Jul 232015

There are a lot of weird things about my country. That a debate on climate change even exists in America is simply bewildering.

By Nick Macksood


The right side of my attic bedroom, the side behind the fan loudly blowing in my face, is roughly 100 degrees. The left side is a little better. But Bulgarian men are performing their nightly rumpus and so I am here at my condensating desk. In truth, it’s only about 85 degrees with 65% humidity outside. I remember sitting on my deck in Michigan before leaving for the Vineyard during late May and it was about as hot and even more humid. I’ve sweat in muggy 90-degree heat back home, and a dry 110-degree in Austin, Texas. But no day is ever hotter than the present day. Heat works like that. Our skin can’t simply recall the rays the sun lashes down on us. Scent may buddy up alongside memory, but our limbic systems seem to keep tactile relationships at a nerve’s length.

I can hardly remember what it is I’m supposed to be writing about–irrefutable proof if there ever was any. Music, probably. But I’ve just read a concerning story about climate scientists in America.

Global warming is one of those topics that anyone can write, speak, or scream about but nobody really listens. We’ve been hearing about it for longer than our weekly news cycle attention spans can handle and so our eyes generally glaze over when we read the headlines. But the debate over climate change is also one of those things in life that is truly astounding. That a debate even exists is bewildering. It’s also singularly American.

There are a lot of weird things about my country. The 24-hour drive-thru. Large coffees. Ethanol. Evangelical Protestants. But I love all of them in the same way that a family loves and protects its outcasts. They’re crazy, but they’re my crazy and day to day life is just not the same without their constant parade of artlessness. But the only American phenomenon that has ever really made me ponder packing up and buying a one-way ticket out of here is the frightening anti-scientific camp of the American political system.

I’m sorry, but there is simply no excuse for a major political party to ignore the conclusion that 97% of scientists believe that humans play a role in global warming. But you’ll have to excuse me, because it isn’t the Republican Party’s fault. Many Republicans, too, agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide. The blame falls on the efforts of a diminutive little minority of profit-minded obstructionists who would coldly watch large swaths of Earth submerge under water if it meant a few billion dollars more in the here and now. If you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever, you’ll know that it is these Mephistophelean folks who pay off promising Republican candidates in a de facto Faustian deal for a shot at the presidency. I’m talking about the Koch brothers, mainly, as well as the most powerful companies in the world, all fighting to halt any change in a fossil fuel based economy.

Which is what frightens me the most. That profits, from both private companies and personal bank accounts, are the life force of the American people. Please don’t confuse this for some hippy-dippy I-don’t-want-to-work sentiment. Everybody wakes up and heads to a job that they can’t stand. It is the way the world works. It’s the sincere terror that companies would feel if growth didn’t rise again this year that scares me. It’s the maxim that every American family’s greatest fear is that their children won’t have a better life–economically–than they did.

I really should write something about music, and I have some Apple algorithm to thank, because Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” has just come on. Nothing could be more appropriate than the verse, “I hear babies cryin’. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.” Because that is my greatest fear. It pains me deeply to disagree with such an extraordinarily beautiful song, because my greatest fear is that any children I might have will grow up in a country that distorts facts and promotes utter foolishness. That despite sincere efforts, they won’t know much more than we’ll ever know. What a wonderful world.



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