Tag Archives: global warming

Chasing Ice: I remember this from Star Trek

Light spoilers ahead! Go watch Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ”The Inner Light” (Season 5 Episode 25) before reading this post!

In my last post I mentioned the documentary Chasing Ice, which I described as ”a disturbingly beautiful account of the impacts of global warming”.

When I saw it shortly after its release, I was in awe at the beauty of the landscapes photographer James Balog documented. But more importantly, I felt deeply disturbed.

Watching the glaciers melt away at such an impressive speed is shocking even if one already knows the facts about global warming: reading about it and seeing it happen at two very different things.

This is what Balog is counting on. He hopes his documentary will leave future generations with records of the beauty of glaciers, and with a world to live in. With his work, he seeks to bring everyone a better, clearer, and undeniable proof that global warming is real and already has grave consequences.

I must say, if seeing this documentary doesn’t convince you to change your habits and plant a few trees, then chances are you have a clinical denial problem. 

Then again, people tend to be dense. People tend to strongly deny global warming. It seems that we won’t react until it’s too late. That brings me to Star Trek.

As an avid science-fiction fan, I am familiar with scenarios involving apocalyptic climate changes. Many episodes from the Star Trek and Stargate franchises, for instance, revolve around a planet on the verge of catastrophe because its inhabitants caused irreparable damage to its ecosystems and atmosphere. Such scenarios can be found in several sci-fi books, short stories, movies, etc. They most likely reflect the issues of our time, including global warming.

Watching Chasing Ice, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, ”The Inner Light’ (Season 5 Episode 25)’.

I won’t summarize the scenario. Go watch the episode. I don’t care if you don’t like sci-fi: watch it. It is regarded as one of the best, if not THE best Star Trek TNG episode. The music and Sir Patrick Stewart’s performance are memorable. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

All I will say is that the episode revolves around a civilisation in denial of its own imminent doom, and their incapacity to stop it. They did not cause the problems they are facing, but the government, knowing there is nothing to be done, denies everything to the public. The inhabitants face increasingly harsh environmental conditions, and realize that their children have no future.

As I sat in the movie theater, looking at the glaciers of Earth melting away forever, I thought of ”The Inner Light”. I thought of many more sci-fi scenarios of the sort. I wondered if we will be dense enough to allow them to come true. I wondered if maybe, we already have.

Learn more

Morgan Gendel, who wrote ”The Inner Light” discusses the episode and its webcomic sequel on Forbes and Tor.com.

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Hate Traffic, Love the Bus: Why Claustrophobia is the Future of Humanity

I'm out of here! (1)It’s back to school week and now that vacation season is over, public transportation is once again filled with swarms of people at peak hours. The streets are also filled with a lot more cars, and drivers are honking at each other in anger at several intersections where there are traffic jams. They’ll have to get used to the increase traffic over the coming weeks.

Looking at the sea of cars yesterday, I thought of how much I hate being stuck in traffic.

I am a little claustrophobic, you see, and I am no fan of feeling confined to a small space like a car. When I think of the record-breaking 12 days traffic jam which occurred in Beijing, China in 2010, I feel chills coming on. I would prefer living through a zombie apocalypse rather than being in such a scenario.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to ride a car on a week-long road trip, and enjoy taking the plane a great deal. But put me in a traffic jam for 15 minutes, or make me wait in the passenger seat while you are looking for parking, and I quietly start climbing the walls. I’ll sit peacefully on a plane for hours despite turbulence, but as soon as we land I want to rush out and can’t wait for the doors to open.

Go figure. Phobias are a strange thing. 

My hate of traffic and of travelling by car in the city are among the reasons why I live in a central area, close to the center and my work. It is why I prefer taking the bus, which I don’t have to drive or park, and in which I can sit and read my emails in peace.  I often ride the bus outside of peak hours as my work hours are flexible. And I would gladly pay more rent in order to save 20 minutes of the time I spend in transit.

You could say that I have a problem. But yesterday as I looked at all the cars stuck in traffic, I realized something: if everyone was like me, global warming wouldn’t be as bad. 

Think about it. If everyone hated traffic, looking for parking and driving around the city as much as I do, they wouldn’t use one car per person and would walk, take a bike, ride share or hop on the bus. Instead of being so spread out around a big city center towards which hoards of humans converge each day, cities would once again be organised around smaller neighborhoods with their own centers. Wouldn’t it be bliss to have services and work close to home? Forget the suburbs!

Yikes! The Suburbs!!

Have you seen Chasing Ice? If not, see it now! Global warming is very real and it’s impacts are already felt.

And in that sense, I think it’s safe to say that impatient and claustrophobic people like me are the future of humanity.

 

Learn more!

Composting, recycling and avoiding mindless consumption can’t hurt either, of course! So head over to the Zero Waste Home blog for great tips and inspiring lessons!

Read The Worst Traffic Jams in History by Jim Gorzelany on Forbes.

Watch Chasing Ice, a disturbingly beautiful account of the impacts of global warming.

First image created using the photo ”Traffic Jam” by Wendell on Flickr.

Second image created using the photo ”Chicago suburbs from the air” by Scorpions and Centaurs on Flickr.

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