Mom was a prolific writer, but never published. She wrote, still in cursive, to a smaller audience, usually her four boys, various relatives and close friends who lived far away.
This was long before the advent of the Internet and around the time that postage stamps cost 13 cents a shot. Even then, in the 1970s, the telephone for children of the Great Depression was not a convenience but a luxury. To talk long distance, she picked up a pen.
It didn’t matter whether she used lined paper or blank stationery, her calligraphy was both exquisite and expressive. Each line was written in indelible ink positioned perfectly parallel to the previous one, testifying to the firm and confident hand of an author concerned with the appearance of each character form as well as the thought behind its expressions.
The i’s were dotted and all t’s were crossed out. There was no white. There were no gum marks. No letters crossed out or entire words blackened out. Nothing was misspelled. She gathered before composing each sentence, each thought.
Her letters spanned pages, and each one began with a recap of the weather with the price of corn and soybeans added for good measure – because she was, after all, a farmer, and so on. is what the farmers talked about.
If she were alive today, I know she would be watching the storm looming on the horizon.
Climate change, a long-standing construction, is here. It’s been a while. I suspect we only get a glimpse of the extent of eroding conditions, how our current defenses will fade in the face of extreme heat, rising tides and torrential rains, and that’s what which will be served morning, noon and night for years to come.
Call it the new normal.
It is not temporary and it is not benign. It’s not just an anomaly. It is a world that experiences – simultaneously – extreme weather events. This is where our carbon consumption habits have taken us. Current conditions will only get worse, regardless of how many policymakers are involved in the new green deals. What our elected officials are legislating today may ward off the worst of what is to come – decades from now – but in the here and now conditions continue to deteriorate. Yes, we have to do something, but it won’t save us from ourselves in the short term. We have waited too long. We have doubted, questioned and ridiculed science.
Climate change was a hoax. Remember?
Well, to this day various corners of planet Earth are drunk with punch and reeling from the most recent manifestations of a shared climate changed beyond mankind’s control. Parts of Belgium and Germany were slammed by raging rivers. The landscapes have been reconfigured. In one flooded German town, the Associated Press reported the ground collapsed under family homes, while in another, floodwaters swept through an assisted living facility, killing 12 people.
Back here in North America, wildfires have spread to a dozen states in the western United States as hundreds of people died last week from the heat in the Northwest, where temperatures have reached hundreds of degrees – reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit in some unfortunate places in the United States.
Lytton, BC, with a population of 300, experienced three days of extreme heat, each breaking a national temperature record. On June 30, the thermometer reached 121.3 degrees, then hours later the small town along the Fraser River in the Canadian Rockies was on fire. A day later, 90 percent of it had been destroyed, burned to the point of being unrecognizable, wiped off the map.
In the remote otherworld of Siberia, where residents endure the coldest winters outside of Antarctica, summer temperatures have reached 100 degrees in the past two years. There, they also fight forest fires, fires that melt what was once permanently frozen ground.
What is clear after watching all of this unfold over the past couple of weeks is that the world is absolutely unprepared for what we let out of the bottle.
This is our performance. Even after discovering that a century of burning carbonaceous fuels pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we chose to differ. There was too much wealth at stake.
And now, there is no doubt that extreme weather events will continue to be more frequent and intense due to global warming.
If you think conditions are bad now, wait until the nation’s food supply is disrupted, when California’s Central Valley will no longer be able to grow the fruits and vegetables we eat daily because, well, we’re running out of water. and it’s just too hot.
Mom would be nervous. And, looking at the family farm from the perspective of her kitchen table, she would pull out some paper and an ink pen and write a letter – of concern.
– J. Damon Cain is editor of the Register-Herald. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org