Writing from the Heart: Right ranting

Global warming is here for real, but what can we do about it?



So you already know this is my husband’s rant that he has been ranting since 1966. That was the year I foolishly said, “Let’s go to Bermuda for our honeymoon.” The man promptly sat down, pencil in hand and showed me how much CO2 the plane was going to put out from Boston to my fantasy island. 

He waited, like a kid anticipating Xmas morning for the Oliver Stone movie, “Nuclear Now.” It came. It went. 

And last night he said, “Do you realize 80 percent of all automobiles sold last year were pickup trucks and SUVS?” And then he puts his head in his hands.

So now he’s added that to the rant. He does it at dinner parties. He does it when he watches the news. He does it when we’re driving up gorgeous Middle Road. 

Me: “Joel, this is my favorite road. Look how lucky we are. Look at this beauty.”
Joel: “What about your grandchild? Will he see this beauty?”
Me: “I don’t let myself think about that.”
Joel: “Why not??!!”!
Me: “I don’t think you understand how denial works.”
Joel: “Yeah. I certainly do. You put your head in the sand and you are worry-free.”
Me: “My head isn’t in the sand.”
Joel: “So when I ask you how it feels to be on the edge of extinction, what’s your answer?”
Me: “I don’t feel I’m on the edge of extinction. That’s my answer.”
Joel: “So here you are, an intelligent being, and you know that the atmosphere is heating up and you know that the Arctic is the air conditioner for the planet, and that the ice is melting so fast that it could be gone in three to four years, and you know that the ocean temperature and acidity is increasing, which means the coral reefs won’t survive and since they produce oxygen and provide food for the fish, the fish will die and of course even though you don’t watch the news or read the paper, you know about the fires and the floods, and that Italy was 107 all last week, and that 72 species become extinct every day, and you can still wax poetic about the kale salad at the Chilmark store?”
Me: “I know all those things, and I don’t just wax poetic about kale.”
Joel: “I know. But I honestly don’t get it. I just don’t get it.”
Me: “I do. Humans are hardwired to not think of their own demise. You don’t seem to get that it’s too overwhelming. What are we supposed to do?”
Joel: “We could start by listening, actually hearing the secretary general of the United Nations, for god sakes, Antonio Guterres saying ‘We’ve gone from global warming to global boiling.’”
Me: “So what do you propose?”
Joel: “There should be a worldwide Manhattan-Like Project. Every great mind, every citizen should be involved. And don’t tell me people are recycling. Please. Oh look! We’re using metal straws. You’re 20 years too late, lady. Everyone thinks wind and solar are the answer and they sit back and think, whew all set. I’m sorry, but if we build the amount of wind and solar that it would take to replace all fossil fuel, it would deplete all our resources, put so much carbon into the air, we would accelerate, not slow, our decline.
Me: “But at least people who are putting up solar panels are trying.”
Joel: “But the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow all the time, if you want to talk efficiency. People have been brainwashed, Nance. Between the oil, gas, and coal industry’s lobby and our big multibillionaire heroes excited about going to Mars, we’re just headed in the wrong direction.”  

So there you have it. I’ve got a husband who is not only still ranting with the same rant, but he’s upped the ante. 

Does he have a solution? He says we have to change the negative narrative about nuclear, and we have to build small molten salt reactors, which Oliver Stone mentioned. And we have to do this NOW. We have to treat this as if we are at war. Because, dammit, we are at war.

I hear him. I hear him. I hear him. My head is not in the sand. But like the rest of us, I am choosing to focus on the Rose of Sharon blooming in my yard and the light coming through my antique lace curtains, and the adorable thing my grandson just posted on Instagram. I can’t spend the remainder of my days fighting a war I know I can’t win.

So Joel, I’m sorry too.