‘Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
… Hell no! And it ain’t over now!’
-John Blutarsky, Delta Tau Chi
I realize that the long term models are calling for a thousand year night and infinite coldness. I know there’s no end in sight to this permafrost. Who’s to say when this winter will end. Could be as soon as this spring. That’s just the optimists view though and I know from all your endless thermometers and ceaseless single digit and negative degree temperatures that we may not survive this thing. In fact the only data that speaks to our survival is the endless drumbeat of all history. So let us now talk about how it is we want the survivors to remember us when they come across our tools and remains and ruins. Do we want them to construct a civilization that chose to wave the white flag of surrender at this, our coldest hour, or do we want them to remember a brave if freezing people determined to to live while living and not folks that gave up at a time when we were faced with this, the greatest of challenges.
I am not stone hearted and I too bemoan our fate. But I have children and it is my duty to make sure that the number of days we have left in our lives is forever surpassed by the life we have left in our days.
I have taken to describing to them the feel of grass between their toes. To sharing with them the meaning of the word sunlight and developing simple experiments that can be created out of our household stores which, though dwindling, it remains imperative that we use them to foster their sense of discovery. For if my children are the lucky ones that survive this I want them to have some sense of what normal life was like before the ice age that has robbed them of so much that I took for granted.
The depression and the sense of general unwellness has been well documented. While it is not all defined as a response to the harsh reality we confront, if you look through the content being distributed by your network of friends you’ll notice a theme of darkness and depression. Of general defeatism. And I am here to say, STOP THIS.
I acknowledge that there is no great likelihood of this ending and us once again knowing the joys of warm sunshine on our skin. I shall likely forever long for the sounds, smells and visceral joys of a day at the ballpark and I weep that my children won’t know the same. While the stores of food for humanity will likely deplete rapidly it is now time for us to cultivate sustainable agriculture in this new landscape that is unforgiving and refuses to nurture and foster our historical crops that will become boutique items that can only be grown in green houses. Sure, we’ll develop these resources further, over time, but what will I do to teach my children of the joyous sensual delight of eating an apple off of a tree or picking wild blackberries that were once so prevalent just beneath the snow they will now know as there native landscape.
The reality that we will never again be truly warm and filled with the invigorating sunlight that once lasted late into an evening of a summers day challenges not only our minds and our bodies, but no less then our very souls. I say stand up and throw off the shackles of our former lives and learn to live anew. Fight the darkness with all you have and curse the night and do not allow it to hold sway over you. For we are the greatest animals to ever live and no threat to our existence has ever defeated us. For we have seen the stars and been so awed as to decide to visit them and have done so in less then a century since converting from whale blubber to oil. Less then a century since learning to light up our nights en masse. The challenges that will face us are not unlike those of many of our forefathers. It is time for us to consciously be aware of the burden we leave our children. If we don’t act to change all that we are doing in order to re-imagine humanity living in a permanent state of winter, we will have only ourselves to blame.
So damn your Seasonal Affective Disorder and Curse the devil. Stand upon the shoulders of the greatest generations which have come before us and gird yourself for the fight of a lifetime. For it is nothing less then the fight for life. We are human and there is no force in the universe that can outwit us if we determine we will not fail. We can’t fail.