Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm meditation; the fast Fall phase of global warming

Caladium and Carageenan leaves before the "monster" storm

At noon, October 29, 2012, the storm center was still hours away
but the Hudson River was already looking like an Atlantic Noreaster.
By the end of the day, they were predicting gusts of 80 mph in Manhattan.

In 2007, when I began working with Jim White, now the director of INSTAAR, he remarked that then, we were in the slow phase of climate change and global warming. That would last three years, until 2010.

Ever since then, I've watched the weather get more erratic, the storms get more intense. The night before the storm, the were talking about a storm dynamic which may outclass anything we've ever seen on the East coast, not just for the relationships to barometric lows but because 2 storms have converged to create the 800 mile "monster" storm, which is projected to affect 60 million people with 11 foot storm surges. October 29, the day the storm rolled in at 38 mph, they were talking about a convergence of 3 storms, 1000 miles across and 15' surges. As I thought about that Sunday, I listened to Judy Collins singing Leonard Cohen's "Priests," about how, "...they will trample on the grass." Climate change is certainly going to trample some things on the ground, as Hurricane Sandy will.

The fish stories I'm collecting are like the fallen Fall leaves, above: stories of what Proust might call, "les temps perdue (lost times)" of worlds that will be swept away with our indecisiveness this past decade and the decade before, as we have exacerbated all the worst effects of global warming.

Note from wikipedia: In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past (FrenchÀ la recherche du temps perdu) is a novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is known both for its length and its theme of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the "episode of the madeleine."

A fish story from Linda Weintraub:  

Eight golden coy fish and I live under the same roof.  Their home within my home is an indoor pond that is located just inside the front door. They are the greeting party for  visitors - literally! My guests may shake my hand or give me a hug when the walk through the door, but their attention is quickly diverted to the school of fish swimming directly towards them, waving their pretty fan-shaped tails and beckoning with their big, black eyes. Two fish that are particularly gregarious. They are fond of getting their bellies rubbed, but their pleasure depends upon folks who don't mind dipping into their waters.
The description in the paragraph above has recently become incomplete. The new component involves a fat fish, not 'fatty fish'. This chubby fellow has been causing my guests great distress, which is more accurately described as gasps of grief instead of glee. This occurs when they see a round fish belly floating beside seven sleak fins. Visitors presume that fish is dead. It isn't. It has become so fat it takes effort for it to stay right-side-up. When it relaxes, it floats upside-down. 
This seems to offer a vivid parable for prevailing environmental imperatives:
         - Staying straight is complicated by bloat
         - Managing excess is taxing on you and on others.
        -  TRIM DOWN

Linda Weintraub is an artist, author, curator, and art educator. Her most recent book is a college eco art textbook entitled TO LIFE! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet published by the University of California Press

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