A few years a go, a friend of mine in late pregnancy went to her routine midwife appointment three weeks before her due date. The midwife checked her cervix and discovered, to everyone's shock, that my friend was seven centimeters dilated (which, if you aren't familiar with childbirth, means you are in quite a late stage of labor). My friend, who hadn't felt a thing (yes, I hated her for this ;-)), on being told that she was to be sent to the birthing center to deliver said, "No, I can't, we aren't ready to have the baby. I'll come back on Monday." The midwife laughed, and set to explaining that this wasn't optional, that the baby was coming - and soon. But my friend, who couldn't quite get over the unreality she felt after believing she had plenty of time, and her panic that things weren't ready for the baby, said, "Well, how about I come back tomorrow morning - we have to go shopping." The midwife gently bundled my protesting friend into her car, rode with her and her husband to the birthing center, and 29 minutes later, delivered my friend, who claims she still didn't quite believe it, of a beautiful little girl.
I was reminded of my friend's birth story while I was reading Carbon Equity's report
The Big Melt yesterday. If you are a sensitive sort, I strongly recommend reading it while clutching a teddy bear and having your back massaged. I wish I had - frankly, I just want to hang on to my kids as hard as I can right now. I can't include a direct link because my computer doesn't get along with Adobe Acrobat, but Rob Hopkins over at Transition Culture has a direct link). http://transitionculture.org/2007/10/17/the-single-most-depressing-thing-i-have-ever-read/ As you may intuit from his subtly negative thread title, it is not happy news. Among other important points, it observes that the famed "2 degree" threshold is a political, rather than scientific construct, and that climate sensitivity may well be double what we expected.
I know, I know, I'm supposed to be off vacationing. But this is important news, and I think we need to read and talk about this, even if we'd rather not. And I know I'd rather not - but that's not really an excuse. The fact is, we'd all rather that we had more time, less reason, less urgency. But some biological realities simply are - there is no place to negotiate. We're having the baby, everything's changing, and the only choices left are "car or birthing center." We may want more time and better options, but those aren't the choices anymore.
But within the limited choices we have real and meaningful options. That is, we can transition to a lower energy society quite rapidly, helping people obtain the tools and skills to live in one, or we can go to a lower energy society by necessity. We can cut our emissions dramatically and perhaps live with a 2 meter sea level rise, rather than 5 meter rise. We can cut our emissions and still have hope of growing food in the Southeast, even if it is too late for much of the Southwest. These are not small choices, if only we can look closely enough to see beyond what we wish our choices were, to what they really are.