George Packard, retired schoolteacher, rode his bicycle to the Beverly Hills Library. He returned some books, and then took the #4 bus to go to the beach. His bicycle sat on the front bumper rack. Only the beginning of March and it was over 80 degrees in Los Angeles.
The ride to the beach was uneventful. George sat on the left, three rows back. He snuggled against the warm side panelling. The sun shone warm through the window.
Bundy Drive. They waited at the red light. The #4 bus would never set any speed records. Still, the bus ride was more relaxing than driving. George would soon get to Santa Monica and head his way down to the bicycle path. The beach promised to be beautiful. It always was.
George Packard, retired schoolteacher, sat at Perry’s Beach Cafe. It was crowded on this first warm weekend of the year. George doubted, though, that the winter was over. Hopefully, it would rain two or three more times this year. It was only the beginning of March. Water levels in California were low. Warm, dry spring days like this meant more fires, less water. Not good. It definitely looked like the dreaded global warming trend was a reality. The difficulty, considered George, in discussing climate change (not to mention agreeing on any policy to address it) was that changes in climate are by definition long-range phenomena and can only be identified as such after many years. However the changes in recorded temperatures, ice pack and glacier levels, as well as other indicators observed over the past 50 years, clearly indicated something more than a random fluctuation. The data indicated that we had already entered into a period of rapid, perhaps accelerating, atmospheric warming. We can expect increased droughts, violent storms, flooding of coastal areas, severe water shortages/food shortages/political unrest. Not good.
Energy consumption needs to be reduced until alternate resources become available, thought George. There is no other choice – other than to build higher dams and levees. Energy needs to be conserved and consumption reduced. This present economy, based as it was on burning megatons of hydrocarbons and requiring higher and higher consumption of increasingly useless products, needed to be changed. Otherwise the current period of human domination and exploitation of the planet would spiral into a long, dark age of limited resources, mass poverty, and physical insecurity – in a land without many of our animal brothers and sisters. Not good, thought George.
George rode home on the bicycle path.