Friday, January 10, 2014

Home, sweat, home (not a typo, a pun)

Today's temperatures are warmer but not warm enough to preclude freezing drizzle. I recently finished reading a wonderful book that I've mentioned here before, Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I've been going back through and taking notes. Today I want to share one quote with you. On page nine she writes "becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered...." I loved that the first time I read it. Since sometimes I'm a little slow to put 2 and 2 together, it was only recently that I thought -- but if our children's future doesn't matter, then what does? What kind of people would we be, are we, to act as if their future, which, presumably includes our future, doesn't matter? If you're tracking my thinking on this thus far, then the logical extension is that we are all indigenous, at least to planet Earth (except, perhaps, those investigated by Scully and Mulder). So, to extend my chain of logic a little further, as I see it, to live sustainably requires us to live as if our children's future (and our future) mattered, which means we need to become indigenous to this place, and act as if we are. This "place" doesn't look to me as if it's just a pantry (do you remember pantries?) or just a warehouse. Our actions toward this only home we have have consequences for us, for our children and for their children.

Our Place

I have no doubt that, if we worked at it just a little bit, or keep going as we are, we'd be able to turn Earth into a home as habitable and hospitable as Mars. Recent references to the Polar Vortex claiming it's been "as cold as Mars"in parts of Minnesota, started me on this line of thinking. I had never really thought of Mars as being particularly cold and we certainly didn't get to -153 C although we approached -50 C (-58 F). What did catch my eye was the statement that "Scientists think that the climate on Mars 3.5 billion years ago was similar to that of early Earth: warm and wet. But because of chemical reactions between Mars' carbon dioxide atmosphere and water, most of its carbon dioxide was used up forming carbonate rocks."

Our Place in the Future?
Of course, if we're not going to believe 97%+/- of the scientists about Earth's climate, why should we give them any credibility regarding their fantasies about what happened on Mars. The "Mars landings" were probably as much a hoax as the moon landings years ago. (I hope that my tongue is noticeably in my cheek as I write those words.)

A.V. Christie seems to have been more familiar with Mars' climate than was I.

Atmosphere

By A. V. Christie 
The canals of Mars
beseech various oxides, vast
dust storms
of a dulled red,
a daytime warmth
that only reaches so far.

Let’s call these fissures canals
so we’ll think of Venice
looking through our telescope
as Mars comes this close

in this our anniversary year
with its thin atmosphere
and, to be probed,
its extreme cold.

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