The Ends of the Earth 


For the last week or so it has been in the triple digits in the Sierra foothills where I live. Judging by the weather reports this seems to have been a heat wave stretching through most of California and perhaps beyond. But the high temperatures haven’t even been the worst part. What is most frustrating is how it doesn’t cool off at night. The other day, for instance, the high temperature was 104 degrees and the low was 71. It was also 80 degrees at midnight, which is about as hot as I can handle without AC blasting in my face. Now, I realize that a lot of people who read my blog use celsius, so I’ll save you going to Google and converting those temperatures: it’s been really hot and hasn’t stopped. 

I realize that although the hot weather certainly isn’t pleasant by any normal standards, it is considered fairly typical for this region during the months of June through September.

What is not typical, however, is that merely a week before this heat wave started, it was snowing. Yes, SNOWING. HERE. IN JUNE. Sorry, I hate using all caps, but this is ridiculous. To go from snowing with thunder and lightning to triple digit temperatures is far from normal. 

Now I don’t want to get all liberal and preachy on you, but in my mind it’s pretty easy to recognize the source. It’s hard to argue that this unusual weather is anything but climate change. Perhaps this kind of crazy shift in the weather has happened in the past, I’m sure it has, but how do we know that wasn’t related to polluting the Earth during bygone times?

I recently got an invitation to attend the screening of a new documentary called “In This Climate,” an event in NYC hosted by a group called Liberatum. There are a lot of great pundits in the documentary who say some very insightful things. 

In particular, there was one line in the trailer from a pundit (whose name escapes me at the moment) and it stood out to me the most. I’m paraphrasing, but it was something along the lines of: the climate change we are experiencing today is a result of the emissions and other pollution from 20 years ago. 

This makes me think that the dramatic shifts in the weather -– snowing one week and triple-digit temperatures the next– that have happened in previous years, or decades, may have been repercussions of even earlier pollution. In other words, if the weather was dramatically shifting in 1990, perhaps it was a result of the ballooning fossil fuel emissions from the 1970s. 

Now for those who think I’m just being a biased liberal when it comes to climate change, let me just pose this question: what exactly am I biased about? 

I have no ulterior motive or anything to gain from preaching about climate change. I’m not going to get rich from people using solar energy and driving electric cars. I merely have the same interest that, frankly, everyone should have: to keep the Earth habitable for as long as possible. 

Having said that, I know how difficult it can be to reduce your eco-footprint. It is extremely difficult, as someone chronically ill, to not harm the environment. The number of nitrile gloves alone that I go through each day are enough to give Al Gore a heart attack. I wrote about these struggles in an Op-Ed for the Oregonian a few months ago and not much has changed for me since. If anything, in fact, my eco-footprint has grown as I have increased my treatments. 

I try to cut myself slack in this regard because ultimately the governments and corporations of the world are the ones who can make the biggest difference in reversing climate change. And I do realize that as individuals, we have to look out for ourselves first, especially when it comes to our health, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean we have to show a blatant disregard for the environment. I mean, maybe it’s too late to save the environment (though I honestly don’t think that’s true), but I certainly think it’s worth trying to save it. And while it’s certain that one day — whether it is in 100 years or a million years — the Earth will cease to exist, as will all of us (sorry I had to go there), but when the end does come, I guarantee nobody will be saying: “Damn, I should have used more plastic.”

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22 thoughts on “The Ends of the Earth ”

  1. There are 7 billion of us. If we each do a little bit more, it adds up. Fellow liberal here, but the conservatives and libertarians and everyone else will get crisped, along with the climate change deniers. There’s no escaping climate.
    Not for all of us.

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s scary to watch from afar. I feel so safe in San Diego where the weather barely changes. But I look at places like Phoenix and I think…how long will that be sustainable? Also sad to watch this beautiful state dry up, but that’s a whole different topic, kind of.

