Our Dearest Children:
First and foremost, please accept our deep concern and even deeper sympathies for all the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy. We too mourn the loss of life and are aghast at the extraordinary destruction and devastation it has caused to so many millions of you. But please try to understand that this meteorological cataclysm -- which many have chosen to call a "Once-in-a-Hundred-Years-Storm" -- is not a lone act of caprice or insensitivity on our part. Rather, Hurricane Sandy, like the rising seas, the record low levels of sea ice in the Arctic, the record warm temperatures in the Atlantic, severe droughts in the Midwest and almost constant fires in Texas -- is part of a climactic concatenation which, we regret to say, is as much your doing as ours. To quote some of our younger, more cynical children:
"HELLO . . . ANYONE HOME?"
Father Time and I have never been able to quite fathom how so many of
you can deny that all these events have something to do with how you've
been mistreating the planet. By now, everyone should know that pumping billions
upon billions of tons of carbon and other noxious gasses into the
atmosphere every day has changed the delicate balance which we -- Mother Nature and Father Time -- have been overseeing for billions upon
billions of years. Unbelievably, despite a welter of evidence provided
by something like 98% of the world's atmospheric scientists that global
real, largely man-made and incredibly perilous, many -- and this
includes much of a political party -- simply deny defy and vilify. And
for what? Votes which will elect people who are bought and paid for by
the barons of oil, coal and other polluting sources of energy?
Hurricane Sandy, we regret to inform you, is not a "Once-in-a-Hundred-Year Storm": it is a picture
what is to come -- if it is not already here. And believe us: mega
wealth can't offer a shred of protection against rising temperatures and
rising seas, against melting icecaps and receding coastlines.
A couple of days ago, the New York Times' Timothy Egan noted that "A catastrophic storm has no feelings, no fury, no compassion and certainly no political position." While a catastrophic storm -- or a drought, or raging river -- may possess none of these, we -- Mother Nature and Father Time -- certainly do. Unbeknownst to much of humanity, we do have feelings, fury and compassion. When you suffer, we suffer; when you feel like screaming to the wind ENOUGH! so do we. (So far as possessing a political position or agenda . . . we'll leave that bit of lunacy to radio talk show hosts.)
At this point, you are no doubt wanting to demand "But if you do have feelings, if you are capable of both fury and compassion, why do you create so many natural disasters in the first place?" It is a good question, and while we certainly understand the fear and utter frustration behind it, part of the answer resides within your very question: these are natural disasters. We have been creating floods, famines, freezes, droughts, dustbowls, typhoons and a thousand other events for literally billions of years. Like it or not, that's part of what nature is and does. But then too, we have also been responsible for blue skies and rainbows, for friendly breezes, fecund rain forests and Giant Redwoods.
Neither Mother Nature nor I fault you for your relative inability to grasp the enormity of time and the cyclical nature of . . . well, nature. No matter how many times you read or repeat the words "What has been is that which shall be, and that which has been done is that which shall be done . . ." they don't seem to sink in. And as we just stated, for this we do not fault you. What we cannot grasp however, is your inability to comprehend the very reality you have created for yourselves -- a gravely damaged planet. The facts, the evidence for how you have mistreated Mother Nature is obvious -- and becoming increasingly more so with each passing year. And yet, so many of you either deny its reality or turn it in to a partisan political football to be punted yet again to the opposite end of the field.
Both Father Time and I believe that you are smart enough -- at least from a technological sense -- and creative enough to begin the process of reversal before we give up on you and let you destroy yourselves once and for all. We worry, however, that you may not possess the wisdom or the will to turn things around before its too late. Political bitchiness aside, perhaps the problem is that you no longer appreciate the fact that singular achievements can and do take decades -- and sometimes generations -- to accomplish. They require tens and hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of people working towards the same goal. You seem to have lost this ability. Perhaps it is the speed at which you now live; if something cannot be accomplished in a year, a month, a day or a nanosecond -- or four years -- you throw up your hands and walk away in frustrated disgust.
Believe us when we say that in the present circumstance, such a response can be fatal.
However, Father Time and I do see a couple of streaks of sunlight flitting across an otherwise caliginous sky. First, the manner in which all of you are pulling together to help one another is most heartening. If you are ever going to reverse the planet's warming, it will only come about by everyone working together; by coming to the realization that communal action trumps rugged individualism ninety-nine times out of a hundred. Next, we see a faint glimmer of political bipartisanship in the mutual respect and admiration shown by President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. (Father Time and I wonder if in embracing the president, Christie may not have sealed his political fate -- somewhat like, ironically, another governor with the same initials: Charlie Crist. Only time -- your time, not ours -- will tell.) Lastly, we delighted that a number of public officials who have previously voiced doubts about the reality of global warming are now beginning to sound less like people who reject science and more like members of the 21th century. Strangely though, Governor Romney -- who previously found the evidence supporting man-made global warming to be an obvious no-brainer, now voices his doubts. As Mother Nature said the other night, "What some people won't say or do in order to keep their backers happy!"
And so, in conclusion, dear children, please know that we are just as
distressed as you at what has transpired over the past several days. We
pray that you will finally, finally understand what you have done to
this planet and take whatever serious, purposive steps are necessary to
reverse the tide of folly. The knowledge is there; the technology is
available. What it will take to succeed is a vision of the bigger
picture, the understanding that time is of the essence, and the
recognition that a goal of this magnitude will take several decades to
achieve. And do remember that ultimately, we -- Mother Nature and Father Time -- we will have the final say.
We'll do our part if you will just do yours.
Be good to yourselves,
Mother Nature Father Time
-2012 Kurt F. Stone