Life on the Loop
I was troubled more than a few times, actually every time I filled up, that my Great Loop adventure was fueled by hundreds of gallons of gas, a finite source of energy that the human race will eventually have to give up. Exactly when is a matter of conjecture though climate change certainly says the sooner, the better. Regardless, we’ve already used up most of the easily recoverable oil in the 150 years or so that we’ve been using the stuff – a mere blip in the human timeline, and an infinitesimal blip in the earth’s timeline.
Greta Thunberg’s sail to her New York United Nations appointment with destiny, which happened the day after I crossed my wake, added new meaning to my feeling of guilt. If you want to stick your head in the sand about climate change, it’s probably best to just keep it there and not read on.
Climate change has been part of the earth’s history forever. The last Ice Age ended 10,000 years age and scoured out some of the Loop’s most beautiful boating around the Trent Severn and Great Lakes. The earth’s been gradually warming ever since. But the earth can’t add 6 billion people in 200 years (it took 2 million years to reach the first billion) without effecting it’s plumbing.
If you want to waste time debating how much humans have accelerated global warming - your great, great, great grandchildren really won’t care – they’ll just be cursing your grave, livid and sweating that you didn’t do everything possible to slow it down. Because unlike previous climate cycles, there’s limited room for 7 billion people to move out of its way.
If you say that you really don’t care what your grandchildren say or think, I question your soul. If you think it’s not up to you to help preserve our beautiful earth for the future, I question your religion, among other things.
It’s depressing to think that the human race has little chance to exceed the lifespan of the dinosaurs. Actually, we have little chance of surviving a tenth of it – the Age of the Dinosaurs is measured in millions, not thousands of years.
I’ve pretty much kept politics out of my stories, only occasionally using indisputable quotes from Donald Trump when they fit a story. Like most Loopers, I value Looper civility well above politics. And regardless what side you fall on, we’ll get over today’s divisiveness, eventually. The John Adams-Thomas Jefferson election is still the standard for political debauchery. But even they made up and became close friends, thanks mainly to Abigail – each thinking on their same day deathbed on July 4th, 1826 that at least the other lived to carry on.
But I care very much about my children and grandchildren. The real sin of the Trump presidency, the consequence of which will fall on them, is reversing what little progress we’ve made on climate change for highly questionable, short term economic gain. If that short term or the ‘America First’ attitude prevails, the eventual day of reckoning for either running out of oil or climate change will make today’s divisiveness seem like kindergarten play. America, and indeed the world, must work together and look beyond the end of our nose if the human race, or indeed the earth, is to survive.
I am fundamentally an optimist. I revel in the wonders of the world and the goodness of people. The Earth is just too awesome to be random; whoever created it gave the human race intelligence as well as instincts. I suspect he or she might be somewhat aghast at how we’ve sometimes chosen to use that gift, or more grotesquely, chosen not to use it to solve global warming.
I can only hope that my stories might contribute to using that intelligence more productively: a more civil discourse and better tolerance of others' positions, beliefs and contributions - an absolute necessity, but only the beginning if we’re going to meet the technical challenge of running out of oil, much less outliving the dinosaurs.
That’s not much for the amount of gas I used, but it helps me sleep a little bit better.