Archive for January, 2007

Hatchet

January 24, 2007

We’ve been going through a rough time – rabbits dying of unrelated diseases, unexpected new bunnies due to mis-sexing (it only took one), depression occasioned by the inability to live the Serenity Prayer, a slump in my business, a well-loved cat missing and presumed dead, marital troubles occasioned by the visit of my daughter, on top of a really useless winter with no skating or skiing, Jersey weather – all in all, some powerful heavenly body seems to be in retrograde for us. (That said, the attitude of gratitude is never far below the surface.)

So yesterday, on the healing side of the bump in our relational road, Quan smudged the house with sweet grass, and I went out to start a sauna to burn out this wretched karma, whatever it is. Chopping kindling in the candlelight (not wise, I know), the hatchet hit a knot and bounced over to peel off a strip of flesh from my left index finger. Annoyed at first (it didn’t hurt much), I kept stuffing the split wood into the firebox, until I saw and felt the blood dripping off the heel of my hand.

I went outside in the dark and pressed snow into the cut, which immediately melted into pink stains below me. I went inside and popped some ice onto it, but the momentary look inside my skin was disconcerting. Funny how I can do dissections, and hold another’s heart in my hands without queasiness, but my own blood and fascia is immediately and viscerally dissociating. Quan was insisting I should go get it stitched, but I resisted until 15 minutes of icing had failed to staunch the bleeding. Again, I looked, and this time the vastness of the space and the movability of the skin left me lightheaded. (Wuss!)

Our neighbor, a nurse, looked at it and said it needed the stitches, as well as a good cleaning. It’s total black ice here now, so no one was on the road, and the emergency room at our local (good) hospital was empty. Even so, an hour later I was still sitting in the examining room, presssing cotton to my wound, unseen, except to take insurance data. The sweet old PA who finally wandered in injected anesthetic directly into the wound, painful in itself, but the immediate aftermath was like a scorpion sting – agonizing, inescapable, stiff-armed pain that had me doubled up or pacing, going on for 20 minutes. Finally he put some topical anesthetic on it, which toned it down, but I could still feel all the stitches going in, and since he could see me flinch as he poked through each layer, he put in fewer stitches than he should have.

Only after it was over did I get a pain med. More than two hours after arrival.

Even though I am an alternative therapist, I have nothing philosophically against the medical system, which deals with a different set of problems from the ones I am equipped to handle. Therefore I prefer the term ‘complementary’ for what I do (though I cannot abide their term ‘traditional’ for what they do – with a track record of about 300 years,surgery and biochemistry are hardly ‘traditional’ compared to acupuncture, massage, and dietary modification). If indeed what I am doing is not purely educational. But every time I enter the medical system, I am appalled. I would be out of business if I offered service on the level I received last night, and this from well-meaning and unharried people. The pain of the injury was nothing compared to the pain they inflicted on me. The waiting time – perfectly justified if they were busy – wasted an evening on trivialities. Next time, I will have some betadyne, a curvy needle, and some dental floss, and with the help of a jot of rum, do it myself.

I freely admit to being a wuss, especially on my hand, essential to my living. And my injury wasn’t remotely life-threatening. But I am amazed that the reaction is not, “Here, let’s get you a pain med, and then we’ll take your data, and then we’ll clean it up, sew it up, and bandage it.”

I needed to find a local doctor anyway – I’ve been here four years without one – and this incident pushed me into doing it. The poor guy got a pretty hard interview from me today, but he took it well – “You want to be responsible for your own health care, ” he said, and that’s a nice way of putting it.

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The Case for Regime Change

January 23, 2007

I adapted this a few years ago – someone reminded me of it the other day.  Still relevant, little out of date…

(AP) – Making the case for United Nations intervention against the United States, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami told the organization yesterday that military action would be “unavoidable” unless the U.S. agrees to destroy its weapons of mass destruction.

In a much-anticipated speech to a special session of the U.N. General Assembly held in Brussels, Khatami launched a blistering attack against American leader George W. Bush, accusing him of defying U.N. resolutions and using his country’s wealth to line the pockets of wealthy cronies at a time when the people of his country make do without such basic social programs as national health insurance.

