I’ve been really touched by all the stories of storms and heat, fire and fear that’s in the news these days.  I’m struck by the number of people who still believe that this is a “natural phenomenon.” Whether it is or not, it’s something we have to live through.  I, for one, believe that the world is more than just humans, and that God wouldn’t condemn all the rest of his creatures and plants just to teach humans a lesson.  We as a species have lived on this planet for thousands of years and it wasn’t until we started trying to “shape the world to meet our convenience,” that we really had a strong impact on that strength of the world.
My parents don’t believe in Global Warming, and while that’s frustrating to me, I realize that in their lifetimes, with their life experiences, they have not really noticed “the hand of Man.”  They had only seen the hand of God in their lives.  But as my sister and I grew up, we usually had an aquarium in the house, and my parents taught us that it was our responsibility to take care of that fish tank. If we didn’t, and the fish died, that it was our fault.  They knew that a single fish in a small tank can quickly spoil the water they live in, either by depleting oxygen or putting too much ammonia in the water.  Essentially, our planet is a giant terrarium, and we have fouled our own water and put too many pollutants in the air and water for our species, and others, to stay healthy.

My mom is gone now, and my dad won’t admit it if he ever does see the light, but intrinsically I think they both know, or knew, the reality of things.  But when you get to be 90 years old, there’s only so much you can do to make a difference.  Most of us have more time to manifest that change, but they have some of the knowledge that we need to do it.  From my experience, it doesn’t make any difference if they believe in global warming, or not, our elders will gladly share their experiences, and their knowledge with those who ask.  So we’re asking here, at NCSC.

While people are coping with their lack of electricity, loss of air conditioning, and in some places, shortage of water, they are usually too uncomfortable to think how they can avoid that situation again. For those of us who are fairly comfortable, and when times get a bit easier for those who are suffering now, we do need to look at what it’s going to take “to keep living where we live.”  For me, I’ve found getting rid of my air conditioner makes it easier for me to tolerate the heat, as my body doesn’t feel such a jolt between indoors and outside.  For others, planting shade trees, creating a summer wind tunnel, or opening air circulation, setting up a swimming hole, or building a shade structure are things that will help in the future, with minimal contribution to the atmosphere’s heat collection.

We also need to look at this time what we need to prepare for the winter, so we don’t get caught at that time with no preparations.  It’s not “survivalism.” It’s pre-planning. Better to have the plan that you don’t need than have a problem you have no plan for.

In geological time, it’s a matter of seconds since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In our human time, we’ve always cars, air conditioners, Ipods, televisions and more.  We need to find a way to bring our technological advances in synch with the planet’s time schedule, because in a pinch, nature always wins. We just need to pick which battle we want to fight, the one between sustainability and our sense of “necessities,” or the one to breathe, or not. 

Living locally gives us more control, and choices, over how we live our lives.  If we are reliant on malls and theaters to stay cool, then we are at the mercy of highways and gas stations. But if have a local shady spot, swimming hole and access to food and water, we don’t have to go someplace else for relief. We just have to move a little.  NCSC is one example of how we can have a high quality life without going somewhere else to find it.