4.30.2013

The day after Earth Day


TUCSON, ARIZONA -- The Desert doesn’t seem to care about Earth Day.   In fact, it seems to enjoy the fact that it’s winning.

The Desert owns a quarter of the earth’s surface already, but the Desert isn’t satisfied. The Desert is pushing back forests, drying up grasslands, and changing tenants at a historic rate.   


And why not?  The Desert has us on its side, after all.

If you’re the glass half empty crowd … and I know you are ... you like to whisper that the upward creep of the Desert is loud proof that we’re all screwed.   You think that rampant consumerism is too far out of the barn to be reined in, especially since shopping as a sport has spread worldwide.  You think that our governments are unwilling, impotent and overrated in their ability to do anything about climate change. You think that our culture is the equivalent of a watered down Diet Coke – artificial and strange, and getting weaker by the day.  And you think that our population has successfully devolved into a species that thinks food comes from Sam’s Club, and water comes from Poland Springs.

But if you’re the glass half full crowd … and I know you are … you also have a weird buzzing between your ears.  If the Earth were truly painted into a corner, why would we still be talking about it?  If we have all given up, why would it make our stomach turn every time we read another page of bad environmental news?

Often enough, but not often enough, you meet people in your daily adventures, and they look you in the eye. They listen. They think. They smile. There is kindness and intelligence out there, despite the headlines that say otherwise.   

Ironically, you believe that the curse of more people is also the solution.    More brains means more ideas.   More ideas means more chances for things to work out the right way.  The positive way.

And one of those ways might even come from the Desert.   

Along with all the Desert's heating will come a new wetness, too.   The sure increase in global rainfall will surely impact at least some of the growing Desert.

What we don't know is how wet this new Desert will get. What we do know is that rain plus desert equals vegetation, and a greening up of the desert climate would put at least one finger on the right side of the scale ... starting the process of carbon sequestration:  a sucking of carbon back out of the atmosphere an inserting it into a place that can actually use it.

I’m not saying that we should stick our head in the sand, literally, and count on the Desert as the only solution. 

I’m just saying that if the Desert can believe in us, maybe we can believe in ourselves too.

LINK:   Global Deserts Outlook, United Nations Environmental Program

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