A couple weeks ago I stood at the edge of a cliff, half way up a mountain, looking west across a smoky haze shrouding the setting sun as it cast an eerie pall upon the landscape.
As the summer forecast creeps into higher and higher temperatures, the meteorologists are predicting that we’re entering another span of unseasonably hot temperatures for the third time in two months.
Smoke and heat. The world is burning, literally and figuratively.
And just yesterday the United Nations released another climate report, ringing the warning bell yet again to a mostly indifferent world, politicians with their heads locked into timespans of election cycles, not generational catastrophe.
In fact the little man who calls himself the leader of our province stood on a podium in front of the media yesterday and called the effort to adapt our energy habits to a changing climate that is literally killing us “a utopian impossibility.” Hardly a rousing, inspirational speech as much as a shrug and a “why bother even trying” approach. I have many reasons not to vote for his party, but the doubling down on the very thing that is destroying us has cemented my resolve.
I don’t like to get political here, but my dream of a fantastic vaccinated summer camping, cooking, and exploring has been trampled by air filled with so much smoke that it’s dangerous to go outside, temperatures so hot that my head pounds after a few minutes of exertion, and a head-in-the-sand, anti-vax ignorance that has stumbled us all into what should have been a completely avoidable approaching fourth wave of pandemic.
And now the understated conclusion from the UN report of our headlong rush into climate disaster and destruction of our fragile ecosphere tells me little more than that the rest of my life will be much of the same, if not worse, and as we hand things off to my daughter’s generation… well, let’s just say that the looming sense of nihilism I’ve been feeling over the last day has been justifiably gripping.
Travel broadens the mind and enriches the soul, and in travelling we learn that we are but small, temporary beings that have but a passing moment in a vast and complex society that is itself but a speck in an infinitely more complex universe.
We are mere passengers for a brief time on a world that neither needs us nor will adapt itself to us, and we are shaping that world for ourselves in a way that seemingly leaves us unable to survive in the singular place in that whole complex universe that will abide us.
Warm weather is nice. And yes, the smoke offers a unique opportunity for hazy romantic photos of the glowing red sky from atop a mountain hike. Yet, I would trade it all in the blink of an eye for a little bit more hope in our future.