  3. I think I started preaching about global warming back in the 80s when, at the age of 9, I discovered rainforests and deforestation. It’s truly heartbreaking when you think of all the animal species and all the unknown cures for disease that are basically being wiped out because of people. I won’t get on my soapbox here, because that’s a big soapbox, but it breaks my heart on many levels–and it’s SO FRUSTRATING that people don’t understand science. And it’s a huge reflection of how our schools have failed the general public in regards to science education. As a former science teacher and someone who spent four years studying all of the ramifications, it drives me nuts.

    I mean–in CO, for example, summer is basically known as fire season because of how horribly dry things are and how hot it is every year. It used to be warm when I was growing up–but not heat wave after heat wave.

    I’ve noticed, for me, I’ve been more and more interested in how my choices as a consumer affect the environment. I am currently an omnivore, for example, who really tries to make sustainable, local choices that are as humane as possible. But lately, I am having a hard time justifying eating meat because of its impact on the environment–even when done in respectful ways. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by it as an individual–just knowing how much past populations hurt our planet.

    1. That’s a really good point. I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, although not for environmental reasons, and I still forget about how much meat production impacts the environment.

      1. I was veggie for a bit for political reasons, but struggled with nutritional deficiencies because I had a lot to learn about diet and etc. Now, I eat meat as a garnish, maybe 1-2x a week. I am mostly veggie except for dairy products. I think I could easily give it up and likely will because of these kinds of things. The more I get into mindful eating, the more I struggle with it.

  4. Actually short of a catastrophic meteor, or similar event, the the earth will be around for another couple billion years at which point our dying sun will have expanded to the point that it will have engulfed the planet. However it will become too hot to live on (with our without global warming) in about a billion years.

    It terms of weather I have noticed here on the SF Bay across from the Golden Gate bridge we used to get one or two heatwaves a year that reached around 100F, but for many years now we are lucky to reach 90F. This last heat wave it was only 85F on the hottest day. Also there is a new phenomenon on some days that I call “hot fog” where the fog is blowing in from the coast but the air temperature is now several degrees warmer that it used to be so it starts feeling a hot and humid, especially with the mid-day sun shining down.

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  6. Snow is not unusual in summer months in Alberta depending on where you have parked yourself to live. We once had a snowstorm in the 90’s! lol If everyone of us did a little bit to help offset climate change even recycling will help then we are all contributing. Brain fog’s happening pretty good today so hope it all came out all right. Night All!

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  9. Climate change is real. And since US is a country that is looked upon, the exit from the Paris Climate Deal. It may change things politically in whatever way, but as far as awareness is concerned – the world has been gifted more ignorance. Posts like these help keep the talk on. The more we talk, the more we increase awareness, and it might just be starting a balcony/backyard farm. Cheers Jamison

  10. I consider myself an environmentalist and I really relate with worrying about my eco-footprint. Being sick with CFS, I’m more sensitive to extreme temperatures and always feel guilty for having to turn up the AC on a hot day or even a warm evening. I can’t just open my windows at night for a cool breeze as the sounds from the nearby highway and airport are much too loud for my sensitive ears.
    I eat restaurant take out about once a week which is not very eco-friendly given all the containers even if they are recyclable (some are not) but it’s not as if I can go out to eat at the restaurant due to my health limitations.
    I could go on and on about the ways I’m destroying the environment because of my health needs but I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks about this! We do the best we can I suppose. There are people out there who are not sick and don’t give a damn about the environment so at least we care!

  11. I’ve been in the Sierra Foothills for a couple months now staying with family. I’m originally from this area and the weather over the past year or so in CA does seem really unusual compared to what I grew up with. I’m relieved it’s only 90 today!
    I enjoy your blog, it’s great to read your very honest experiences with MECFS. It helps so much to know others are going through the same experiences. Even though my situation is a bit different, I can completely relate to just about everything you write about. Please keep up the writing and especially the brutal honesty, it’s so important!

    1. Thanks for reading Mara. I’ve only been in the area a couple years but it just seemed like weird weather to me. I’m also not a hot weather person so that makes the change more drastic. Thanks for the encou and again for reading what I write.

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