Read ’em and weep

Europe on Fire

All in a day’s news:

Heatwave sets new German record second day running

The Netherlands hit a new high temperature record of 41.7 degrees on Thursday

Paris records its hottest temperature in history

Edinburgh breaks all time high temperature

The UK has had its second hottest day in history and its hottest ever July day, with 38.1C (over 100F) recorded in Cambridge.

Belgium has also set a new national heat record for the second time in as many days

I take no pleasure in sharing this information, but it is what it is.

And it is happening far, far faster than had been predicted.

Meanwhile, in the US. . .

But the preppers — the people who just buy their generator and their guns and store food for three months — I’m worried about them. In America where there’s so many guns, we’re going to shoot each other, and it’s very scary to me. It’s a very individualistic, survivalist approach, whereas the Dark Mountain project and Jem Bendell’s deep adaptation are actually doing some of the deep psychological and social work required to get to a different place.

— Susanne Moser, climate scientist and adviser to governments on climate issues. German by birth.

Story: Despairing about the Climate Crisis? Read This.

Societal collapse will look very different around the world. In Europe, it will look like the closing of a large department store. People will queue up in lines for the last merchandise and be given shovels and instructed how to dig – dugouts, crops, graves, whatever. It won’t be any fun and a lot of people will die but there’s a chance a new society, one far less complex than the old one, will emerge. That is, of course, unless the certain nuclear powers bring the curtain down on all of us.

With Boris Johnson now PM in the UK, and Brexit beckoning, all bets are off. But whatever happens in the UK or Europe or the rest of the world for that matter, nothing will come close to the apocalypse of the USA.

And it’s all about the guns. And the loss of the commons which breeds social isolation and distrust. And the racism. And the petty hatreds and insecurities fostered by our particular form of capitalism. In fact, one can say with a straight face that societal collapse is already happening in the US, with climate change playing a very small role – for now.

Americans are generally only dimly aware of the lands beyond its’ shores. Ask any American three basic questions about Canada and they’ll look at you dumbfounded. But maybe you’ve heard about Extinction Rebellion and their actions in the UK and Europe and that of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

As opposed to the thousands that rallied in the UK and Europe, a few days ago a handful of Extinction Rebellion Americans glued themselves to the front doors of the Capitol and received zero mainstream media exposure. Reactions from legislators were pretty much the usual:

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., former vice chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment, mocked the group on Twitter, posting a video of himself appearing to duck under a protester’s arm to get through with the note, “…Supergluing yourself to a door is a very dumb way to protest.”

from The Intercept

Recently a half million people in the American protectorate, Puerto Rico, took to the streets to demand the resignation of their President. They were successful.

Activists in the US bemoan these developments, asking ‘why can’t we do that here?’

You know why.

Here’s part of the reason:

Here’s the other:

First photo: the people who want to protest can’t risk being away from their jobs or arrested since most of them are in a precarious financial position. The system keeps you tied to your desk and dependent on whatever scraps you can get to eke out a living. They have neither the time, money or energy for protest.

Second photo: American cops can pretty much get away with anything nowadays and know it. A severe beating could send you to the hospital (good luck with the bill), to jail (good luck keeping your job) or the morgue.

But what if things get really bad and so many people have nothing to lose? Then the last system of social control comes in: psychological. This is the greatest country in the world – what the Hell are you protesting about? Also: protesters are probably a bunch of Communists and anti-American. If they get in the street, maybe we can run them over in our cars someday. We’re expected from childhood to be very obedient and do what we’re told. We see people losing their livelihoods and futures because of Trump’s policies and they’ll still come back and vote for him because: racism and: owning the libs.

We’re an interesting people, we Americans.

So who will we turn on? Ourselves, naturally.

So when collapse happens in the US, expect scenes right out of every dystopian movie you can think of from ‘The Road’ to ‘The Postman’ to ‘Soylent Green.’ Why do you think Hollywood is so good at making those kind of movies anyway?

Hotter than July?

Weather records will soon become meaningless

NBC News story here.

No, we’re not talking about the Stevie Wonder album. . .

July is on track to become the hottest month in recorded history, climate scientists say, after heat waves blanketed North America and the Arctic saw warmer than usual temperatures. It’s the latest sign that the planet’s overall climate is warming, and that human activities are causing extreme events such as heat waves to become more likely and more intense, the scientists say.

NBC News/Denise Chow

Do the people who cling to denialism think this is some kind of a joke? Or perhaps, a grand illusion; a conspiracy in which nearly every scientist and meteorologist is, um, colluding to deceive the people so as to seize their cars, airplanes and charcoal grills and RAM SOCIALISM DOWN OUR THROATS?

I could recite all the statistics about the hottest years in history being recent ones, the hottest months being recent ones, etc., etc., but only the willfully obtuse don’t get the point.

Charts and statistics is hard!

