Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

Scientists are by training and nature conservative and...have
probably underestimated our impact. Fifty years from now--
I hope I'm wrong--I think you may be living in a world where you don't go outside between one and four in the afternoon.

--Ohio State University scientist Lonnie Thompson,
quoted in The Coming Meltdown, Bill McKibbon, NYRB Jan. 12, 2006

We'd not had a Xmas/Yule tree in years. I think the last one was '99, when a couple of friends from Singapore stayed with us in December and we went all-out for their benefit (we even had snow!). Before that tree we'd not done one since '95; that particular blue spruce is now over eight feet tall in our tiny front yard. This year I mentioned to Cha that I was in the mood to have a small live tree, mostly because I wanted to plant it, and she found on clearance a beat-up little pine somewhere, half dead. I planted it today, thinking how ridiculously optimistic it is to do so, with polar bears drowning where there used to be ice floes, and all arctic species expected to die off in my lifetime, along with pandas, apes, all the big cats, and coral reefs.

And yet the museums and the Earth's crust are full of long-extinct species, and we've muddled on somehow. I guess the only difference is that most of us know we're living in an unsustainable manner, but are unwilling to stop the bad behaviors. Folks are digging coal a mile down in WVa so I can burn electric lights on my Xmas tree, goddam it.

Here's hoping that little fir tree gets to be eight foot high too.

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