…oh, and don’t forget the Mayan prophecy (does anyone actually know how to read or speak ancient Mayan?)…No need to spare anything too arcane, it’s surely all bad news anyways.
I was reading an article about an airport in Florida that had to temporarily shutdown so as to change its navigational signs due to the southward drift of magnetic north (it’s making lots of news these days)…
…but what prompted me to write this post was not the article itself (see link below), but the comments that people were making — over 2000 of them so far. Most of these are expressing some form of doom and gloom, with even the more rational ones admitting to feeling “a little strange” lately. I also noted that many responders were confused about the ‘polarity flip’ and the Earth’s ‘wobble’ (its precession) which is causing the sun’s progression through the traditional zodiac to fall out of alignment…perhaps causing a problem…somewhere.
“Wobble” and “Flip”…no wonder people are “feeling a little strange” these days…they’re practically nauseous…info-vertigo, too much bad news from pop Science, too much fear-factoring from big Media — and too little time to check facts (who has time for fact-checking, when it’s the end of the bloody world?)
I took these many comments (to what is a rather basic and matter-of-fact news story) to be a sort of psychological barometer of the times we live in. Let’s see, let’s call them…the um…end (again) times.
In times that are seen as ‘end times’, no amount of calm, reasonable argumentation will convince the (seeming) majority that some things are not true, or not calamitous (for all of Earth)…especially when you write for a blog that offers regular doses of climate change news — news that is crisis-oriented.
It matters not that the Earth’s poles are continuously in flux and it will take thousands of years for a complete reversal of the magnetosphere to happen, and in the mean time it could just as readily flip back to its old orientation (oh, and the north pole is shifting southward towards Russia, on average, 40 kilometers per year, not 40 miles)…
It matters not that mass bird deaths (and fish kills too) happen quite frequently, but mostly in remote areas that don’t get much news coverage. This is not to say that the causes of these die-offs (small and large) are completely understood (making it all the easier to recourse to malevolent / metaphysical forces at work)…or, that maybe the natural fluctuation in the magnetosphere (a two for one!) is causing some birds to fly into storms, instead of away from them (kind of like what that airport was trying to avoid with planes)…then again, maybe it’s the government’s fault…
Interestingly, we tend to ignore multiple, equally probable causes while we accept multiple “signs” to validate our fears. Meanwhile, enforcement of the Clean Air and Water Acts continues to be lax…
Because these dreadful things fascinate us so, scare us so, we give these stories more of our attention — guaranteeing greater news coverage — and also (seemingly) more occurrences of these Fortean events.
Yes, it’s difficult to advocate for a mind state of reason and calm (things that, I believe, will aid the challenge of climate change remediation) when we eco-evangelists espouse taking action on human-induced climate change now (while we still seem to have time to contemplate it), and while our voices are joined by a chorus of other concerned folks — some of whom see the situation in far more dire terms than others.
I want people to take our emerging climate change crisis seriously, to take sensible, informed and concerted action to forestall a potentially looming, global calamity, or series of calamities…Oh, and by the way, don’t take all that other fear-mongering seriously — that’s just crack-pot pseudo-science or right-wing religio-doom-saying…Their crisis is over-blown, ours is under-appreciated, etc.
Admittedly, sometimes, it’s a tough sell. Thus, I try to keep a balanced outlook and maintain a sober, measured reading of the science of climate change (which has a near consensus about the big picture, but some disagreements on the particulars…hmmm, just like the apocalypse camps!)
Oh, and the “Mayan calendar” doesn’t predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012…There are, in fact, two Mayan calendars (the Tzolk’in and Haab’ calendars, 260 and 360 +5 days respectively) neither of which assigns numbers to years, as we do. To arrive at a future date in the Mayan system, one must combine the two and count; this combined system repeats in cycles of 52 years (well past an average Mayan’s lifespan), the next one of which ends on December 22, 2012…Of course, there are also those 5 days “left over” at the end of each calendar round (the Wayeb) and which were thought to be unlucky and a bit chaotic (but what’s 5 days, right?), so, maybe avoid air travel from Dec. 18 to 22… *
…and then it starts all over again. Nearly everything in Nature is cyclical in some fashion, even the climate (the question is whether or not we humans will still be flourishing come next time around…but there I go again!).
I once saw a poster that quoted Buddha’s last words as “do your best”. That is my aspiration through all of these may-you-live-in-interesting-times…end (again) times.
And, if the fear-mongering starts getting too much for you, just remember this…in the really, really BIG picture, the Universe is likely to be cyclical too.
Here’s the original story that prompted my post (don’t forget to read the comments): Earth’s magnetic pole shifts, screws up runway at Florida airport
*Or, would that be Dec. 23 – 27 ? That’s one of the main problems with using ancient calendrics to predict modern events — knowing where to start, and stop, counting.
Finally, for an alternative view of the End (Again) Times, please watch my original video poem ‘Apocalypse Later’ (that I made in 1998…before Y2K!) :