“Nearly two years ago, the civilized world watched as this evil and corrupt dictator subverted the world’s oldest representative democracy in an illegal coup d’etat,” said Khatami.  “Since then the Bush regime has continued America’s systematic repression of ethnic and religious minorities, and threatened international peace and security throughout the world.  Thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.  Basic civil rights have been violated.  This rogue state has flouted the international community on legal, economic, and environmental issues, abandoning treaties and agreements, and standing in opposition to established international rules of conduct.  It has even ignored the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war by denying that its illegal invasion of Afghanistan – which killed nearly twice as many civilians as the September 11 attack, and has had a destabilizing influence throughout Central Asia – was a war at all.”

Khatami said the U.S. possesses the world’s largest arsenal of chemical and nuclear weapons, weapons “that, when first developed, were immediately used to kill half a million innocent civilians just months after acquiring them.  No nation that has committed nuclear genocide can be entrusted with weapons of mass destruction.”

“Bush has invaded Afghanistan and is now threatening Iraq.  We cannot stand by and do nothing while danger gathers.  We can’t wait for this tyrant to strike first.  Remember the lesson of Neville Chamberlin.  We have an obligation to act pre-emptively to protect the world from this evildoer,” Khatami said.

As delegates punctuated his words with bursts of applause, Khatami noted that U.S. intelligence agencies had helped establish and fund the world’s most virulent terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, and the Taliban regime that harbored them.  “The U.S. created the Islamist extremists who attacked its people on September 11, 2001,” he stated, “and Bush’s illegitimate junta cynically exploited these attacks to repress political dissidents, make sweetheart deals with politically-connected corporations and revive 19th-century style colonial imperialism.”

Khatami asked the U.N. to set a deadline for Bush to step down in favor of president-in-exile Al Gore, the legitimate winner of the 2000 election, the results of which were subverted through widespread voter irregularities, intimidation and, ultimately, by a power play by the Supreme Court Bush’s father appointed.  “We favor not regime change, but rather restoration and liberation of the democratic rights of the American people,” he said.

In addition, Khatami said, the U.S. must dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, guarantee basic human rights to all citizens, and agree to abide by international law or “face the consequences”.

Most observers agree that those ‘consequences’ would likely include a prolonged bombing campaign targeting major U.S. cities and military installations, followed by a ground invasion led by European forces.  “Civilian casualties and collateral damage would likely be substantial,” said a French military analyst, “But the American people must be liberated from tyranny.”

Khatami’s charges, which were detailed in a dossier prepared by French President Jacques Chirac, were dismissed by a spokesman of the American strongman as “lies, half-truths, and misguided beliefs, motivated by a desire to control a country rich with oil, natural gas, and other resources.”  National Security advisor Condoleeza Rice denied that the U.S. maintains weapons of mass destruction, and invited U.N. inspectors to visit Washington and “see for themselves that our weapons are designed only to keep the peace, subject of course to full respect for American sovereignty.”

The U.N. is expected to reject any conditions for or restrictions on arms inspections.  Experts believe that the liberation of the United States will require a large ground force of coalition troops, followed by a massive rebuilding program amounting to billions of euros.  “Even before Bush, the American political system was a shambles,” said Prof. Salvatore Deluna of the University of Madrid.  “Their single-party plutocracy will have to be reshaped into a true parliamentary-style democracy.  Moreover, the economy will have to be retooled from its current military dictatorship model – in which a third of the federal budget goes to arms, and taxes are paid almost exclusively by the working class – to one in which basic human needs such as education and poverty are addressed.  Their infrastructure is a mess; they don’t even have a national passenger rail system.  Fixing a failed state of this size will require many years.”

Hat Head

January 16, 2007

sctmrk.jpg Now that winter is finally here, us Mainers submit to the series of winter indignities and inconveniences that, (or so we insist to our friends who enjoy the winter in Vero Beach) “build character”. Shoveling snow, dressing and undressing endlessly, making love under the covers, brushing and scraping the car – or, as I was with friend John yesterday, cranking up the generator to make sure it still works after a summer’s idleness, as ever-heavier ice accumulates on the power lines outside.

Among the indignities we suffer with Puritan patience is nearly permanent ‘hat head’ – unruly hair crimped into unflattering configurations by long hours in skull-hugging woolen chapeaux. We northerners just give up on our coiffure for these months, accepting with resigned good humor the tufts, wings, sprigs, Mohawks, and bell curves that emerge as we elaborately undress once again in whatever serves as a foyer.