I have no doubt that sometime this upcoming winter, it will snow and temperatures will drop to near zero Fahrenheit. This of course, will launch the usual smelly army of trolls out from under their slimy rocks to say ‘so where’s your precious global warming now, Socialists?’ I can almost hear Rush Limbaugh’s voice sputtering this.

The phrase is ‘overall climate,’ not isolated events which can actually be explained by global warming, but, you know, what the Hell? Why go on?

Looking at Donald Trump in America and now the feckless showman Boris Johnson in the United Kingston (h/t Ivanka Trump and it’s not a Jamaican football team although it could be), I’ve pretty much lost all hope that this issue will be no more than a punch line in the White House or Number 10. It also leave Macron backpedaling, Merkel looking severe as usual and Putin with that evil grin as his country continues to ratchet up their carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, reputable climate scientists, peddling hopium, still go on about how we could ‘avoid the worst’ if governments would just agree to wind down the current industrial and financial systems of the developed world in, oh, about a year.

Let’s be grown-ups about this. It’s not going to happen. Extinction Rebellion, a fine group of people, can chain themselves to bridges all over London and it won’t make any difference. If they try that in America, they’ll be treated no better than Black Lives Matter marchers. Making people late for work by blocking highways is a sin akin to child abuse in this country.

So where does that leave us?

In planetary hospice.

Keeping a Sense of Humor

Changing Climate Times Newsletter (subscribe!) has just run their first Climate Crisis Cartoon Roundup! Some incredibly incisive work from a number of comic artists. Like good satire, these comics make you chuckle first – and then think.

Here’s my favorite:

Bob Mankoff, formerly of The New Yorker, now Esquire.

Anyone who knows me, knows why I would pick this one: because it’s painfully spot on. The ‘endless growth’ greedhead capitalists that gave us this mess, I believe, know full well what they’ve done and what will happen and they don’t care. Well they do care about one thing – making sure they can play with their expensive toys until the very last minute because what is life all about anyway?

Remember the bumper sticker from the 80s? – ‘He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins?’ Yeah, they weren’t kidding then or now.

So when you see these same people salivating over the profit prospectus of drilling in an ice-free Arctic, this is what I’m talking about. New year long shipping lanes! Think of the fortunes that can be made just in time for humanity to bow out! But he who dies with the most toys. . .

Idiots of the Day!

Can you take it?

Start of a recurring feature here at Last Dance. I will not reprint these in full, as people have just had breakfast. What’s in the usual denier’s scribble is enough to make a statue weep. First, here’s one from the local paper:

Letter to the editor: Censorship & disingenuous global warming report

Snippet:

Of greater concern is the left’s 1930s fascist censorship of conservative viewpoints by liberal tech companies. Since President Trump’s election, it seems they have been engineering the flow of information.

It took a little over 200 years to recover from the 500-year mini ice age. Trump is smart to tout our greatest resource, natural energy. Pennsylvania is No. 5 in the U.S. in oil and gas jobs, which pay $99,000 on average. Trump is the smart business choice.

What ‘liberal tech companies’ were there in the 1930s? Time Magazine? Anyway, next is the eminence gris of PJ Media, Roger Simon:

Summer Heat Wave? It’s Global Warming… Or Is It?

Snippet:

Any discussion of the subject at the debate will undoubtedly consist of how much money we should throw at the problem and how soon. Biden will be measured and try not to throw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater, while Bernie and the ladies will attack him for being a climate weakling willing to incinerate humanity. Everyone else could well join in. Soon poor Joe will be nodding his head in agreement, begging AOC to forgive him and pledging to retrofit every picture window and storm door from San Diego to Sandusky himself. (Hey, he says he can beat Trump in push-ups.)

I’m waiting to see when climate scientists like Roget Simon find out about abrupt climate change and gleefully conclude that since the policies they promulgated have put humankind on a near term collision course with extinction, none of his precious tax money need be wasted on it. It can be skimmed to ‘fuel’ the last orgiastic spasm of mansion and bomb building.

I Still Plant Trees

I planted a tree last summer in the middle of the yard.

It’s a pine that was growing between the flowers near the fence by the Koi pond. The pond has no koi currently as I don’t seem to know how to keep these beautiful fish alive.

My little tree


Anyway, the pine had planted itself and if I had left it alone, it would have grown through and uprooted the fence and looked odd amidst the shrubs. So, I dug it out and replanted it in the middle of the yard.

It took root and this year is looking like it’s growing.

It reminded me of Charlie Browns’s Christmas tree – just a little sprig. But there it is taking root in the shadows of two huge pine trees towering to around 100 feet tall.

I will never see this tree mature as a full pine. I know that. I could have thrown the sprig on the burn pile.

But I couldn’t do it. I had to plant it.

In a way, it makes no sense. If I believe in the way our climate is growing, like I said, I’ll never see it get taller than me.

But I must make a marker for the future. This little pine is a measure of defiance. Life will go on – until it doesn’t. But I want to give it a chance.

All of us deserve a chance.

So, I’ll keep an eye on it.

And celebrate life.