“Think globally, act locally” was one of those 1990s slogans that was born tired and as exciting as cardboard, along with the saccharine “It takes a village.” But as the
global warmingclimate change hysteria winds down, it comes to mind again.
At first, I accepted the global warming notion. It seemed so convenient: nature would force us to quit our reckless overconsumption, and we could stop it through this one easy method, limiting carbon. Then I realized that it was a proxy, or a symbolic intermediate for the real problem, which was actually just the sum total of human impact on the environment.
That in turn touched on a taboo because human impact is a function of the number of humans. Few humans, low impact, even if they drive V8s and smoke cigars and live in 4,000 square foot homes. But once we got above a billion of us worldwide, we began to do real damage. It’s not the space required to house us. It’s the farming, the fishing, the roads, the parking lots, the hospitals and schools — in short, everything required to support us. And it’s not that we have taken over all of the empty spaces. It is that we have influenced them enough to disrupt their ecosystems, which effectively corners natural species by limiting their range and then inbreeds them to death.
Problems began showing up early with the climate change narrative. First, all of the evidence was computer models, and people kept forgetting to input important data. You can make a computer model say anything if you leave out some of the factors that will influence it, like weather patterns or rainfall. Even better you can have the model cherry-pick data, rejecting “non-conforming” input and keeping only what will print out the desired result. Second, it became clear that like the environmental movement itself, climate change had been hijacked and turned into the usual revenge-against-the-more-competent agenda of the left, involving first-world nations limiting themselves so that more numerous third world nations could pollute. Finally, the “solutions” kept getting stupider and stupider. From demanding we drive cars with a half-ton of toxic batteries that would need dumping every ten years to ruining lightbulbs, the global warming cadre made themselves look like complete lunatics.
Since that time, I have been thinking locally. In my home city, which has doubled in population over the past ten years, the proliferation of concrete in roads, parking lots and multiple-story structures has effectively changed the climate. All of that concrete reflects light and thus heat back into the atmosphere, and slowly releases the heat it does retain during the nights. More cars and pollution have further changed the climate, especially on days without wind. The result is that a huge swathe of territory has become essentially a giant reflector shield for heat, and it has changed the climate. We do not have seasons any more, in any meaningful way. The air streams we used to rely on have shifted north, away from the concrete. Most days are hotter, more humid and more airless. Local warming has come to town.
After several decades on this earth, I have become acquainted with humans in groups. They believe in what is convenient, and compromise with facts to do what is convenient. Global warming was convenient in that we all had to rush out and buy the stupid ersatz light bulbs, but everything else could keep on going just as it had been. The real target, our reckless growth and overpopulation, was never mentioned. That was the point of global warming as an issue: to conceal the actual need, and replace it with a symbolic one, so that no one had to be inconvenienced.
In the meantime, you have to drive much farther to find any stand of trees more than fifty feet wide, and the wild birds and animals are less numerous. The days are longer and hotter. The people are more miserable, cramped and angry. They came to this city to get away from all that, apparently oblivious — and there is no excuse for this — to the fact that moving everyone from LA to a new city will replicate the conditions of the old. They have all switched their bumper stickers from climate change to transgender rights, and are continuing to do what is convenient: changing nothing important, making a big to-do of the useless, and then secretly laughing their heads off as all of our efforts fail yet again.