Myself, I have never favored hats. I never wear one in public if I can avoid it; the feeling of my churning brain being belted in just never felt right – the way some people feel about watches around the wrist, belts around their middle, or ties around ther neck. I did find one leather fedora in Taos – I call it my Indiana Jones hat – that is big enough for my large cranium; I use it when there’s a warm rain.

But in this cold and wind, the tips of the ears require coverage, so I don the usual ski hat, chosen carefully for lack of head-squeeze, but still capable of turning my straight Dutch-boy hair into a haloed swirl of keratinized protein.

The trouble is, I am going bald. I am 57, and both my brothers were well-thinned by this age, so I have had a good run based on my genetics. But now when I stand under the lamp after a shower, far too much of my scalp is visible under what’s left of the forelock I have taken for granted lo, these many years.

Going bald is an irreversible sign of decay. One can insist to oneself that a diet-and-exercise regime could take off those extra accumulating pounds, and that working out would bring back that youthful muscle tone, but losing hair is a humiliating and definitive sign that one is in the second half of one’s life.

What to do? I am not about to start applying nostrums from AM radio to my head, nor are toupees, transplants, extensions, or even comb-overs in my future. I imagine I can keep the illusion going for a while with clever arranging (as David Brooks did on public television, until the empty real estate expanded into the camera’s view), but sooner or later the facts must be faced.

As I look around, i favor the short-haired look some of my friends affect – if you can see the scalp all over, the fact that it is very visible on top makes less difference. Going back to a crew cut – my grade school do – will not be easy for this old hippie, but it beats the alternatives.

Otherwise, againg is pleasant. So much less worry, angst, ambition and desperation these days. So much more ease, calm, resilience, and yes, even wisdom. Sure, I feel 18 inside – how did this intervening 4 decade hiatus happen? But with the love of a good woman, a secure home, and useful work to do, I am content to, as my mother says, ‘deteriorate on schedule’.

Quan rushes after youth with endless programs of supplements or machines, all designed to roll back the clock in the name of health. I follow what she suggests, as a matter of interest, but in fact maintaining my vitality is all that matters to me, once the next embarrassment – would you read that fine print for me? – has been accepted. Denying all of life’s pleasures in a fight with the spiritual realities of DNA, and the rest of the natural order of death and rebirth seems to me a quixotic venture, doomed to failure – and worse, worthy of ridicule.

“You’re as young as you feel” works well when you’re by yourself, but step into society and you are as young as you look. Billion dollar industries attest to this sad fact. One observes the smoothly frozen expression of Botox or the wrinkle-free parchment of plastic surgery with amusement and detachment, but not with envy.

So, unlike Gunther Van Hagens or Captain Kangaroo, I will not be wearing a permanent hat. I will wear my emerging cranium proudly, seeing in it the shape of my skull, my death to come – which I hope I will have the presence of mind to accept happily when it comes.

To my Republican Senators

January 12, 2007

What the cupidity / stupidity ratio is of Bush’s behaviour no longer matters: It is now more of a constitutional crisis not to impeach than it would be to impeach. What happens to Bush as a result of impeachment no longer matters either: Simply, this country will lose more if we don’t exercise the Constitution – lose heart, lose confidence, lose involvement, lose face. Our dignity demands impeachment.

At the very least, this adminsitration should be under the steady pressure toward indictment that we saw in the Nixon era. It is up to Congress – the Senate particularly – to step in to save this country – let alone your party – from this embarrassing and petty tyrant.

Let him think of himself as a martyr (it’s kind of fitting) – the Son crucified in the name of the war to redeem the oil-igarchy. “If only they understood…” – Let him think whatever he wants, just move him / them out of power, and preferably out of office.

www.ImpeachBush.org

January 12, 2007

Last night was thrilling. Over Quan’s jeers (aging hippes), I drove an hour through the crispy night to the local Speak Out meeting. I feared about 15 people would be at the U of M’s Hutchison Center, hoped for maybe 50, ready to do something. Instead there were hundreds, filling the aisles, crowding the door, spilling into another room where they piped the sound.

Bush’s escalation speech in the face of the election was just one straw too many under the nose of the sleeping giant. Democracy is awakening. I am not an entire innocent – it may fade, of course, but there is a sudden sense of urgency and civic duty that hasn’t been felt since Viatnam and Watergate.

