Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Fourth of July


At the last minute I decided to make a lobster bisque to bring to the boat party. I had to make the broth on the burner attached to the grill outside, because I've turned the Aga off for the summer. I saw a sweet little nest in the V of the porch roof support, shaded by the Concord grape vine, and peeked inside. Sure enough! Beautiful robin's eggs. the mother was watching me indignantly from a perch on the bean support in the garden.

It was lovely to behold but actually isn't good news. If the mother is brooding now it means she lost the first batch of babies somehow. And the grapes look dismal, as do the leaves.

Anyway on to the fun stuff, I took the bisque to the party with the aforementioned scallops and goat-cheese stuffed shrimp wrapped in prosciutto to the dock in Jersey City. It was more or less a potluck and in the end, we didn't take out our boat but "Yacht-pooled" with some friends. Wasn't that so environmentally swell? But the view was breathtaking!

At sunset, we are all ready to head for the harbor...

Here is our skipper!

And here the Bobbsey Twins!

Then today, Sunday, Alice takes first in dressage. Next stop (next year) Grand Prix!!!

And How did the trees look at the Pennsylvania Horse Park? Sort of like these.

Now, a couple of analogies as it has dawned on me that not everybody reading this blog reads about climate change every day and understands the strong science that supports it.

First, you will often hear howls of protest - but it snowed in June! It's been the coldest winter ever! This is the fallacy of conflating Weather with Climate Change.

Ask yourself, would your doctor be able to look at all his patients and predict which of them is going to die of heart disease within the next year? Of course not. But can the Center for Disease Control predict with a fair degree of certainty that over 600,000 people in the US will die of heart disease this year? Of course they can! They base it on past events, and research of current conditions.

Climate scientists do the same thing. While they won't say any particular hurricane is attributable to climate change, they can and do accurately predict that storms will be more frequent and more violent due to climate change.

Unless you are versed in counting pollen trapped in ice core that dates back to past geological episodes of climate change, which indicate mass extinctions in short periods of time and corollate it to concentrations of atmospheric CO2 also trapped in bubbles frozen in ice, it really might be a good idea to rely on the experts. They are the ones doing the hard work to inform the rest of us. It's our responsibility to listen, and learn.,, and of course are good places to check for the latest research.

Another analogy!

Let's say you go to your doctor and you are told that you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and you must be operated on immediately or die. Well, you don't much like that prospect so you go to another doctor to seek another opinion - not a bad idea. Except the second opinion is the same as the first so, still not enamored of the grim prognosis, you try a third and it's damn! Surgery or die!

Well, what do you do? Do you accept reality and submit to invasive and possibly expensive medical procedures? Do you submit to the notion that you are going to spend a long period of time very unpleasantly recuperating and unable to do the fun things you are used to doing? Or do you keep looking up new doctors until you finally locate some isolated quack that assures you that you can be cured with homeopathy?

This analogy is precisely the same as with climate change. One Thousand Four Hundred studies by climate scientists recently issued a warning to every citizen of the globe that we are on a rapid collision course with utter disaster if we do not stop emitting greenhouse gasses. Are you going to listen to the experts or to a few quacks that are paid shills for the oil and gas profiteers?

Sure, adapting to sustainable living is going to be tough. We are used to flying in airplanes at a whim, and having landscapers come to our homes and squander fuel mowing our lawns, and importing food from another hemisphere so we can have raspberries in January, and really cheap embroidered clothes and electronics and endless other stuff shipped from China. And that will have to end.

And beyond that, we have to rein in the population explosion. Somehow if we are to survive as a civilization, there will have to be agreement by all societies and religions that there should be a one-child per family policy. If you do the math, you will understand that we could get back to a reasonable number of people in just a couple of generations.

The alternative is to cull the population with famine, and warfare.

Which is preferable?

And a couple of other points that may get lost on my random posts.

1. Climate change is always followed by mass extinction. We have changed the climate over the last 200 years especially. Mass extinctions are inevitable. GOOGLE it!

2. Trees that show the following symptoms of decline are going to die: wilted or drooping leaves, losing leaves, thin crowns, brown leaves, bare branches, pines you can see through, abnormal production of cones or seeds, early fall coloration, yellow leaves, spindly growth, etc. By the time this occurs, it means, the roots are not functioning in their uptake of water, and the tree is not able to distribute the water and for all intents and purposes, that is a dying tree.

Lastly a few flowers, the splendid gardenia with its incomparable scent, and more of the exotic hibiscus because it is performing so well.

As for Sarah Palin, and the endlessly fascinating saga of her pathological self-indulgence, there is just TOO much to say here, so I will provide this link to the excellent Mudflats article in HuffPo, instead (Mudflats server having been overwhelmed with traffic):

I especially recommend the link to the emails about the First Dud's membership in the Alaska Independence Party. The lies are so blatant and are called out by McCain's staff, it is hilarious and the most concise example of how delusional Sarah Palin is.

I wrote to the local newspaper and the editor didn't publish it. Why does the Bernardsville News hate their readers so? Don't they think they should know about a mass extinction in their midst?

Here's my letter, and if the B'ville News won't touch it, I'm going to revise it a bit perhaps and then send it to other publications:

Dear Editor,

I learned today that my Congressional Representative Lance has been besieged by constituents who object to his vote in support of President Obama’s climate legislation.

This is very sad, because those same constituents will soon realize that their precious life style, never mind finances, are going to be adversely affected by the ravages of that very same inevitable and already occurring climate change.

The average temperature on Earth (AVERAGE) has already risen significantly enough to alter the environment for long-lived species such as trees, which cannot evolve, adapt, or migrate fast enough to keep up with the rise in temperatures and resulting weather chaos. The rise in CO2 levels thanks to human activity is now faster than in the entire geologic history of earth’s past climate change events in response to earlier volcanic and meteoric catastrophes.

Look around, our trees are dying everywhere. Day by day, they are dropping leaves. By the end of this summer, there will be very few that are not lifeless.

And then consider the implications of mass extinction of trees for the rest of the ecosystem - birds, ferns, fish in shaded streams, butterflies, fireflies.

Then wonder - who are these people that object to federal legislation that will boost clean energy? Why do they hate their grandchildren?

I urge all citizens to educate themselves. A good place to start is, a wealth of information and background with extensive links to scientific research. I also recommend this NYT op-ed 2009/ 06/ 29/ opinion/ 29krugman.html as a starting point for those who haven’t yet seen it.

Please visit my blog where I am documenting climate change in New Jersey - I believe the only path to survival will mean bringing our communities together to combat the dangers that lay before us, and I hope to be a part of a forum for local action.


Gail Zawacki
Oldwick, NJ

I have been accused of "wonderful, authentic outrage". Thank you Richard Pauli for that august compliment! I don't know that it's an accurate characterization, but certainly it is flattering. It reminds me of a dinner in Italy with my dual-citizen friend Marta, and the women she went to grammar school with. I couldn't understand a thing they said of course, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The Italians accent produces some difficulty in pronouncing my name (which I've always considered hideously mundane and boring!) - they could at best mangle it as Geee-All and evenutally one lady asked Marta, what does it mean? She translated for me her answer, which was, a Wild Tempest in the Sea. I almost corrected her, but then I decided I like quite like that interpretation!

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