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Donna Henes Headshot

Global Warning

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It's too damn hot.

2010 was the hottest year ever recorded. The ten hottest years have all occurred after 1998. And 2013 is revving up to take the all-time high record. Lucky us.

The amazing thing to me is that despite decades of warnings about the grave repercussions of the greenhouse effect, people are still surprised when it gets so hot. Sometimes I feel like I am lost in Chelm, the mythical Yiddish village populated with "wise men" fools. Only here in New York, what we have are wise guys. Like the one standing in front of me in the bank line on one of these suffocatingly dense swamp days that we have been suffering here in the New York City, for instance.

Sweating like a wart hog and fanning himself furiously, he turns around and asks me, "So, who moved the equator? Ha. Ha."

Surely you jest!

We did. Get it? As carelessly as we poked a hole in the sky and turned our big yellow sun toxic, making our solar savior into an enemy. As blithely as we poisoned, pillaged, and polluted every part of the planet that we could get our grubby, gluttonous little fingers on. And we keep on keeping on -- out-of-control cavalier clowns that we are -- taking as many species prisoner as possible as we execute our kamikaze belly flop into the enticing American dream paradise pool filled with fool's gold.

We tried to fix what wasn't broken, and as a result of our fumbled meddling, we've wreaked havoc with the beautiful balance. So now the fires burn out of control. The deserts spread. The oceans rise. The landmasses shrink. The climates shift. Vicious storms rage without mercy. Our wholesome soil washes out to sea. And our gorgeous golden parent planet, the powerful fuel source of the life force, has become dangerous and something to stay out of.

We have disdainfully rejected the gift of the Mother Earth's bounty freely given and have, instead, overstepped the imperative of our species in our clumsy, stupid attempts to control Nature and deny Her power. And we have burnt our naughty little fingers in the process.

I can almost hear you now. "That isn't funny," you say.

You're right. It isn't funny. But it's true. This is not a joke. This is a test! A trial. A tribunal. A global warning. This is a critical time when we need to recognize our selfish selves for the foolhardy jokers that we are. We need to look ourselves square in the eye in the mirror and laugh ourselves silly at our presumptuous behavior patterns.

The joke is on us when we see the absurdity of our silly self-absorption in the face of the scope of the entire universe, when we realize the complete pettiness of our vanity, the self-destructive tendencies of our greed, and the absolute tenuousness of our control. Only then can we grasp the truth of our consequences and do something to remedy it.

As the Cree prophecy warns, "After the last tree has been cut down,
after the last river has been poisoned, after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

Perhaps, just perhaps, before we burn the house down around us, we will be able to learn, like any precocious child, not to play with fire. What do you say? Let's play concentration instead. Or Mother May I? Let's play Step on a Crack and You Break Your Mother's Back.

Here's a summer challenge for us all: Let us, each of us, use the potent, optimistic energy of this solar-centered season to do something positive for the planet. Let us create one clever solution, no matter how small, for any ecological problem, no matter how big.

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