Held with typical New England decorum – each person gets 3 minutes, hold your applause until the end of each offering, line forms on the right – it was nevertheless the Quaker equivalent of an army of blue-skinned Scythian warriors ululating before a battle. Paint it, and it’s an updated Norman Rockwell with – yes, Quan – a lot of long grey hair. But the underlying electricity was delivered in bolts to an appreciative audience – by the humble veteran mumbling his prepared litany of betrayal, the trembling outrage only a grandmother can carry off, the naked emperor direct sentences of the 17-year old.

All spoke for all – by the time I got there, a lot had been said, so I simply warned of the need for citizen vigilance (I waved my T-shirt “I’m already against the next war”), and urged that now was the moment to move – we would not get another opportunity in this last two years, and that impeachment was not punishment, but the equivalent of a Truth and Reconciliation process.

The air was festive – determined but not grim, effervescent with the relief of release of the isolation in which we have marinated for these six years. The shrill voice of the hand-wringing liberal so easily satirized on talk radio was nowhere in evidence. (I listened to right wing radio on the drive home – once in lock-step, they have suddenly developed a shrill confusion of their own.)

The summit of the evening was delivered by a gangly fellow in a John Deere cap and a large-checked flannel shirt. He resurrected the Declaration of Independence and compared the list of charges from the frist King George to our current King George W.

So I looked it up:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good – check – how many signing statements have reversed the intent of the laws Congress passed?

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power – check
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent check – the war itself is an imposed tax of hundreds of billions that could have gone for schools
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jurycheck – habeus corpus, anyone?

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencescheck, Guantanamo
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governmentscheck – Bill of Rights vs the Patriot Act
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people – well, almost check, if you count the neglect of New Orleans
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nationcheckmate
Jefferson finishes:
A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

President Bullsh..

January 11, 2007

This is probably the last chance we have – these next couple of months of the new congress – to wrest this country back from the small group that has run policy for the last 6 years. For any number of reasons, Bush and his crowd want to run the clock on this war – to hand the fiasco off to the next adminsitration, to continue to pour our money into friends’ coffers, to cement the deal on the Iraqi oil.

Only if the people stand up will the Congress stand up. Only if the Congress stands up can the Commando-in-Chief be checked.

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Edges

January 8, 2007

In any complex system, energetic items within it will move from any middle toward an edge, and when they / it reaches an edge – a border between the known and the unknown, or the possible and the impossible, it will move sideways along that edge.

This is very important.

Animal paths in the woods, for instance, can always be found just back from the edges. Al the interesting and energetic artists are prowling the edges. Your desperate clients are searching back and forth along the edges. Waves crest near the shore.

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Winter Light

January 7, 2007

Sunset over Clarks Cove

In the winter the sunset lasts for hours. Finally released from a string of welcome but unending Sunday drop-ins, I headed for the shore as the sun went low to bail Dad’s boat of the latest rain, but then went on and on though the woods, alternately crouching and working with silence in silence, then crashing at speed between branches in the undergrowth – scaring the deer and crows ahead of me.

One of the few times in Maine that you can be warm yet in the woods with no bugs.

Pain management

January 7, 2007

Last night I spoke with a woman diving for the first time into the world of intractable pain.  She had not come to consult with me, so I needed to be careful how I spoke to her.  She had come to talk to me about Taiwan, a place she loved that I will visit for the first time soon.  I noticed nothing until she got up from our couch nad hobbled around, trying to dispel the awful drawing pain of sciatica.

I have been on this journey with so many people in my practice, though I have only plunged myself for short times and not to too great a depth.  My partner’s journey through her brain injury was perhaps my closest hand-in-hand encounter with the unendurable that must nevertheless be endured.

In this case, a very active hiker and outgoing woman was struck suddenly by sciatica with no particular precipitating event, which usually means that something was slowly strained and strained some more until finally it broke through – a wearing out, in other words, rather than a direct injury.  She was in the early stages of going to doctors with the ‘Fix me!’ attitude, and finding the usual panoply of orthopods who have no hope except through surgery, inconclusive MRI’s (a herniated disc at L4-5, but who knows how long that’s been there or if it is symptomatic), and over-rough PT that, sincere though it was, only exacerbated the problem.

