pollute you.

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  9. I'm with Roxie. Being old and childless just leaves me guilt for having participated. Of course when I'm dead I won't care anymore.

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    1. You and I and Roxie were born in the most felicitous of times. We get all the bennies and the hell with the kids.

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  10. Hey Murr! Excuse my "street", but True Dat. Roth x

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  11. Hear, hear! I don't think things will change unless and until there is more money to be made with new, clean technologies than with old dirty ones. It's quite possible to do, it just takes money to make businesses focus on solving it.

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    1. It also takes requiring the dirty ones to cost what they truly cost us (all of us)--and if they did, the clean technologies would be competitive right now.

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  12. "The end of everything is pretty much a one-time event." Hard to sum the issue up much better than that. Outstanding piece, Murr. I'm off to scrawl your link on every internet bathroom wall I can find.

    And may I just say it's good to be old and, with any luck, I'll get off the planet before it all goes to Dearth.

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    1. You and me both, sister. It's hard not to feel horrible about it, though.

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  13. Rats! Still haven't found any frogs. I remember an old Granny tale that if you kill a spider it will rain, but I am a Buddhist, so I am not going to kill anything.
    Would a couple of toads work? We got toads! And I never got any warts from toads before. Hmmmm, a cumberbund for a toad...

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    1. Don't kill the toad! Don't kill the toad! Very bad luck!

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  14. The discouraging thing to me is that global warming is only the most obvious of a whole series of drastic environmental changes we've set in motion, any one of which may put us out of business as a species. Which you would think would give even those people who have signed off as not giving a damn about any other species pause, but I guess not. If we can't even muster the wherewithal to deal with this first obvious one, our chances of dealing with others are even worse. Maybe we'll adapt, but my guess is that we'll do what we usually do when things get really bad -- blame somebody else and start shooting. Perhaps a global nuclear winter will kick back the greenhouse progression and we'll have nice, temperate, uninhabited but rather radioactive planet in a couple centuries, and evolution can start over again. Who knows, multicellular organisms might even survive, and that seems to have been the hardest part. After that the rest is duct soup.

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    1. I just listened to one of these bozos going on about how we dared have the audacity to think we--simple folk that we are--could possibly be powerful enough to harm God's creation. I'd smite him hard if I could.

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  15. "The end of everything is pretty much a one-time event."

    Murr, you are the prophet crying in the wilderness.

    If only, only we could stop the insanity long enough, listen deep enough to hear the sound of hungry children crying, of ice melting, of animals disappearing from the earth. If only we could hear mother Earth weeping for her children, even as her breasts dry up, and winter follows.

    Where will all the children go? Long time a-grieving...

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    1. I love to look on the bright side of things, but this is really getting me down.

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    2. Want to get down, in a non-disco way? Try fomenting awareness among young people, or soliciting ideas for action. (Surely we can conclude that paid-off hierarchies will do nothing.) La-la-la-LA.

      I asked a few valued young adults whether they would supply a pause movement: no pregnancies or meat in 2013. Latter not so difficult, given drought and skyrocketing prices. And what young people can afford a kid these days? Reaction: silence. Such bad taste to yell fire, and spoil enjoyment of well-popped corn.

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    3. The young people I know are pretty spectacular, on account of not having had me raise them, but then again I don't know that many.

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    4. Agreed. The young people will, hopefully, do much more to save themselves. They are definitely headed in that direction. I know quite a few and the 20-somethings look to me like a good generation, acting on their collective social conscience.

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  16. Brilliant. Thank you, my honey, for always speaking the truth. xo

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    1. Thank you for calling me honey, honey.

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  17. Brilliant. Thank you, my honey, for always speaking the truth. xo

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  18. What frogs? The ones around here are about gone n some left now have 5 limbs... But love that Wedding pic!

    Thanks for the sarcastic rant- I chuckled- tough to do! Saw you at Tabor's, where I left this comment on a similar subject...

    Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" movie with the glaciers gone n rising CO2 levels convinced me about DooDoo a decade ago=.
    I also learned in Earth Science 101 we can expect 90% of all animal species to be gone before 2100, with only the "Weed species" like sparrows, seagulls, rodents, roaches, ect surviving due to loss of habitat caused by human's popluation growth, plus green house. Joy!- sharks n alligators are weeds too...
    Good thing I'll be gone by then, too bad for the grandkids!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Snaggle. There's been a lot of money gone toward creating doubt about this in people's minds. I only wish I thought those people would get some kind of divine comeuppance, but I don't roll that way.

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  19. I am reading this the same day I read about Palin calling Elizabeth Warren a Marxist. A day of shaking heads. For you in delight, for the latter in disgust and disbelief. Delight and disgust are really pretty close together, aren't they? A poetic frog wedding right next to a dickhead senator...

