| IN THE BEGINNING |

We’ve gotta start somewhere, and I’m starting late. 
I’ve got a little girl. Already at two and six months she goes to the store in our living room and buys me milk with money she creates out of thin air. She swims in an ocean of fishes on our kitchen floor and wakes in the early hours telling me that “whales are coming” from the bathroom door.
I’ve got a little girl that lives in a world of make believe, where her parents aren’t far off drinking from her tiny invisible cups and eating her hand made weightless cheese.
I’ve got a little girl that’s been brought into a world that scares me, not for what’s invisible, but for what’s real and tangible and staring her parents right in the face.

Generational Parent Fretting

Every generation of parents go through fretting – many others with struggles, hopes, and dreams that tower like mountains over my own personal shrew hole. There were godless heathens to fear by some parents at some point in history. That and war and commies and atheists and homosexuals and hippies and the black plague and influenza and Nazi’s and Rock&Roll and the great depression and starvation and the common cold.I could go on.
Much of this historical (and modern) parent fretting arguably stems from human borne creations, often times due to idiotic and narrow sociocultural and socioeconomic mores (/ˈmɔreɪz/), broken social institutions and shortsighted beliefs. As a side note, though the Black Death and other pandemics lie beyond these ridiculously broad strokes I’m crudely painting here, the aftermath of the Black Plague’s march of death and dying brought about the persecution of Jews and women – just another one of those dots to connect in the morbid portrait of human suffering and ignorance.

My Own Parental Fretting

For my own part, I fret over mostly the same things other parents do about their children – face punching the floor, digging too deeply and too often into nasal cavities, and how to properly pronounce the word “heart” (currently my daughter identifies that love shaped icon as a “fart”). But there are other things too, contemplation that pull cold and silent.
The dreary idea that Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, Alaska will likely retreat all the way back into the valley behind Bullard and McGinnis mountains by the time my daughter has her own children. There are the thoughts about massive die offs of fish and seals and other marine life due to climate fluctuations [See Algae Bloom in Kachemak Bay (Oct. 2013),  Unusual Mortality Event (UME) of Ice Seals (2012), Fish Die Out Due to Record Temperatures (Aug. 2013)]
Then of course there are Western Alaskan communities that are slipping into the sea, acidification of Alaskan waters that jeopardize some of the very foundational organisms of our oceans, the very near possibility of a complete absence of perennial Arctic sea ice, and many, many other examples of dramatic and terrifying changes that have been afoot sometime now.
Change of course isn’t all bad. The City of Homer released a Climate Action Plan in 2007 which states that the thinning or absence of Arctic sea ice will open up new shipping routes for oil and cargo, a fact that several other governmental and corporate publications highlight. Alaska may also benefit from the rising temperatures and drought that will take place throughout much of the lower 48 as we wade deeper into climate change impacts. Alaskan summers and winters may in fact be more hospitable for travelers and U.S. immigrants – a boost for the tourism industry and a likely population boon. I assume Texans will bring their hats.
Now, I am not trying to light anyone’s knickers on fire (though with Alaska having the highest average increase in temperatures of any U.S. state, our forests might by their own accord), its just that much of this frightens me and the potential benefits of fundamental climate changes seem cold comfort.

Fretting Action

There’s no simple equation equating my parental fretting with that of dead fish, melting glaciers, algae blooms, and rural communities eroding into the ocean. Its just, doesn’t this all seem so fucked up?

I mean all the wars we humans have wrought, all the Jews murdered under Hitler, all the countries and governments toyed with by European and U.S meddling, all the land and lives taken from indigenous people of Alaska and the world, all the poverty and warmongers in Africa, all the hate and abuse strewn about against homosexuals and Blacks and Latinos and minorities of all colors and stripes and beliefs – all this should be rubble on our hearts and more.

But, how can we address injustice or heal or move on or what-have-you, without a viable planet to live and breath, work and play? Or, if that seems too extreme to say, what are we going to do here in Alaska when detrimental changes and shifts in our climate and ecosystem become too great to let die in sporadic and ever increasing news spreads about retreating glaciers, depleting species of fish and wildlife, increases in invasive species, and drowning polar bears?

The recently ousted Maldives’ President Mohamed Nasheed said it well in The Island President (2011), a documentary that follows his own struggles to establish democracy in the Maldives and tracks his fight to push through climate change agreements during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, when he says something to the effect: what good is it to promote democracy if there is no country to speak of?

What good is it, as a father, to fret and worry about my daughter’s nose picking or potty training or education or health or imaginary whales swimming in through the lavatory, when these real and tangible changes loom in my child’s future? Ultimately, I am going to worry and fret and push and pull and laugh as best I can, tugging her along the rungs of life and growth.

But what about these other things? Climate and the environment? Sustainability? Adaptation to what will be by most accounts and predictions a profoundly different place for my daughter’s future?

It isn’t much: it’s this space, this puny little blog of no significance. I’ve gotta start somewhere and making believe that I can make a difference in our state is better than not starting at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

4 × four =