Carcinogenic Optimism

I’ve encountered a lot of stubborn optimism about climate change, among Boomers in particular. I consider myself a rational optimist, a pragmatic optimist. But I’m a realist before all else: I see not what I would like to see nor what I fear I could see, but what is and what is possible, good and bad, given what is.

It was remarkably mild in southeast Michigan this fall, and the weak monsoonal pattern I noticed the last two summers continued through the fall. Michigan’s climate is changing rapidly; you can see it in the maples especially, who are growing micro-canopies so that they look like something Dr. Seuss designed: balls of foliage, micro-canopies, instead of a single steady canopy. But let’s keep talking about Michigan as a ‘climate haven’, where the impacts of anthropogenic climate change won’t be felt so much…

Meanwhile so many Boomers (not all, but many) keep trying to convince me there’s room for optimism. Optimism for what? Optimism for whom? It’s making me bitter, frankly, insofar as Boomers are toward the end of their lives and so they won’t have to live through the consequences of how they lived those lives.

Carcinogenic Optimism                    15 November 2022
     Lucca Daniel Green
Oh, the warmth in November,
how glorious, you could say;
but would you also’ve danced
under Chernobyl's ashen snow?

By the way…. If you saw HBO’s Chernobyl, maybe that scene on the so-called ‘Bridge of Death’ in Pripyat is stuck vividly in your head, too. However, it apparently didn’t happen like that. Although some people did go to that bridge, a few of them came forward to report they survived. The radioactive ash raining down is apparently not historical. But, for what it’s worth, the people who had gone to the bridge did so specifically for a view of the plant and they did see a column of light in the sky. The image of radioactive ash falling on a crowd of people watching the worst nuclear accident to date is too visceral to shake off.

In any case, miss me with any of that optimistic BS like anything is going to be OK as everything is falling apart.

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