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    1. I kind of felt sorry for the frogs in question, but then again I've been feeling sorry for the frogs for about thirty years now. I hope whoever is living on the other planets is doing a better job.

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  20. Those stupid politicians and oil tycoons who are not scientist or experts do not want to listen to those who are! They are selfish with a capital S!!

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    1. I don't know what they are. Arrogant. Ignorant.

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  21. We just instituted a carbon tax here in Australia July first and about the only result so far is that our liberal (ie Labor) government will probably lose the next elections. The same people who blame daylight saving for fading their curtains will surely vote them out.

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    1. Exactly. It's political suicide. Because the bastards got enough people to feel unsure about the science. Which was their goal. Incidentally, I'd love to use that line about the daylight savings time!

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  22. At least with global warming, moving to one of those more northerly socialist countries is a more attractive option. By the time I have my airfare saved up, Oslo's climate will be more like Maryland's.

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    1. Will it? Europe should be colder...

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    2. I guess it depends on whether or not we get another mini-Ice-Age...But, if you're correct, I am willing to do Canada instead.

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  23. I don't usually leave a comment, but I love reading your posts and the comments that follow. I just want to say here that 'if you can find a frog or a toad on your property', you must be doing something right...
    As for the world's situation, its apparent to even the least of us that 'somethng is going on'. Whether of not we can right it is questionable, but we 'have to try', don't we?

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    1. It's really hard for any one person to feel like anything she does will make a difference. I recommend this article.

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    2. Every person needs to try. I live in a community that tolerates just about any individual quirk, deviation, difference EXCEPT actions that are an affront to Mother Nature. Small footprints, zero litter and parking spaces next to the handicap spaces for low emission vehicles. ;-)

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  24. I've been having the same thoughts, Murr. You put them to print so eloquently! Thank you!

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  25. Well said, Murr. My friends and I speak of this often.

    We need to at least TRY to do something. I'm in. Really, I'm "in", with whatever needs to be done.

    Pearl

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    1. Number one (see article above) is to leave everything that's currently in the ground in the ground. Which means we need to elect all new politicians, brave ones--or maybe lawsuit? I've been hearing something about that.

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  26. Reminds me of the terrifying prophecies about air pollution I read as a second grader (1965) that scared the bagezzus out of me. I thought we were supposed to learn something from all that.

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    1. We didn't even learn anything from the energy "crisis" in the '70s. As soon as the price came back down, we all bought SUVs.

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  28. Fine musings and like Djan said, funny if it weren't the truth. Sadly, it is. And I also have to agree that the earth will continue trying to heal itself and rid itself of damage. We're so unimportant in the whole scheme of things. Highly self-important.. but that's all.

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    1. It cheers me up how unimportant we are. But somehow I still can't not care.

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  30. Several good friends are considering migrating north from Southeastern Missouri and the idea of being left behind is worrying me. Will I be able to meet the challenges of starting a new life in a northern clime, I wonder.

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    1. We're bracing for what is called "climate immigrants" here.

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  31. It seems to me that there are a lot of things to do about this problem, besides make us laugh and cry. If Murr is the writer, inciting us, than we readers can be the doers of things to slow down the dearth. Number one, defeat the Republicans. Number two, plant trees, or at the very least don't cut one down. Number three, carpool if you drive to work. Number four, don't eat meat. I could go on. The ultimate solution is political but many political decisions jump on the grassroots bandwagon that has been rolling along for some time. We need to get rolling.

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  32. Very nicely said, Murr. I guess we all laughed a little at this post, because you write with such wit. I think it's good to look at things the way you do...it helps make it hurt a little less to laugh a bit, and it also helps people not just turn their heads and look the other way. Keep it up! You'll get us farther than the doom and gloomers, and make us face facts at the same time.

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    1. I really try to keep it funny, but this one got away from me. I agree with you about how important humor is when you're actually trying to persuade someone of something.

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  33. Well with any luck the frogs will make it and have many offspring for generations to come. As for the rest of us well... maybe the frogs are smarter at least they'll have cockroaches to eat.

    I still have to wonder if the republican positions don't come from extensive inbreeding.

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    1. Ew! You made me visualize Republican breeding positions!

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  34. I saw that Imhof character of CSPAN recently speaking on this subject. I tend to think you were WAY to kind, Murr

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  35. Is it wrong to plan out my most condescending faces a few decades before the gloating begins? I can't help but feel it's all for naught and I'll be damned if I don't grind it into a few Republican faces when they're sweating it out - literally.

