Global Bipolar Disorder

Global Bipolar Disorder

Are there any climate change deniers left, other than the current administration, or can we all finally agree that global warming is a problem?  We’re two-thirds of the way through summer here in Central Pennsylvania, but the recent lack of rain has turned my lush garden into an end-of-the-summer-everything-must-go sale while errant leaves flutter to the ground in resignation.  You recognize it in the slant of the sun; there are only so many long, luxurious days at the pool left.  Soon, summer will be but a distant memory, having given way to the real new year — September with its books and backpacks, sports gear and new sneakers.

While PA’s managed to make it through relatively unscathed, the Midwest and Southeast have experienced tsunami-like levels of flooding in places where flooding isn’t generally on the top ten list of worries.  Central PA used to boast a Goldilocks climate:  not too hot, not too cold, but just right. It used to be that if we got snow three times a year the kids were ecstatic, and if we had a handful of above 90 degree days then we’d just be staying at the pool longer.

Alas, those times are gone.  Mother Nature herself seems to be suffering from Global Bipolar Disorder, with her overzealous weather patterns.  But is it really her fault, or can we blame it on our over-reliance on fossil fuels and other non-renewables that are heating us up at our core, and much like someone who suffers from MS, once the core overheats, the whole system is in danger of going down.  If I may borrow from former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.

If it’s possible to use tortured phraseology and still have a valid point, then Rumsfeld nailed it.  Scariest of all his proffered scenarios are the unknown unknowns: 

known known:  We know the climate is exhibiting variable characteristics at a rate that we’ve not seen for the last several hundred years… 

known unknown:  but that has been determined through core samples to have occurred at some time in the evolution of our species, probably just before the last ice age… 

unknown unknown:  but what the precipitating factors were and when the roof is going to blow off is anybody’s guess.  

We have models, yes, but models in and of themselves are not as predictable as the model makers would have you believe.  If they were, the meteorologists would always be right.  The reason for model inaccuracies, beyond the usual percentage points of variability, is Mother Earth herself.  She knows something’s wrong so she’s put override systems in place, just in case.  While we’re working hard to bury ourselves under fossil fuel fallout, filling the air and water with the detritus, old Gaia is shaking herself free of us like a dog fresh from a bath.  With a typhoon here and a hurricane there, here a wildfire, there a wildfire, everywhere a wildfire… sing along with me.

 

Fact:  The first decade of the millennium was the warmest on record, and our ability to determine past weather patterns goes back pretty far — about 800,000 years.

Fact:  Increases in rainfall, snowfall, bigger storm events, heat waves, drought conditions, and increased variability are indicative of climate change.

Fact:  The earth’s temperature has increased by more than 1.4 degrees in the last 100 years.  

Fact:  The earth does go through warming and cooling phases, but not at this rate.

Fact:  The sun has not increased its solar energy output (an argument made by climate change critics), which means all fingers are pointing to us humans and our overuse of fossil fuels as the prime suspects.

Fact:  While we need a certain amount of CO2 so plants and trees can do their photosynthesis thing, too much and we choke off our own oxygen flow since the plants can’t keep pace with us. (Perhaps if we clear-cut fewer forests, the ones that make way for raising beef cattle and grew more sustainable products instead, we’d stand a better chance in this department, and now with the Amazon burning…).

Fact:  An increase of 2 degrees F will result in a 5-15% crop reduction; 3-10% increase in rainfall during heavy rainfall events (increasing flooding risk); a 5-10% decrease in streamflow in some river basins; and a 200-400% increase in wildfires.

Fact:  While global temperature has increased by about 1.4% over the last millennium, we are currently heading toward an unthinkable rise of between 2 and 12 degrees by the year 2100.

Fact:  Experiencing extra snowy winters doesn’t mean climate change isn’t real.  Rather, the increased water vapor in the atmosphere results in increased precipitation, a Catch 22. 

