Book and Blog

A Change in the Weather is two things: a novel and a blog.

The novel imagines the immediate consequences of the abrupt climate change we’re so assiduously inducing. Forget the environment. Long before the sea level rises, democracy will have begun to crumble, as the Russell family finds out.

The novel, which is available on Amazon, is set in the election year of 2028. It’s organized into six parts. The eight chapters of Part One will be posted on this site, one per week or so. There are thirty-eight chapters in all.

The blog expands on themes from the book.

There’s nowhere to hide from the climate. There’s no preparation, no adaptation, no defense, and no survival strategy that isn’t like living in a perpetual state of war. There’s no magical real estate where you can hunker down and farm until it all blows over. There’s only prevention.

Things are already getting weird. The planet is sending signals that, taken as a whole, cannot be rationalized away. A few are patently ominous, like the melting of the Arctic ice cap. That’s the key event in A Change in the Weather, by the way. The ice cap disappears in the summer of 2018 and disrupts seasonal weather patterns around the globe which in turn ruins agriculture. I’ve checked with experts Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground and Dr. Mark Serreze at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and they worry that this scenario is completely plausible.

Others are localized and not individually attributable to climate change, but nonetheless spooky, like heavy snow storms with thunder and lightning in Washington DC or the eerily warm weather of March 2012, when the daily low temperature in many northern states was above the “normal” daily high. Add in record rainstorms, record droughts, precessing growing seasons, shifting animal and plant habitats, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, and proliferating wildfires, and they add up to something big and imminent.

Like someone experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, and nausea, our collective reaction so far seems to be: it’ll pass; it can’t be what I think it is.

We’re pussyfooting around a lot of the deep, taboo cultural and psychological issues that keep us on track to turn the entire globe into Easter Island, Jared Diamond’s classic example of a society driving itself to extinction through cultural inertia.

My hope is that surfacing some of these issues may help us recognize this for the emergency it is and to do the difficult things to keep the worst from happening.

Redirecting our present trajectory will take a level of agreement and cooperation unprecedented in human history. The closest equivalents are World War Two and the Marshall Plan. But our awareness of what’s happening is also unprecedented, as is our ability to communicate, and the intellectual and technological resources at hand to create the solutions.

What we lack is imagination and will.

A Change in the Weather is about visualizing what might happen to us—not some future generation, but us—if we don’t reach that agreement, and soon. My hypothesized near future may not play out in its particulars as I’ve imagined it. Who can predict exactly what will happen when the ice cap disappears and the Arctic inverts from heat reflector to heat sink? No one, of course. But here’s my bet: we won’t like it.

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