The sky was thick with stars, two of them falling, when Koko and I went walking this morning, my eyes trained upwards, feet left to find their own way along the street. Makalii was preparing to set, the Big Dipper dominated the north and Triangle pointed the way to Waialeale, invisible in the darkness.
And then the Giant was outlined in orange and all the blackness and stars drained from the sky, save for Orion’s bright belt, and then it was gone, too, and Lihue began to glow pink and all the mountains appeared, with each and every notch, nook and cranny exposed and ready to absorb the rosy hue of the rising sun.
Just about then I ran into my neighbor Andy, which got Koko squealing, and as we walked we discussed paddling and dentistry and global warming. I told Andy that I’d shared his solution to the world’s ills — develop a pathogen that kills all true believers — with one of the climate change conference scientists, who found it greatly amusing.
“Look at it this way,” I said. “It would force people to engage in deep self-examination to determine if they were, indeed, prepared to die for their beliefs.”
As opposed to, say, killing others for your beliefs, which, when you think about it, is pretty much what’s happening in regard to climate change and modern life. We believe we’ve got to have tons of stuff and unequivocal convenience, even if it means eliminating scores of other species and making the earth uninhabitable for legions of our own.
I was thinking about that yesterday as I drove through an agricultural subdivision dominated by vacation rentals, nearly all of which stood empty, and thought, OK, so we’ve sacrificed our ag land to the vagaries of tourism, and where has that gotten us?
Then I was waiting behind a car with a bumper sticker that read: “Quit bitching. Start a revolution.” And it appealed to me until I looked closer and saw the little trademark sign and thought, how revolutionary can an idea be if it’s trademarked? Besides, people get hung up on the idea that they have to start a revolution when really, it’s about just live a revolution, because it all starts with us, and the choices we make each day.
Meanwhile, two miles above sea level, atop Mauna Kea, record levels of carbon dioxide have been recorded — levels that match scientists’ worst case scenarios for global climate change, according to an Associated Press article.
Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climatologist, said the world faces a huge risk.
"I think meters of sea-level rise are virtually inevitable, unless we can stop this. But I'm not such an optimist," he told journalists on a fellowship program with the Honolulu-based East-West Center. "The main message is we're in risk management. We do not know the science well enough to know exactly what the temperature is at when a tipping point will occur."
The article was followed by comments from deniers quoting the right-wing Washington Times.
Seems there’s another downside to climate change. According to a report on Democracy Now! researchers published a paper predicting a 50 percent increase in civil wars in Africa for every one degree increase in global temperature. David Lobell, assistant professor at the Woods Institute at Stanford, is quoted as saying:
”Sort of a rough calculation is that about 400,000 people, additional, would die because of the climate change increase in civil war conflict.”
Back on Kauai, Mayor Carvalho yesterday went through the motions of meeting with “stakeholders” in the Wailua bike path issue before announcing what he’d already decided, anyway: keep the path on the sand.
So now there’s likely to be more resistance, perhaps legal action, certainly bad feelings and huhu. And I can’t help but wonder why path proponents like Thomas Noyes and Randy Blake are so wedded to their desired alignment that they’re willing to blow off Hawaiians’ cultural concerns and piss off a lot of folks in the process.
To make matters worse, they came out with this statement:
“Our board members expressed appreciation for the mayor’s diligence in bringing all concerned parties to the table, and moving forward with respect on this sensitive matter.”
Exactly how does doing something that one group finds totally disrespectful become “moving forward with respect?”