California is now “Trans-apocalyptic”

Widespread smoke is just one of the symptoms of how climate change is degrading the quality of life for many people on this planet. In the article described below, the author wrote that a researcher told her that “Wildfire is literally making it unsafe to be pregnant in California.”

Here are excerpts from the article, titled, This Isn’t the California I Married — The honeymoon’s over for its residents now that wildfires are almost constant

…The climate crisis has caused us to get lost in time and space; we need to dig ourselves out of nostalgia and face the world as it exists. As he [Alex Steffen] explained to me in his confident baritone, yes, California, and the world, are in bad shape. But the situation is not as devoid of hope as we believe. “We have this idea that the world is either normal and in continuity with what we’ve expected, or it’s the apocalypse, it’s the end of everything — and neither are true,” he said. That orange sky in 2020? “We’re all like, Wow, the sky is apocalyptic! But it’s not apocalyptic. If you can wake up and go to work in the morning, you’re not in an apocalypse, right?”

The more accurate assessment, according to Steffen, is that we’re “trans-apocalyptic.” We’re in the middle of an ongoing crisis, or really a linked series of crises, and we need to learn to be “native to now.” Our lives are going to become — or, really, they already are (the desire to keep talking about the present as the future is intense) — defined by “constant engagement with ecological realities,” floods, dry wells, fires. And there’s no opting out. What does that even mean?…

Relinquishing the idea of normal will require strength, levelheadedness, optimism and bravery, the grit to keep clinging to some thin vine of hope as we swing out of the wreckage toward some solid ground that we cannot yet see. “We’re no longer dealing with a fire regime in the woods that responds to the kinds of mild prevention and mild responses, the sensible responses we have thought about, and that thought alone is a crisis,” Steffen said. “It means the lives we had we no longer have.”

The small settlement where I live is the result in many instances of folks coming to these conclusions. About half the folks in our community are native New Mexicans, mostly with Spanish surnames. Next two points of origin are California and Texas. Then, the scattering of lifetime hippies, non-conformists whose live are anchored in philosophy or art, not necessarily roots. Yup. That’s me.

Most of us have meadows, remnants of the grasslands where we built our homes. I suppose if the bosque at the bottom of our valley ever became dry enough to be a fire threat, we’d have to pass a regulation requiring collective mowing every summer’s end. That would help a lot.

What to call the 6th of January?


Eric Lee/Bloomberg

“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Donald Trump tweeted before Christmas. “Be there, will be wild!” On New Year’s Day, he tweeted again: “The BIG Protest Rally in Washington, D.C. will take place at 11:00 A.M. on January 6th.” On January 5th: “I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern. Arrive early—doors open at 7AM Eastern. BIG CROWDS!” The posters called it the “Save America March.” What happened that day was big, and it was wild. If it began as a protest and a rally and a march, it ended as something altogether different. But what? Sedition, treason, a failed revolution, an attempted coup? And what will it be called, looking back? A day of anarchy? The end of America?

Trump called the people who violently attacked and briefly seized the U.S. Capitol building in order to overturn a Presidential election “patriots”; President-elect Joe Biden called them “terrorists.” In a section of “Leviathan” called “Inconstant Names,” Thomas Hobbes, in 1651, remarked that the names of things are variable, “For one man calleth Wisdome, what another calleth Feare; and one Cruelty, what another Justice.” On the other hand, sometimes one man is right (those people were terrorists). And, sometimes, what to call a thing seems plain. “This is what the President has caused today, this insurrection,” Mitt Romney, fleeing the Senate chamber, told a Times reporter.

“Insurrection” seems perfectly appropriate to me. The discussion seems endless…sometimes. Folks responsible for that quality of discussion are guilty of making the event seem irrelevant.

For what it’s worth, I think any and all of the crimes committed in Washington, DC, should be prosecuted. Not just the one day’s worth.