17-01-17 blog post
My habit, instead of making new year’s resolutions, is to write myself a letter at about this time of year with thoughts that accompany the turn of a new year, including travails and goals. To make a blog post I obviously will have to do some editing, but here is this year’s and a lot of last year’s:
letters to self 2016-0\2-14
I’m currently living with Barbara. We are largely caregiver and -taker now. Current plans are for me to move to assisted living in Davis this summer.
It has been a pretty normal winter by old standards, and I haven’t gotten out much this year. Big events this year were probably led by putting Bro down in October. I feel really guilty about that. Barbara had been planning a respite trip to Hawaii for a long time. On the morning before she left, Bro could not get up, His remaining rear leg couldn’t lift him. I sent Barbara off anyway, but I couldn’t manage him alone. On Thursday I had the vet come and put him down. He could have lived much longer, but from, my M.S. and, I guess, my pride, I killed hm. I suppose I can offer all kind of rationalization, but it all feels the same.
Probably worst of all, I fear I may have given up on communicating the vision. I have, I guess, stopped submitting my ideas to magazines. Have only rarely done it, in fact. I probably am afraid of not getting support from the scientific community. If I do not, how do I go forward?
Can I stand being alone on this?
What if the scientific community says we can still fix it? What if they are right in thinking life cannot be killed in toto?
Can I stand letting delay in response continue until it is too late to respond? Of course I can. Perhaps I already have. I first saw the end of all life in 1986. Every year since I have only seen more evidence of the reasonableness of concern for all life. Consider, first of all, Mars and Venus. Mars used to be very much like Earth. This we know from actually looking. Venus appears to be the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect, very much like the global warming we are currently experiencing today on Earth. Perhaps it is much easier for nature to make the Earth, or any planet, totally uninhabitable than so bad that humanity, a terribly clever species, and a few other species, cannot survive there, but some can. If humanity is not so special, why would nature not just make the place sterile than make it selectively inhospitable to us?
For the record, I’m not saying I have any kind of read on what the scientific community as a whole says about the fragility of life on this planet. As far as I have seen, the scientific community takes a pass on this question.
The existence of extremophiles seems to be everyone’s answer to concerns about the life-force on Earth. But I have seen no studies on the question of the life-force itself. Extremophiles are, by definition, species which survive at extreme conditions. That is not the same as having the ability to survive in other conditions. A microorganism that considers 0 degrees Fahrenheit normal may not be so comfortable in an environment which has ph of >3.0. It would still be an extremophile. I don’t even know whether we even know whether there are extremophiles that are comfortable in widely ranging extremes. For instance, does the extreme of outer space automatically cover all other extremes? Why?
It does, however, bother me that so few scientists seem to question the assumption that life on Earth will survive climate change. Why do they buy into that without question? They’re the smart guys. We’re counting on them to have asked the question and have something more than a gut reaction.
That there will be an upper limit on how hot the planet will get is probably a given. But whether any species will survive it or not is not so clear. I’d like to know how high the upper limit is likely to be and why. By the way, the history of the Earth is hardly a place to look. The Earth is not at all like it was in the distant past. The PETM, in particular, hardly presents any assurance, since we had a planet covered by forests back then.
Back to the letter:
One of my motivations for going forward with the move to the assisted living facility this summer is the hope it might be a stimulus to actually facing the Vision. As indicated in the earlier part of this letter, I am very much afraid of dying before I have shared the Vision. But perhaps delaying until summer is just a setting of a new deadline, even if it appears to be closer. Why not just do it now?
Hopefully you have done it by the time you read this.
Have just read last year’s letter.
This year I probably did better than previously on addressing the Vision issue. Still, I am totally frustrated. I only went to Davis for a two week stay in a respite for Barbara this summer. I had checked with CALPERS Longterm insurance before going down, they said they covered respite care.
Now it is Sunday, the 15th, MLK’s birthday. I wonder if the celebration of that will survive Trump.
Anyway, CALPERS said they covered respite care and that qualifying for in home treatment would automatically qualify for enrolling at Carlton for it. But they did not reimburse me for the $2100 I had to give Carlton to get in. I did not want the fight, but it now appears I will have to make it. For profit insurance companies! What an oxymoron and how I hate them.
So, how do I use my remaining time? Alive, that is. I added an item to my bucket list recently, when I learned that there was going to be a total eclipse of the sun on August 21 this year in Oregon, tracking through Wyoming and Ohio. I don’t know all the details yet, but it is said to be worth the trip.
Barbara has been on a real tirade recently. I have taken to shutting down when that happens, and haven’t decided whether that is a good strategy or not yet. Feels like something has to give pretty soon, though.
I submitted an editorial piece to EOS, the AGU’s newsletter, but they wouldn’t print it. I have yet to decide what to do, but I really must do something. This happened before the election, so I’m thinking there might be some additional grassroots support for starting a real conversation on how bad it might get, which is all I wanted in the first place.
Goals for this year, assuming I get through it:
1) Find a publisher for the book.
2) Find a publisher for the editorial, possibly by rallying the AGU masses.
3) See the total eclipse of the sun on August 21.