100_1224Off the main trail for about an hour I knew I had not been in this section of the boreal forest on this day. I was in pursuit of a wayward moose for table fare and the hunting had not been good around the wetlands near the lake. I knew they were hiding in here somewhere to get away from the unusually warm October temperatures. In my haste I had not kept good track of where I was going as I wandered about the overgrown conifer forest. The trees were many and the views were few.

There was no need for any real concern or panic. I was prepared for this sort of event. In fact I felt so relaxed about my situation I took a few minutes to sit and rest near an open area where a large sizeable balsam fir had toppled over. I sat with my back against the root ball and let my mind wander…….

I am lost. Lost not in the deep woods or some far off forest but lost in thought. The impending climate change crisis has put me in a state of alert without an escape route. This is not good or healthy. When out bodies go to the alert state there is supposed to be a way out. As I see it a comfortable exit plan is not in the cards.

This thought process is not related to a doomsday scenario. It is about rational thought and action. On a daily basis we are bombarded with facts about glacial melting, global temperature increase, ocean warming, and perishing plant communities. We are now experiencing the impacts of generations of human irresponsibility along added to what may be a natural warming of the climate much like our planet has warmed before.

But this time it appears to be different. Although we have little, very little, knowledge about past warming events, it appears they may not have been as fast or as immediately significant. We are told that this is unprecedented, but we really do not know that. We have only been collecting good scientific information for 100 years and the anecdotal information we collect from other sources does not reveal a clear picture. There is no intentional deceit here, it is just our own lack of knowledge and sophistication with this vastly complex situation.

Make no mistake, the fact is that our global climate is warming at an alarming rate; perhaps an unsustainable rate. We must do everything we can to slow it down. It is unlikely that it can be completely reversed, but any significant mitigation would be a positive step.

We have all heard about the carbon problem. That is where most of the research has been and it is likely we our best chance of having an impact on climate change. Yes, reducing our overall carbon foot print is an achievable goal. The question remains; will we get the cooperation from individuals, families, communities, business, our government, and international governments to accomplish this?

So far we have failed miserably. These changes will require bold, almost insanely bold, efforts. We have to rethink our entire energy policy. We have to break the addictions to carbon based energy and be willing to bare the wrath of the multinational corporations that are supported by these old technologies and ancient ways of doing business. We have to learn to live with and support a sustainable economy; an economy that is not based in vast profits but an economy that is based on sustainable resources. Our current economic models are based on never ending expansion. This is simply not possible given the planet’s limited resources. We must learn to live within our means; not necessarily our economic means but within the means of what the planet can support. We must learn that sacrifice is necessary. In the past we have made huge national sacrifices for war; this time it must be an unprecedented sacrifice for world survival.

I am lost is a wilderness of disorganization. I cannot imagine how this will be orchestrated. Our government and the individuals who represent our communities are too tied to big business. Legislators are outnumbered by lobbyists by several times to one. It is no wonder we cannot get any attention from those who represent us. It is the corporate lobbyists that have their ear. If there will be any success it will come from individual and community grass root efforts. This will require a real commitment from people from all walks of lives. Will they be willing to give up there lifestyles before it is too late. It will take a concerted effort to resist the notion that we can do nothing and get away with it. That is the message being spread by the messengers of the multinational corporations. They are desperate and know they have little time left for mega profits.

I am lost in a sea of misinformation. I cannot discern or digest the truth with regards to these issues. I have read nearly everything I can get my hands on relating to climate change and I still do not believe that I have the facts. Will global warming lead to massive heating of the earth in all areas, or will it lead to the next ice age due to increases of fresh water in the North Atlantic and the elimination of the Gulf Stream? The science and models are too complicated. There are too many variables and unknowns. I know in my own heart that nobody can be certain about what will happen. There is virtual no discussion about other major green house gases like water vapor and methane. There is little funding directed towards a better understanding of the large roles these play in climate change.

I am lost in a desert of imagination. Our government’s best effort would be to form a Manhattan type project where our most brilliant minds would work full time in search of the answers. Think of the possibilities; our best scientists, economists, ethicists, and engineers all working to avert a potential catastrophy! Why is this not happening? Instead our government is working on a concept called Carbon Credits where big business can profit off of the impending climate crisis. I cannot think of anything that portrays our current state of affairs in a more accurate light.

