Last night western Washington State experienced a major thunderstorm. Power was knocked out in several areas and at least one house “blew up” after taking a direct hit from a lightning bolt. Both residents of the house, a 57 year old man and his dog, were sent sailing across the room. As is so often the case, the dog saved his companion’s life by warning him to get out of the house before smoke inhalation did them in.
Thunderstorms are common this time of year in arid, eastern Washington where summer temperatures are usually at least 20 degrees higher. But on the cool, damp, coastal side of the Cascade Mountains a summer lightning storm is almost unheard of. As usual, the media downplayed the event as not such a rarity, “it’s something that happens once in a while.” Like President Bush’s comforting statement after 911, the central message is, don’t panic—just “go shopping.” Above all, don’t let something like a major oil spill in the fragile Gulf of Mexico or record-breaking storms wrought by a changing climate effect the stock market. We’ve got to keep this locomotive of progress barreling down the tracks like there’s no tomorrow.
While the term “global warming” may not sound that menacing, the ongoing increase in the Earth’s overall annual temperature is responsible for a shift in weather patterns, leading to widespread historic events which are growing more intense by the day. Meanwhile, despite what those fracking sons of bitches running the oil industry try to tell us, the impending adversities resulting from reaching peak oil production are not something we can wish away.
Vast areas of drought-stricken forests are ready to burn and though immense fires rage more frequently every summer, the only thing keeping millions of other acres from burning off is a fire suppression action plan that calls for first strike helicopters and converted B-52 bombers to drop chemical fire retardant on every spark they can get to. But it won’t be long before there just isn’t enough oil to keep up with that kind of aerial assault.
The looming question is who’s going to be left to shovel the last bits of the coal into the engine of this speeding locomotive when everyone is busy on the bucket brigade, trying to put out the latest catastrophic wildfire by hand?