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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Global weirding

I heard Thomas Friedman speak last night, and the following paragraph that he read from his book was powerful: "Later" was a luxury for previous generations, eras, civilizations, and epochs. It meant that you could paint the same landscape, see the same animals, eat the same fruit, climb the same trees, fish the same rivers, enjoy the same weather or rescue the same endangered species that you did when you were a kid - but just do it later, whenever you got around to it. Nature's bounty seemed infinite and all the threats to it either limited or reversible. In the Energy-Climate Era, given the accelerating rates of extinction and development, "later" is going to be removed from the dictionary. "Later" is no longer when you get to do all those things in nature you did as a kid - on your time schedule. "Later" is when they're gone - when you won't get to do any of them ever again. "Later" is too late - so whatever we are going to save, we'd better start saving now. From Flat, Hot, and Crowded, by Thomas L. Friedman.

Friedman is an inspiring speaker who makes a convincing argument that we need to take action now to stop global warming (or 'global weirding' as he likes to say). Being out in nature, observing the animals and plants of the forest, is when I'm happiest, so his words struck fear into my heart.

As we fled the city last night, I enjoyed leaving behind its light pollution. I gazed out to the west and saw a huge mountain range with no electrical lights marring the view. When we arrived home, the stars glittered against the pitch black sky.

The wind howled this morning, making me think that we should have a wind turbine to supplement our solar power, especially on a day like today that dawned gray.

For our ride today, I strongly wanted to avoid going near any roads - because I'm sick of roads and because the wind hits me harder when I'm out of the forest.

So, I set out determined to use the powers of the Fatback to stay on snowy trails for the entire ride. As I'm getting used to my Fatback, I'm becoming a more aggressive pilot at the helm. Today, I rode over and through snow drifts and managed to avoid walking even on forested north-facing slopes. I was awed by the powers of the Fatback - it can go over or through almost anything.

K and I made it to another trail network and another world opened to us. K seemed overjoyed to be exploring territory that she hasn't visited in months. She zipped around like a high-octane puppy and joyfully leaped over all of the downed trees.

By the end of the ride, the Divide briefly peeked out from the clouds to the west and blue sky emerged to the east.

We didn't see many animals today but we did see a plethora of trees infested with the Pine Beetle - a destructive insect whose population is exploding thanks to the lack of bitterly cold winter temperatures - reminding me that 'later' will be too late to stop global weirding.


  1. Ooooh...I recognize that last picture and it made me smile :)

    And I'm falling more in love with that chocolate worried face. She's so sweet!

    Sounds like a nice ride.

    How appropriate to be thinking about global warming during this summer, OOPS-I mean WINTER. What ridiculous temperatures, winds, and lack of snow we've had.

    Hoping for a last hurrah in March and April!

  2. I've been getting increasingly pessimistic about the future prospects of our planet lately. I hope I'm way off base, but it is seeming more and more like it is already too late to reverse course in a meaningful enough way... It always drives me crazy whenever we have a very cold day and people say "so mich for global warming!"


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