I am lost in the jungles of ignorance. This climate change issue did not happen over night and will not be solved quickly. Our children are busy watching video games and television while the natural world passes them by. Our educational systems are not at all focused on the natural world. Without a deep, never ending appreciation for the ecosystems of our planet there is no reason for our young people to want to save the Earth. We must begin this effort today. There is no time to delay this action any longer.

Humankind is lost. Many do not know their place in the natural world. It is a complete mystery to most people. We must all work together in seeking an understanding and a solution for climate change. There is little time left.

As my thoughts turn back to reality I reach into my pocket. I take out my GPS and hold it to the open sky. The opening in this small clearing in the thick forest lets my hand held device get enough information from distant satellites to point me towards my cabin. Although I never perceived that I was in any real trouble I feel a slight sense of relief that man’s great technological skills can lead me out of the deep, dark woods. This time there is a small sense of victory. For the moment I know where I am.

Written for www.wildramblings.com in August of 2009.

  • Annie

    It’s sad that not much has changed when it comes to solving our global warming problem since this was written.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Yes. In fact it is worse.

  • Teresa Evangeline

    it would take a concerted effort on the part of every major government in the world and it would take caring more about this planet than the dollar and I honestly don’t see anything other than the hope contained within individual actions that might change that, and the change will be in those individual lives and in the small communities formed around such efforts. There’s a book titled,”Last Child in the Woods,” and it’s sadly coming to that …

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Funny you mentioned Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods. I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the opening of a Wild Acres park in a city about 50 miles away. My talk is about “nature deficit disorder” and the important need to get kids away from the virtual world and into the real world of nature. Yes, change will have to come from grass roots movements and it has to be from younger people. Not only will they have the energy and long term commitment but they will be faced with irreparable damage if things don’t get changed soon.

  • Montucky

    Sadly I’m afraid, only after the demise of our species, nature will heal herself. Mankind is going faster and faster, the wrong way. Seems the only valid question now is “when?”.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    I’m hoping for something a little more on the positive side. I think it is quite likely that after some sort of major event or set of events humans will be shocked into living within the parameters of what nature will allow. Of course, if we don’t figure this out at that point we will deserve what we get.

  • Barbara

    Powerful – needs to be read by every parent of every child and every young person – part of the school curriculum Bill. You’ve said all this before and will again, but now five years later, it’s becoming drastic. I now live near a First Nations reserve. The other day I discovered a solar panel farm on the reserve – not like the ones that are burning birds to death in California, but low to the ground – covering acres and acres of land that is marginally arable – good for sheep and goats I suspect, not much else in the way of animals, but better for a solar farm. Many houses in this particular area have roof solar panels as well as many farms having solar panels nearby to help run the farm. There is an offer on Facebook for free roof solar panels… probably the cost would be in hooking them up to your electrical system. But the notion of climate change and huge changes in the world is clear! Change now or be like Atlantis and sink below the incoming waves. I did like your irony at the beginning and end of this essay. However unlike you I’m not quite so positive that most of the human species knows about or even thinks about climate change if they understand what it means… so much of the world seems to be caught up in the marketing campaigns of big oil, big steel, (in my country its horrendous the rush to turn Canada into a bottomless oil pit regardless of the harm) Marketing such as “drive your car, get a new one that goes faster, build new super highways…don’t think about renewable energies – they’re a joke…” etc. So I’m crossing my fingers Bill – that you are right, that there is hope, and I’ll continue to follow your lead and propound the value of alternatives to oil pipelines, fast cars and faster jets. Thanks for this thoughtful essay.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thanks Barbara. Yes, we must remain hopeful and positive or people will just tune this out. Being proactive means nicely engaging people to do what is necessary and right. Something that requires great patience, no doubt, but any other tactic will be met with an equal and opposite reaction, or says one of the laws of physics.

  • http://everyday-adventurer.blogspot.com/ Ratty

    I think it’s up to the United States to fix this. I don’t think any other country is even close to being willing.We have to show the others something beneficial past their greed. I’m not sure if it’s possible though, now or ever.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    It would certainly a good start if we came forth with a valid plan and put it into action. I believe it will take a world wide effort but our leadership would be a key factor in making it a success.

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