Fact:  In the last millennium and a half, global sea level has risen about 9 inches and is expected to rise 1.5 to 3 feet by 2100.  The increase in sea level will force coastal dwellers from their homes, maybe permanently, and if that happens, what the heck will it do to Manhattan?

The instability of the climate means rapid changes unlike anything history has demonstrated, a bipolar disorder of the highest magnitude.  Wildfire, heat waves, polar vortexes, flash floods, and droughts are just some of the lovely surprises that climate change has in store for us.  It’s all about balance, sustainability, inconsistent consistency, the latter which is what normal weather is like — fickle, but not spiteful. 

The Earth was here before and she’ll be here long after we’re gone.  We all know the truth: it’s time for an intervention.  We can help Mother Nature deal with her issues because we are her issues.  The government is not going to save us and neither are the aliens, in case you were wondering.  The only ones who can save us are us.  It’s time to do what we do best as a country — solve problems, innovate, lead so others might follow.  The payoff — as if saving the planet and ourselves wasn’t enough — is that there’s a heck of a lot of money to be made in green technology, but first, we need to cure our global bipolar disorder and think things through in rational, logical terms.

All it takes is a firm commitment, some big thinkers working on long-range solutions, and the marketplace to throw its vision, money, and muscle behind this mission. We can’t win this one, not on the track we’re driving, not without us all working together in the spirit of cooperation to effect a cure. 

Are you in?  

pam lazos 8.25.19

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in climate change, congress, ecosystems, environment, environmental effects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Global Bipolar Disorder

  1. I just don’t understand how people can deny cause and effect. That’s just so, so basic, you know? If you throw a lot of junk into the air, it’s going to affect the atmosphere. Just look at all the news about vaping–“inhaling chemicals ACTUALLY AFFECTS YOUR SYSTEM!” And people are…shocked by this? Honestly, it’s like the human race has never grown past that infantile mindset of “if I can’t see it, it’s not there.” sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JoAnna says:

    So we protest, demonstrate, write letters, blog posts, vote, campaign, etc….. and that’s all important. And since the forests are being clear-cut to make way for raising beef cattle, then not eating beef and moving to a plant-based diet would be direct actions we can all take, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindasschaub says:

    It’s so sad that we are at this point and now scratch our respective heads and ask “how did this happen?” The erratic weather for all four seasons seemed to begin in 2017 here in Michigan – it was not as noticeable to me until then. It’s been downhill ever since Pam, no rhyme or reason to the seasons anymore, and, after perusing the 2019-2020 forecast for SE Michigan by “The Farmer’s Almanac” I realize that erratic weather is no longer the new norm, but it is clearly here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gottfried says:

    Wonderful article

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – actually I’m with Jacqui on this … we all need to do everything in our power to do what we can to eliminate the things we know hurt humanity and Gaia … the Administrations of this world will carry on protecting their jobs and not helping much – which is why each of us has to do our bit. I’m not scientific enough to put more down – just know what I read from other sources … not the general media or social media – if you can call it social – but that’s another matter. The most important thing right now is to be reasonable in all things – perhaps eventually we could bring peace back into the world. All the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cath says:

    I wish I’d read this excellent post 24 hours ago, as I’d have quoted it to someone who last evening told me that all the global warming warnings are a big conspiracy to injure the rights of the working-classes.

    I did offer a few counter suggestions, but apparently he’s been following an independent news-site which dishes all the dirt. His main evidence is something to do with Al Gore’s enormous house, built by the sea and guzzling electricity.

    I offered a few reminders about climatic changes we’ve experienced in the last few years and moved on. I’m hoping they might fester, but a lot of people do seem to believe that if it’s on the internet it has to be true – and then look out for the version that tells them what they want to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stefanie says:

    I am absolut in. I decided this summer after a unprecedented heat wave and so many worrying news about wild fires, melting of permafrost and the Arctic Ice that I have to do something. I am sure, everyone of you is already doing what they can. However, if you want to do something more, join the “Fridays for Future” or “Climate Strike” movements. There will be a global climate strike week from 20th-27th September (https://www.fridaysforfuture.org or search for it in Facebook/Twitter) with events everywhere. The demonstrations I visited so far were absolutely peacefully and people of all generations take part. Join us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Thanks for the info, Stephanie!🙏 Right now, student activist Greta Thunberg is sailing across the ocean from England to America to take part in the U.N. Climate talks!

