Extreme Weather Events Effect Us All, Making Them an Ideal Window Into Our Interconnected World

As John and Yoko said, "We all want to Save The World", but, unfortunately, there's no easy answers. Hell we can't even agree on the questions. About the only thing we all agree on is that when Mother Nature thunders we all quake. Experiencing an extreme weather event tends to focus one's attention on the here and now. Rich or poor, big or small, blue eyes or brown when the the floods or the wildfires rage our common emotional response sometimes allows us a moment of clarity, a window through which we catch a glimpse of our interconnected world.

Though the cause of any one extreme weather event is uncertain [natural variation - global warming - angry gods] it also doesn't really matter much when a person is digging in or running for their life does it? Shit happens and we can debate its causes as much as we want but, as the Sufi saying says, "The sea will be the sea, no matter the drops philosophy" We are the sea and environmental protection and preservation of the planet is the responsibility of every individual and community on Earth. On that too, hopefully, we can all agree, but how?

1. Let's suppose human induced global warming and angry gods both play an insignificant role in or current run of extreme weather events and that natural variability is the driving force in which case about all we can do is buy a six-pack and move to higher ground.
2. Let's suppose the culprit behind it is angry gods, if so, perhaps the rattling of bones and feathers or pleading, praying and sacrifices might change our luck [as well as see a surge in bone and feather sales].
3. Let's suppose human induced global warming is the steroid like cause of the plethora of extreme weather home runs lately. After all, as Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says, “Picture a baseball player on steroids. This baseball player steps up to the plate and hits a home run. It’s impossible to say if he hit that home run because of the steroids, or whether he would have hit it anyway. The drugs just made it more likely.” In which case there are real environmental protection and preservation steps we can take to change our, and our descendants, future likelihood of increased extreme weather events.

Agree or not with supposition #1 and #2, the solutions to them do almost nothing to effect all the other pollution problems our consumer culture are causing in lockstep with the extreme weather events. #3 does. The solutions required by supposition #3 are the same solutions required by the long list of the environmental degradation issues the Earth is currently facing. #3 may dry up the bone and feather market, it may mean a few less six-packs are bought, but, if somehow humans could stop over consuming the world's resources, stop wanting more than they need, stop shitting in their own nest the by-product of a livable world in the future seems worth it.

Finally, how to approach the #1 and #2 gang and communicate the bold vision of our #3-ness.  Preston Manning, founder of Canada's ultra-conservative Reform Party gave us #'3ers some great advice recently. Manning recommended we to start with environmental and global warming effects that local people understand to encourage bottom up democracy. Manning said, "In the nineties, loggers in Alberta started to observe that the winters were no longer cool enough to kill of the pine beetles. Driller rough necks that used to get into the muskeg by November 15 weren’t able to get in until Christmas. Pile drivers in Tuktoyaktuk had to drive piles ten feet instead of six, because the permafrost had subsided. The ice roads north of Winnipeg started to melt in April instead of May. Start with the local impacts,” Manning said, “because people are really noticing those. Then bring up the fact that scientists have been working on the problem and reached similar conclusions.” Manning thinks this thinking is a way into the minds of the #1 and #2 gang he calls conservatives.

We all want to Save The World but because we see the world through different perspectives, different assumptions, our solutions often only create more problems. Taking Manning's advice to focus on the real feet in the mud local effects of the Earth's broader environmental problems leads us back to the extreme weather events and our common emotional responses to them as an ideal window into our interconnected world and maybe the wisdom of our #3-ness' solution