A fascinating read here in the Guardian:
Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away by Robin McKie, Science Editor for the Observer:
“Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here,” says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of the University of Miami. “It is something that we are having to deal with today.” …
“Despite its vast wealth, the city might soon be consumed by the waves, for even if all emissions of carbon dioxide were halted tomorrow – a very unlikely event given their consistent rise over the decades – there is probably enough of the gas in the atmosphere to continue to warm our planet, heat and expand our seas, and melt polar ice. In short, it seems there is nothing that can stop the waters washing over Miami completely.
It’s a devastating scenario. But what really surprises visitors and observers is the city’s response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace.”
He goes on to point out how, with even the modest rises in sea level anticipated in the very near future, people will no longer be able to flush their toilets or draw water from their faucets. This could be the first Climate Change Bubble to burst, as the local real estate market is in total denial about the future worthlessness of the land.
I’ve been thinking a lot about denial lately. I’m guessing everyone reading this sees it as an either/or proposition. There are the climate deniers and then there are the rest of us. What I’m seeing, instead, is that we are all in denial. I can prove this with a simple question: Do you deny that you are in denial?
We’ve gone down the rabbit hole:
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”
I intend to write much more on this, but for now I’d just like everyone to hold the question for a while. Not “am I in denial?” — but rather, “what is it I am in denial about?” in relation to climate change. This is a difficult task, like the scene in “Awakenings” where Robert De Niro’s character is facing a medical review board, and is asked by one of the doctors “Are you aware that you are acting out unconsciously” (physical twitches) and he shoots right back “If it is unconscious, how would I be aware of it?” So here are some clues. What scares you most about the future uncertainty facing climate change? What underlies that fear? What angers you the most about the whole issue? To what extent is that anger a projection of your own unacknowledged fear?
I think I’ll do a post on the degrees and varieties of denial next week… In the meantime, if someone wants to sell you some beach front property in Miami, maybe with a 30 year assumable mortgage, ummm… Take a rain check.