      Like

  8. Ally Bean says:

    I laughed out loud at your accurate assessment of Rumsfeld’s “tortured phraseology” and wondered once again why some people can not/will not speak clearly. The need to obfuscate is so programmed into them that saying the truth straight up, like about climate change, is impossible. That being said, great post here. Timely and specific– and clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ken Dowell says:

    I don’t know how many times I would have to read that Rumsfeld quote before it would start making sense. Hasn’t happened yet. Everything else you wrote makes sense though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. susan scott says:

    I’m in – thanks Pam, facts speak to me, even the unknown unknowns. We’ve barely had a winter down here at the sea, though it’s somewhat cooler today. FB’d your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mick Canning says:

    Unfortunately, the ones who are NOT in are the ones with the power – the politicians, the CEOs of the fossil fuel industry and their ilk. Vested interests, power and profits will trump (if you’ll pardon the expression) common sense any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Catwoods says:

    Exceptional article, Pam! I’m certainly in, although a bit discouraged from uphill battles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Certainly understandable, Cath, because it feels like everything is a battle these days, but as I just said to a friend the other day, don’t give up five minutes before the miracle happens. 😘🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Glaciers melting. Ocean levels rising. The time for enlightened action is NOW.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Mother Nature has been trying to tell us what’s going on for a long time now, but no one listened. Now she is screaming and still no one hears. These are scary times and I fear about to get scarier. But there is always the hope that we can turn some of it around or slow it down. I sure hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like over half the scientists around the world have a different attitude toward global warming (does that make me a denier–because I disagree with some facts?). I do agree that man’s activities contribute to global warming. I just disagree on the solutions–and that is actually the stance of the current administration, not a denier, we agree that the climate is warmer, just a different view on solutions.

    I do agree with some of your facts. Here’s one of my fun facts: In the 1970’s, the press and the world in general was totally stressed about global cooling.

    Another fun fact: In the mid-1800’s, we had a mini-ice age. Currently, we are in a warming period of an ice age.

    I hope we can still be friends, simply with different opinions on a set of facts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Of course, Jacqui! Good science is all about debate. That’s what spurs the best consensus. And if there are facts in dispute, it’s likely more a different interpretation of them rather than different facts.
      As to this administration, though, they are undoing decades of good environmental work so I’m going to have to disagree with you there. 😩😘

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re a rarity, Pam. Most people start calling me names just because I dare have a different opinion. I spent a lot of time researching global warming before arriving at my conclusions, as I’m sure you did. It’s interesting how that works, that two smart people look at the data and arrive at difference conclusions. It’s not just us but lots of smart people. That’s the beauty of democracy and freedom of speech. Hugs to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        And also the beauty of science, Jacqui. It’s never exact, but always evolving. I think about how they used radium back in the 40’s (??) because they thought it cured cancer. 🙄
        I just see a lot from the perspective of my job and when you look at all the pieces together, it’s not possible that humans aren’t a giant contributing factor to such weird weather patterns, sea level rise and a global increase in temperature. The earth will definitely survive. We on the other hand may not. 😱 I’m hoping we find the right technologies to at least slow the pace. If all the problems, the dwindling supply of fresh water is the one that keeps me up at night.

        Like

  16. You are spot on. The Earth was here long before etc but we sure are the problem. So you can bet I’m in x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Global Bipolar Disorder — Green Life Blue Water | Three Worlds One Vision

  18. Shared your post on my blog, Three Worlds One Vision.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Excellent article, Pam. The “unknown unknown” is the real beast. Count me in!

    Liked by 1 person

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