‘What should I do?’ – the mantra of these folks.  She was considering acupuncture, change of diet, surgery, more PT – make the list as long as you want – in this information age, another alternative insisiting they can help is a mouse click away.

The only answer is: “Explore!’  Each pain is unique, each individual, each situation.  The modern scientific world still bases itself on the Cartesian idea that the body is a ‘soft machine’, and like a machine it has parts that wear out, and the parts need replacing – like an auto, like a computer.  The body is a fractal event, more like an atmosphere or a culture – it is a pattern of swirls.

So each pain like this – whatever the mechanics, which must of course be examined – has its own flavor, its own tendrils reaching into the fabric of meaning of the person’s life.  It’s not her disc (or osteophytes or piriformis or stenosis) that is ‘causing’ the pain, but a whole pattern that has tried to distribute this strain for some time, and has finally come to the end of its tether.

After the sojourn at the door of the doctors (which is the end of the journey if it works, the beginning of it doesn’t) comes healing by the shotgun method: fire everything at it, and see what works.  But of course it is impossible to tell what is working if you are doing 12 programs simultaneously.  Again, the end of the journey if one or some combo happens to work, but the results are more often some diminution, some relief, but the problem continues or returns.

Then the exploration begins, and this is so often when people show up at my practice door.  Each journey is unique, but there are a couple of things to say in general:

1) If you have surgery, to paraphrase Bonnie Bainbridge, you move out of the evolutionary cycle of healing.  There are no genes for surgery.  There are genes for broken bones, for soft-tissue repair, for nerve healing, for organ restoration – however imperfect, the body has dealt with these interruptions from time immemorial.  Surgery, only around for 150 years, invades the body in a way that few wounds would mimic.  Every surgery, no matter how benign or how successful, leaves a scar, which is a restriction of movement, which creates new strains to be distributed through a system already strained by the injury.  When it works, yay!  When it doesn’t work, the doctor is not always faced with the sequelae that show up somewhere else two years later.

2) While surgery has 150 years on-the-job training, walking has 4 million years – since the australopithecines stood up.  Especially for conditions of the lower back and lower body, including knees, hips, and feet, walking is the great restorer.  Not running, with its pressure, but simple walking from place to place.  Time the walk, if possible, to create feeling in the injured area, but not deep pain.

And pay attention.  How is your foot traveling over the ground, how does the weight come?  How is it different on your left and your right?  Where does the movement go ‘though’ and where does it get stuck?

And not only during the walk – all the time.  Is not pain a call for attention?  So many want pain fixed: Get it out of the way so I can put my attention on the things I want.  But pain is the body’s way of getting our mental attention and focus, as our television culture has little time for the real needs of the body, or considerations for its feelings.  ‘Come back!, Come back!’ says pain, ‘You’ve been away too long.’ We didn’t heed the earlier whispered warnings, so the body begins yelling.

Like a kid having a Force 5 fit on the floor of a supermarket, in intractable pain the body has gone beyond the ‘talking reasonably’ stage. Usually the pain is out of all proportion ot the damage – lots of pain with little actual tissue damage, the pain amped up by positive feedback loops within the nervous system.  The walks are the equivalent of taking the kid out of the store and walking him around the parking lot until the screaming and sobbing is done, and you have some chance of finding out what lies beneath the over-reaction.

With neck or shoulder pain, we take another route.  Organic pain is something else again.  But for pain of the lower body, take a lesson from Lucy: walk, walk walk – and be patient and attentive.

Climate Change, not Global Warming

January 6, 2007

We have the tireless force for good Al Gore (oh, among others) to thank for the currency of the misnomer ‘Global Warming’. What we are more likey in the middle of is ‘Global Climate Systems Change’. The planet as a whole does seem to be warming up right now, and recent evidence suggests our activities are contributing to this, but so are other non-human factors.

But the emphasis on warming misses a larger point. Right now, we in the northeast are in the middle of an extraordinary run of warm weather – we’re all talking about global warming as it rains (simply unheard of) on the sixth of January in Maine. Who could doubt global warming when there is no ice on the ponds, the fresh-water ducks have not yet flown, the ground underfoot is muddy, and the magnolia’s all but in flower?

