Saturday, April 28, 2007

Elizabeth Kolbert & my Friends

I arrived at the lecture excited to hear an author speak about a book that I had actually read in time. The book in question, Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert, was not a light work of fiction, but a thoroughly researched presentation of studies across the planet stongly indicating human caused climate change--a grave topic. Yet as I located my seat saving poet friend in her bright neon cycling jacket, a little wave of excitement went through me like what you experience when meeting up with friends for a party, or a much anticipated film. Big Bill was there, Dan the Man, the great Earl of SB, I'm not one to George and many others. It was down right festive--especially because this cross section of friends all have concerns about global warming and do things like ride their bikes, buy bio diesel vehicles, grow vegetable gardens, host parties and write letters to congress.

By the end of the evening, the small group of 800 attendees probably felt little party in the atmosphere. When asked what we should do to stop global warming, Kolbert indicated it may already be too late, but to really address the issue, we could start by not just reducing our use of automobiles, but by ceasing driving altogether! Plus, we'd need to cut our energy consumption by 80 percent. She admittedly left this opinion out of the book, as she knew the alarmist sound of such statements would ensure sluggish sales. So basically, we're all scorpions on the back of that frog crossing the river--we want to change, but its just not in our nature to let go of our energy consumption patterns--and like that scorpion who stings the frog, leading to its own death, we too are on that path.

Boy I hope the next lecturer at UCSB has some fresh, optimistic ideas!

But of course, I actually am one to believe there is always hope. How else could I have had a child in this day and age?



Trekking Left said...

Kolbert was great (if not a little depressing). It is because of the "bigness" of this problem that I believe the federal government has to step in and make bold policies to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Chryss said...

Your last paragraph is a perfect comment on life as a new and working mom: "I'll"
Love it!