Friday, April 25, 2008

The weather in Hawaii, Canada, NZ and Korea

This morning in Seoul temperatures plunged to 2 degrees Celcius. It made national news for being unseasonably and unusually cold this late in the year. At the dinner table this evening I made a point of asking everyone around the table what sort of weather they were experiencing in their countries. Without exception, each person admitted to a lot of unusual activity. In Hawaii - 2 months of almost constant rain, in Canada, an unseasonally late snow storm. In New Zealand, the warmest summer in 12 years. My own experience is that we have had almost no real summer in Johannesburg, just a week's worth of typically hot days, and abnormal amounts of rain in Johannesburg.

One of the NZ participants in this conversation made the point that one unusual event doesn't constitute a threat. She quoted the often quoted (intelligence free) mantra: "A trend is something that happens over a long period of times; like a hundred years. And all these events have happened before."

Great point. Brilliant. Let's all go to bed while about 80% of the world's population have a collective stomach rumble. The real question to ask is: can we afford to second guess the climate when these three words are making headlines: Global Food Crisis? If you really think about it, it's not a question. Those who think it is need to join the queue for The Psycho Ward of Collective Delusion.

For the rest, when you become angry about the situation people find themselves in, a great topic to focus on is this propensity to defer issues like climate change and finite fossil fuels based on this idea that to do so is 'alarmist'. That's as dumb as anyone telling you right now that reports of a Global Food Crisis is alarmist. Reality of course, is what you focus on, nothing more, and the West - we know - has been guilty of a lot of self-indulgence in terms of their focus (Paris Hilton, Britney, Idols, Jerry Springer, Reality TV and all the rest).

After tonight I have a suspicion a scary number of people still intend to sleep in a little longer. I hope we can remember this, when we turn to the God of Blame.

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