Above: "How did you do it? How did you evolve, how did you survive this technological adolescence without destroying yourself?" Jodie Foster as Eleanor Arroway, Contact (1997).
The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (January-February 2022) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure at www.astropublishing.com.
We return to our astro-centric selection of excellent articles and original content with a perspective on climate change that, I think, cuts down the less-spoken middle of the debate. Yes, climate change is real. Yes, the climate has changed many, many, many times in Earth's history. Yes, it isn't affecting major economies fast enough yet for the developed world to propose an Apollo-like approach to solve the problem (Because we haven't! Go look). Yes, the overall increase and wild swings in damaging weather patterns we're experiencing as of late will most likely continue for years and decades to come. Yes, it was "-0 F" this morning according to my Apple Watch. Yes, you should wonder where the energy is coming from to push that much cold air down from the north to make such an event occur several years in a row. Yes, the trend is for the coastal areas to suffer considerable economic hardships that tax dollars and massive spending projects are going to try to resolve/mitigate whether any individual taxpayer likes it or not (and not just because the U.S. Department of Defense itself is planning how to deal with this issue and the instabilities therein. See climateandsecurity.org and Tackling The Climate Crisis for sample examples).
Like the frog from low-boil, we will adjust slowly and reactively as our species is want to do, complaining about the inconvenience all the way, adjusting to the new normal with some of the frog historians remembering the good olde days of pleasant soaks.
That said, Earth doesn't much care. The damage is only to our current comfort level and standing as the self-appointed shepherds of life currently sharing the planet with us. It should make us collectively disappointed that the civilizations who considered the seventh generation were nearly eradicated by the civilizations more concerned about progress for the 1/7th generation, but this post is being written on an Apple product that stopped being the "newest" and "best-ever" such product only five years ago despite the last model being fully-capable of performing the tasks needed to draft and post.
The issue (climate change) is made more pressing now that I consider it as a parent, knowing the generational solutions, whatever they are, are going to burden my kids and alter the world they're going to inherit in ways that no one yet knows how to prepare them for – and that includes knowing they (in particular) may not directly experience the changes in detrimental ways as they grow up simply because of the otherwise idyllic, seasonally-varied, and fresh water-engorged location we now finds ourselves in (although, yearly news cycle after yearly news cycle, we've been happy each of the last five years that we didn't buy the lakefront house and the accompanying exorbitant insurance policy).
Michele's take is well worth the read – as is the rest of the issue.
Browser-readable version: www.astropublishing.com/1FAM2022/
Jump to the PDF download (25.6 MB): January-February 2022