(Article changed on October 12, 2012 at 18:21)
Found this fascinating web site that tells you -- calculates on the spot -- how far it is from here to there "as the crow flies;" the shortest distance on a globe. Of course no crow flies as far as I am from the capital of my country. I live farther away from Washington, DC, than St. Petersburg, Russia, is from Washington, DC. A few miles closer than Istanbul is from Washington, DC.
That is probably why the world I see is almost the opposite of the world as seen from the Capital. We have no doubt that climate change is here. On this side of the island no drought, no torrential rains, but we've had a few days of 86 -. In Honolulu that is now the new normal. Fifty years ago our tourist bureau used to say that it never got much above 80 - on these islands, and every day it would get up to 80 -. No longer, of course.
Islands are surrounded by water, known to soften extremes of weather. But now our weather is more extreme than it is supposed to be. On the other side of this island they had a severe drought with wildfires that could not be doused because there are no roads up there and we have no helicopters to scoop up seawater and dump it on forest fires high on the mountain.
It's not so much more or less temperature or rain, but everything is "off." I've lived here for twenty years, twelve years in the same house. I learned when the fruit I like ripens. It never changed much from year to year -- until two, three years ago. Suddenly passion fruit, both varieties, ripened a month earlier, the next year four months later. Now it ripens "now and then," without any kind of regularity. The experts tell me it's the consequence of rain-and-sun that no longer does the same thing it did forever.
I read that Washington, DC, had a brutally hot summer. Guess our government people did not notice because they live air-conditioned lives. From air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices to air-conditioned bars and restaurants, air-conditioned TV studios, and air-conditioned wherever else their lives are lived. We, the tax payers, pay their generous salaries and every politician is supported by 26 lobbyists, I read: they pay for the rest and then some. Guess the people who make the rules live in a very different world than we the 99.9%.
Today, toward the middle of October it was 84 - at noon. In August we had a week and a half when it never got past 73 - the whole day. We are in the northern hemisphere, so our summer is July, August, and winter is December, January. Our winters are not snow and ice, but winter days are an hour and a half shorter than summer days. Now it is confusingly different. Is it now Fall or belated Summer? Or something new altogether?
In summer we are six hours behind the east coast, three behind the west coast. And daylight saving time is most of the time, more months than the few months of winter time.
We're a lot closer to Yokohama, Japan, for instance, than we are to Washington, DC, Beijing is farther than Washington, DC from here, but not much. Calculating time there in East Asia is tricky because they are a whole day ahead of us and then you subtract a few hours. Countries in East and Southeast Asia know about climate change. They know it is here. Guess their politicians don't have air conditioning, and probably fewer or no lobbyists.
Mauna Loa - my art