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    1. All right with me, but I don't see any gloating. A person would have to win (not just be right) to gloat. Besides, Republicans will be able to afford air conditioning, for a while.

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  36. I inherited some mineral rights in southeast Colorado. Apparently there's an interest in drilling and lease offers are starting up. I've decided to leave my share in the ground. At the moment, that's the best I can do outside of being frugal with the earth's gifts.

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  37. Well! Look at all the "R"s of those who say global warming is a hoax! Imagine that!
    As I sit here looking at my derecho-devastated woods and house - in boring-weather Ohio, no less - I'm totally with you, Murr.

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    1. Man. You got in that one, huh. Sorry about your house. Who ever heard of a derecho, anyway? And there've been two this year?

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  38. We are in deep shit climate wise but it's holding up decent here, until a lot more assholes move here as it goes to hell other places. I'm going to hate seeing that happen.

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    1. We're supposed to get climate immigrants, too. I'd rather forgo my rising property values for the old climate.

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  39. maybe the dems should just raise the energy prices and forget all those poor people who can't afford to pay for it and all those seniors who need heat for their arthritis and asthmatics who need AC to breathe.
    That should take care of the problem.. and the population who are using up valuable resources.

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    1. Hello, anonymous (why?). I would never suggest anything about this situation will be easy. Ignoring it will be the cruelest of all.

      Incidentally, I grew up (near Washington DC) without AC like the previous million years of humans. I don't suppose any of us liked it much.

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  40. Nobody is ignoring it. We have some very strict regulations on emissions. India just hasn't caught up yet.Plus they are newer than us so they were able to implement different energy sources from the beginning.
    It's a world problem not a US problem.

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  41. “While on the board of a Chicago-based charity, Barack Obama helped fund a carbon trading exchange that will likely play a critical role in the cap-and-trade carbon reduction program he is now trying to push through Congress as president.”

    The charity was the Joyce Foundation on whose board of directors Obama served and which gave nearly $1.1 million in two separate grants that were “instrumental in developing and launching the privately-owned Chicago Climate Exchange, which now calls itself “North America’s only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.”

    And that’s only the beginning of this tawdry tale.

    The “privately-owned” Chicago Climate Exchange is heavily influenced by Obama cohorts Al Gore and Maurice Strong.

    For years now Strong and Gore have been cashing in on that lucrative cottage industry known as man-made global warming.

    Maurice Strong is on the board of directors of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Wikipedia-described as “the world’s first and North America’s only legally binding greenhouse gas emission registry reduction system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil.”

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  42. Thanks for checking in again. What's the weather like on Venus? BTW, "cohort" means a group of people (originally a military regiment), and is not a synonym for "colleague."

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  43. This is a prime example of why I do not read your stuff anymore. They suck me in. Next thing I am all the way down here in the comments box having spent all my allotted computer time. PS: You need a like button for the comments, some very good dialogue.

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  44. Obviously you need to allot more computer time. I suggest taking it out of your sleep time.

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  45. The best thing for the earth, as a planet, is for all humanity to die off. People that whine about "saving the earth" and in the same breath worry about "the survival of humanity" are trying to bark up two different trees at the same time.

    Due to the fact that every politician in history has made decisions based on monetary gain, it's pretty much stupid for us to hope for decisions based on anything else. It's like sitting for hours staring at your toaster, willing it to go grocery shopping for you. You can really, really want it. You can tell all your neighbors that you want it. You can write to your congressman about how much you want it. It's just never going to happen.

    Also - Mother Nature has her own ways of refurbishing. Floods, ice ages, and droughts. No amount of cajoling, planning, recycling, or political opinion will ever be as powerful as she is. The dinosaurs certainly didn't litter, or strip mine, or destroy the ozone layer, and they still got axed. The earth will clear itself off when it's good and ready, and our fist-waving and foot-stomping will be exactly as pointless then as it is today.

    Instead of wasting time worrying about things that are going to go the way they're going to go anyway, I think we should spend a little more time with our parents, our kids, our neighbors, our friends. Take an extra minute to help the old lady who can't reach the top shelf at the store. Drop an encouraging note in a stranger's mailbox, bake something and bring it to work for everyone to share.

    When I think back on my life so far, there is not one important memory which revolves around the news, politics, or the financial climate of a foreign country. All of my best, most vivid memories are of kindnesses, moments shared with real people. We're all going to die... why not spend the time we have really living?

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  46. I expect we will be erased thoroughly, and probably soonish, and that's okay with me, although I'm sorry for all the innocents we'll be taking with us. I'm pretty good at the "really living" part, I think, and I purposefully try not to spend much time on pessimism. It's not in my nature, anyway. But I can't help but try to persuade, vote, urge, clean up, give a shit.

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