The people in Denver, that’s who, buried under the third snowstorm in the month. I don’t imagine they are talking about global warming out there much right now, but they are very much seeing what is really going on, which is global climate change.

The climatologists study ice cores, taken from the large ice sheets in Greenland and Antartica for instance, which reveal the year-by-year snowfall, including particulates and atmospheric gasses, for the last couple of hundred thousand years (Alley, The Two Mile Time Machine). Analysis of these cores reveals that the planet works under a stable climate for period of a few thousand years, then goes through a transitional period of wild, unpredictable weather, and then settles again into a new and didfferent system for a few thousand years, and then fluctuates wildly again.

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Now the factors that precipitate these sudden launches from stable into unstable are exactly the ones we see on the move now: release of greenhouse gasses, changes in the ozone. The climate system will tolerate some variation in these levels, while still maintaining the stable climate system. At some point, some critical factor crosses a threshold, and the whole climate system goes into flux – uncontrollable, huge, unpredictable.

So the factor can vary pretty widely and still the system will adjust. Once it stops adjusting, however, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.

We have no knowledge of whether we have already crossed some threshold into one of these wild transitions, but we do know this: We are in year 11,892 of the current stable climate era. Never has there been, in the time we know about, such a long period of one stable climate system. So we are way overdue for a shift.

Some folks, in fact, think that our activities may have contributed to the longevity of the era, the burning of the crops and cutting of the trees keep the climate within a narrow band. Whether or not that is the case, you have lived your whole lifem with all its weather variations, whtin this Stable Climate Era. Of course, not only you but all your ancestors – Jefferson, Jesus, even Noah – lived within the Stable Climate Era. The entire agricultural revolution that led to all our cities, which in turn grew our cultures, and most notably our current industrial agricultural foodstuff-delivery system – all this happened within this oddly long Stable Climate Era.

The SCE began with the end of the last Ice Age nearly 12,000 years ago. At that time, there was a mile of ice piled on top of where I write now. No soil, no people, no trees. The unstable period between the Ice age stable climate system and our current climate system was only three years (other transitional periods are usually on the 50-150 year range). Of course, once it settled into the current pattern, it took a few thousand years for the ice to retreat and leave New England as the ledge-ribbed, bone-scraped, stone-walled – and now sodden mess that it is this January.

So at the time Baghdad (the city we Americans now bomb with contempt) was forming as a gathering place of nomads, among the first cities within the fertile crescent, we were just getting started into the stable climate era that would carry us through the development of cotton, wheat, chickpeas, grazing herds – all the staples that made civilization possible.

So, we’re long overdue for a transition to a new system, and we’re pushing a positive feedback loop on emissions that strain the boundaries of this Stable Climate Era, and the kicker is that we will be in the transitional time, with no turning back, by the time we know that to be the case. We may have already crossed the threshold, and we may be seeing the early signs of the wildly fluctuating era in the strange warmth in the northeast, and the continual dumping on Denver.

There’s no predicting what will take place from year to year in your area if this fluctuating transitional period takes hold, and no telling when it will stabilize again, or who will be in a desert or a rainforest when it is done. Egypt wasn’t always sandy.

One set of people who are beginning to sit up and take notice of this are the insurance companies, and especially the re-insurance companies who spread large risks around – they are very interested in trends, and they see the trend toward higher weather-related payouts – on the scale of billions. It could easily rise to trillions if current trends continue.

One other prediction is sure: the price of food will skyrocket. When our industrial agricultural system – developed, refined, and automated under the Stable Climate Era – meets this degree of change, the harvest will become unreliable and the price of everything will rise astronomically. As I said on this blog a few weeks ago, get off the grid and plant a garden, and hope that the fluctuating climate allows you a crop. Hungry people go to war.

I love the current crop of young folks, and I agree with them that we will muddle through somehow, that this is not the end of the world. It could presage a Great Winnowing, when many of us will die, to leave a hardier stock to face the Brave New World, or maybe all of the foregoing is too pessimistic, and we will continue to cope, or even thrive.

But I don’t think so. I don’t think my own (Western, USA) lifestyle is supportable for everyone on the planet to have. But I think everyone sees this lifestyle on TV and wants it, and therein lies the rub. Whatever the motivation, the consumption and waste continue, but so does the building knowledge. Which will win out? It’s fascinating.