Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby, it’s Cold Outside

(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)

The saviour of people caught in awkward situations who have nothing else to talk about, the weather, has been a ‘hot’ topic of conversation lately. Unless you’re a hibernating bear languishing in a remote cave, you’d notice that the weather seems to have gotten a tad bit cooler. In fact, it was so cold, Shashi Tharoor said something controversial just to be in hot water again. However, nothing really says winter is here than when people start questioning whether global warming is real. Apparently, some folks like to keep warm by shrouding themselves in ignorance.

The fact that we’re still debating the reality of global warming does not bode well for our future. In simple terms, this is what happens: Human activity causes a large amount of gases to be released into the atmosphere. The earth’s atmosphere traps these gases as well as the heat generated by them. This causes our glaciers to melt at a faster rate than the natural process can replenish them. Glaciers deflect about eighty percent of the heat from the sun. So when the glaciers start disappearing, this heat is instead absorbed by the earth. This increases the temperature of the planet, thus leading to ‘global warming.’  The expected outcome of global warming is an increase in extreme weather conditions. So the cold weather will get colder, the rains will get more torrential, hurricanes will get more powerful and volcanoes will erupt more frequently. Basically, the weather will be more chaotic than closing hour at the stock market.

Denying climate change is like denying gravity. If you don’t want to believe the scientists (because why would you want to believe thousands of smart people who have conducted comprehensive research and have released study after study presenting overwhelming evidence to support their claim?), the erratic nature of the weather is visible to everyone. There is nothing “natural” or “cyclical” about having a cold wave and a heat wave in the same year. The past decade has been the hottest decade since when we started recording temperatures. Each natural catastrophe seems to be the ‘worst ever’ in a long time. Earlier this month, Jerusalem was hit with the worst storm in twenty years. The storm was so bad that Jesus turned to God and said “Hey Dad, next time drop me off somewhere warmer. Like Siberia.” Luckily, the city and its surrounding area is full of mature adults known for their tolerance, patience and their apathy to overreaction so they handled the situation quite well.

Australia – which exists in a hipster hemisphere and usually spends its time relaxing on a beach in summer while the countries in the northern hemisphere are freezing in winter – is witnessing such unprecedented high temperatures this season that they had to add new colour codes to the weather map. This has finally woken up their government which is now urging greater global action to combat climate change.

Climate change is exactly the sort of area that needs governments to step up. Not only do we need governments to pass laws to decrease the amount of harmful gases and radiation we release into the atmosphere, we also need them to actually enforce those laws stringently. We need governments to invest in renewable energy. We also need them to use the tools available at their disposal to subsidise the adaptation of technology which uses renewable resources as an energy source. We also need the government to protect whatever remains of our ecology and not cede them to corporate interests’ intent on mining every inch of the planet. But that doesn’t seem on the cards. Developing countries like India and China don’t want to take any major steps to combat climate change because they feel that they just started to pollute the environment and it’s their turn to ruin the planet. Hey, I just got the party, at least let me snort a couple of lines of coke before you call the cops. Most of Europe is busy trying to stay afloat in a large pool of debt using German life-jackets so they don’t even want to think about anything else right now. And half of America thinks that the earth is getting warmer because god is giving us a hug.

One of the reasons of global warming that we seldom talk about is our increasing population. I don’t get people who still insist of procreating. The earth is crumbling, habitable land is decreasing, the climate is getting harsher and living conditions are getting slowly becoming unbearable. Yet, we insist on introducing another life onto this earth, even though there are millions of children without anybody to care for them suffering in orphanages or out on the streets, A very common excuse people give for bringing new human prisoners for our computer overlords running the matrix (WAKE UP SHEEPLE!), is that they want to create life which is “just like themselves.” Someone who carries on their “family name.” Because we’re still like primitive tribal folk on the inside! I mean, really? Do you think that you’re so special that the world needs more copies of you running around? Holy extreme rise in ego, batman!

In the future, when we’re living in unshapely, sterile soviet-esque ‘barrack-homes’ while roaming around in space suits attached with personal air-conditioner units - because the heat outside would make even Mars seem bearable - we’re really going to regret our inaction.

Hopefully, I’ll be dead by then.

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