just keep going to the mall


I’m going to put some links on this particular blog entry that you should not click on. Seriously. It’s about the most recent conclusions regarding climate change, and the news is so bad as to be truly gobsmacking.

You’ve got the new write-up in Nature (or just read this), the 11-degree horrorshow in the Washington Post, David Roberts’ work over on Grist, even the behavioral science papers on denial. Sure, being on this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has amped up my usually-dormant lava spurts of Planet Worry, but what I really want to know is… is it possible to care?

I mean, we can’t actually do anything about it besides a bit of paltry recycling, driving a decent car, and giving half a shit. I say this as someone who has spent a lot of money on solar panels (which will pay for themselves on their 10th anniversary, next year) and have humorlessly waxed imperfect about The Environment® since 1991.


Here’s where we are: the news is terrible; the world is getting hotter faster than anyone thought. Short of a radical energy solution invented – and implemented fully – in the next ten years… well, as I said, you don’t want to read those links. Given that our government won’t do anything about it, corporations have the same rights as humans, and half the country thinks climate change is a lie, what do you do?

Blissful nihilism? Not possible with a kid.

Concerned worrywarting? Pointless.

Revolution in the streets? Unsustainable.

Just keep plugging along? I mean, sure, but is there any redemption in that? I need answers. Don’t tell me there are other things to worry about; I have room for that shit too. I just want to know how normal people are supposed to react to something that appears so bizarrely hopeless.

8 thoughts on “just keep going to the mall

  1. Greg T

    The best solution might be to join the 50% who don’t believe. When the alternative is unthinkably bad and there is nothing you can do about it, then deny, deny, deny.

  2. Martha

    This is why I come here every morning:
    “Sure, being on this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has amped up my usually-dormant lava spurts of Planet Worry…”
    Beautiful! Thank you Ian.

  3. SWF

    This is going to come off rather strangely given my leftist leanings – but the only thing that I think you/we can do is begin to position ourselves to take the best advantage possible of the pending changes. The change is inevitable, and we, either as individuals or as a group, are not in a position to affect the inevitable.
    What we can do, however, is start making decisions that will put our ancestors in a better position in the new world. What do I mean by that? Buy land that is cheap now that will benefit from the increased temperatures. For example, where your farm is located is a perfect spot. The whole Connecticut River Valley (a little East of your place) is predicted to become the current equivalent of Napa and Sonoma – nearly ideal farming conditions in general but spectacular for wine grade grapes. Start to divest yourselves of real estate in flood prone areas along the coast. Completely abandon any hope of living in Florida or along the Gulf Coast.
    This path is a little morbid and fatalistic, but I think it is part of being a conscious parent – I need to teach my son the right values, give him the skills and tools to be the best human he can be, but I also need to ensure that he and his kids have the best opportunity to succeed and be prosperous in the short-term (in my view, the next 150 years) so that they can be in the best position to influence the future decision-makers (or even be the decision-makers themselves). It’s a super long-range view that makes the little decisions of today seem both meaningless and the start of a logarithmic path to long-term change and success.

  4. Piglet

    Work within your own zone of influence and do your best to focus solely on those things that ARE there, as opposed to the things you can do nothing about. That is:
    1. Continue to blog and protest and try to make your voice heard.
    2. continue to live sustainably yourself.
    3. When the winds of (climate) change blow, build a windmill, not a windbreak. Invest in technologies and real estate that will be in demand as the climate changes.
    4. Take pleasure in the thought of Texas and Arizona choking to death in the disaster of their own making. Already they’re suffering the impact of storms and heat waves. As more of them die there will be fewer of them to sent Republican traitors to Congress.
    5. Probably a good idea to learn to shoot, as some of those Bible Belt fucktards are going to try to come and fuck up your home when they’ve made their own uninhabitable.

  5. Tanya

    Well, I clicked on the comments button with a response in mind that was largely limited to “find a good shovel, dig a big hole, stick head in.” But then I read SWF’s post and have at least enough sense to say, “yeah, that’s a better plan.”

  6. Anne

    Move inland and north. That’s what I’ll tell our kids before I die. I’m sure our little house on a saltwater bay in New England will be underwater within a century or less.

  7. Alan

    I just planted French wine grape varieties in Ontario. Enough for 100 bottles a year. Move north. Montreal would, as I have pointed out before, suit you.


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