Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

“Tiger” craves freedom

February 28, 2011

Eagle Man tells us of fearless, freedom-loving Tiger today, and of the horse called Heat.

NOTE TO STUDENTS: Today’s exam, following another presentation or two, will not include material from the latest Nature’s Way reading assignment (ch.7-8).

Much to his credit, Eagle Man explicates tiger symbolism by promptly drawing our attention to “freedom from want” and then to mental freedom. “Most folks won’t budge an inch from the beliefs instilled in them since childhood.” There’s hope, though, that young people increasingly reject rigidity and crave “other points of view and the freedom to explore them.” That’s precisely the pluralism Wade Davis was pleading for at TED. (It’s what my alma mater’s mascot symbolized to me, too, back when I first started to study philosophy.)

“We need to be allowed Tiger’s freedom as we walk our own trails of proof and error.”

Indigenous people “did not presume to have the only path to truth.”

“Creator has allowed us free will… and a free-thinking mind to insulate us from the dangerous dictates of zealous soothsayers… (spreading the doctrine of original sin and the like)… never give up your freedom to a human being…”

“…the only ‘real truth’ is what we can directly observe… A Nature-based spirituality cannot encompass a conventional religious hierarchy.”

Heat was the first horse of Black Elk’s apocalyptic vision, the symbolic embodiment of desecrating excess. The greenhouse effect is natural and good in delicate equilibrium, but we’ve thrown it catastrophically out of kilter. Eagle Man gathers the now-familiar facts of global warming, and extends them.

Did you know, for instance, that by the end of this century it is forecast that “ongoing warming will have enlarged the zone of potential malaria transmission from an area containing 45% of the world’s population to an area containing about 60%” and that “deaths related to heat waves is projected to double by 2020”?

And that’s only from the first horse’s mouth, there’s more. Kinda puts exam day in perspective.

[2010 set record global temperatures, tied with 2005 as hottest on record… the evidence at…floods & droughts in 2010]


May 20, 2010

Our home-sweet-home? Continuing the Douglas Adams theme…

Bill McKibben says we’re not on Earth anymore. We need a new name for the warming new planet we’ve been carbonizing. He proposes Eaarth, with a suitably-alien pronunciation (in the fashion of Governor Terminator).

But that’s not weird enough for some. “Why not change it more?” asks a Guardian blogger.

It seems rather indulgent to write a whole book about this idea and only add one vowel. McKibben, who admits he liked the sci-fi look of the word, says it reflects the fact that the planet in question is “a lot like our own … but different enough”.

The word Earth apparently originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for ground or soil, erda. There are, of course, already hundreds of alternatives from different cultures and languages. Famous alternatives include Terra or Tierra, Gaia and Fintlewoodlewix, the name given by the original Golgafrincham inhabitants in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Okay, now might be a perfect time to panic after all.

But Bill is not panicking. His book is not ultimately as  bleak as you might imagine. We may fail to stem the tide of a planet no longer hospitable to our form of life, but we may succeed. He’s for trying. Me too.