What a beautiful day! It’s a day when everything seems possible. We are now about one month before the spring equinox, but spring came early. And that’s frightening.
I woke up at 5, dropped the top on the red roadster, and zipped down to the 24 Diner. It’s a favorite breakfast spot. I unfolded the Timesand read while I ate. When I was walking the Town Lake Trail every Sunday, I ate breakfast at the Diner every Sunday. That was when I was writing Benchmarks (Year of Sundays). I finished my coffee and left the Diner.
I reached the trail in the predawn light. I started walking west, and made it to Lou Neff Point just at the critical moment. There were already a couple of sunrise lovers there before me. I watched as the golden torch rose, sent bright rays careening through downtown towers, smeared syrupy light down the lake, and spread color across the sky. Inspiring.
I kept walking west. On the Crenshaw Bridge I did a little more sungazing, then crossed to the north side and headed east. There was a marathon going on. Good for them. I saw an old friend. (Why didn’t I take a picture?) The air warmed up, and I took off my jacket. At the Pfluger Bridge I walked up to the street and the red roadster.
At home, I opened the blinds and opened the windows. Let the spring day in! Then, I clicked up Dvorák’s New World Symphonyand pushed the slider to loud. I have a lot to do today, and Dvorák always cranks up my energy.
I looked at the Timesfor another minute. The lead story in Sunday Review is “Time to Panic.” Subhead is “The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.” Well, finally, someone said it.
Time to panic! That deserves an exclamation point. We’re barreling downhill toward a cliff, picking up speed every minute. Hit the damn brakes!
Most of us know the threat. The planet is heating up at an alarming rate. Extremes of weather are rampaging around the world, leaving paths of death and destruction. The polar ice caps are melting. Sea level is rising.
Most of us know the cause. Our production of greenhouse gases is trapping heat that should be escaping into space.
But most of us can’t focus on the enormity of it. The threat has now become immediate. We’re already past the point of no return, if you were thinking of that world that the boomers were born into. We’re past the point of no return if you were thinking of that world that the gen exers were born into. We’re about to lose forever the world we’re in now.
“The collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon,” David Attenborough said. Think about that. What world are we heading for? Maybe the one of the Permian, about 250 million years ago. And do you think 7.7 billion people can survive in that world? No.
Is this the time for everyone to become a survivalist? Hardly. Is it the time for everyone to become a conservationist? Well, sure. But personal conservation is not going to turn this around.
We must hammer our governments into tools to fight climate change. This is the time for governments around the world to take dramatic action. This is the time for individuals and societies to be afraid of the real disaster looming, to panic, to demand action.
Well, the symphony has finished, and this early spring day is balmy. I have other things to do. Enjoy the day, but don’t forget to be afraid.