Here’s the broad-brush declaration of new A&M Global Warming book, “The Changing Climate of South Texas, 1900 – 2100: Problems and Prospects, Impacts and Implications”:
• South Texas gets drier, hotter, and more unpredictable where violent weather is concerned.
• Loss of barrier islands and saltwater creep add to the loss of freshwater resources in the state.
• Extremes of drought and storm events will become exacerbated.
• And (the darling of simplicity) “South Texas’ character as a ‘problem climate’ will be exaggerated.’
If of the title of the over-sized, 158-page book sounds innocuous to you, the likely reason is that those behind its release are in a pinch. A&M is not known for books like this. Dire predictions supportive of the work of NASA’s James Hanson, The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and the accused global conspirator Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are new territory here — at least when it comes to linking Texas-based scientists to the global terror of climatic disruption.
[I wrote about the book from a few leaked chapters last summer. See Global Warming Hates South Texas.]
One of the book’s researchers opened up a bit to me about how leading the global warming front has affected his personal relations. For instance, the school’s press release regarding last week’s book signing stated that today’s students should get used to the notion of a warming world.
That got this researcher a terse note about the many “unresolved issues” regarding climate modeling. Weren’t they, perhaps, being sensationalistic? the writer suggested.
Then of course he has to deal with folks like me, too. Folks who feel we’ve waited too long for honesty from our censoring political leadership and outspoken clarion sincerity from our scientific community.
Caught, as he put it, between the reactionaries of his own religious community (he’s a self-professed evangelical Christian) and the so-called revolutionaries massed at the gate, well it’s not an easy region to inhabit.
But then matters of faith and science have never been easy. That, however, is starting to shift.
While many of my peers in the environmental movement (or at least those huddled over lunch with me in Goliad yesterday, assembling to decry Uranium Energy Corp.’s plans for in-situ uranium mining from a drinking water aquifer) have gravitated toward an atheistic explanation for humanity’s pitiable track record when it comes to behaving humanely, I remain favorable toward the broad expressions of religious tradition, myth, and practice — particularly where they comes into intersection with the natural world. The problem, as Gandhi pointed out several decades back, is the chasm between the prophets and the practitioners.
As I wrote my new friend:
i too abhor the salesmanship of global warming that suggests sacrifice will be inconsequential (probably as much as i loathe the ‘gospel’ of prosperity that seems to have overtaken american churches these past two decades). in the christian spectrum i feel most kinship with quakers, i suppose, who advocate simple living as a form of spiritual austerity but also as a response to their global awareness, resource-mindedness, and worship. but just try telling the average american NOT to shop. after all, our economic stability and prosperity is based on the continual expansion of the market. likely, the best thing for authentic spirituality would be the collapse of that bubble.
my hope also is in everyday people — but everyday people who by the graces of strong public education and supportive families are able to become scientifically literate to more fully understand what climate change represents. conspiracy can’t help but color these climate debates, given the pace of technological advancement. the notion of what it means to be human is being questioned like never before as labs unravel our coding and patent our pieces. a huge challenge: explaining science to not only a generally non-scientific world, but one that actually fears science. (then, we’re also living in a time in which science has been made subservient, twisted and spliced, to political ideology for the first time in the history of our democracy.)
as a ‘radical’ i try my best to direct attention to ‘root causes’ behind the issues of the day. that’s where i have to unflinchingly blame the international oil cartels (and many times their militant henchmen of both talk radio and the pulpits) who knowingly disseminate misinformation about what science is telling us. my god, how many reasonable reports investigating the contribution of co2 to warming have blown up on the conservative news circuit as proof against global warming? (*if you like, you can read my ‘debate’ on warming with one such reactionary at http://www.sacurrent.com/chismelibre/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=114)
as to the human vs non-human issue, i lament the many magnificent species we are losing day by day and question the legitimacy of judeo-christian domination teaching, however global warming is about human survival and not planetary durability. what life we leave behind will continue its evolution when the clouds part. but then, spirit to spirit, i suspect we may collectively hear more on this topic in the next world.
ultimately, i was most pleased to see the concluding chapter dealt with community security issues (people) and providing for the poor of South Texas. An immediate and real need, as I’m sure you’ll agree, given the message of the science of Global Warming. There are enough shrill calls for an all-out war on carbon, we in Texas need to address that industrial challenge while also figuring out how to provide for “the least of these.”
A review of the Kingsville book will likely be forthcoming in the Current and other publications. The more chatter the better, right?
However, if you missed the Kingsville book-signing and still want to secure your very own copy of “The Changing Climate of South Texas” you have to hit up the school’s bookstore and reserve it. No prices have been plugged in yet, so a reservation is best you can do for now. Negotiations for distribution through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are still being hashed out.