It's 5:40 AM and my hair is wet from my shower. My work systems are powering up to begin the work day, start a new work week and work month, and finish a work year as we sprint into December and the end of 2012.
Ten years ago, 2012 seemed so far away. Now the calendar's last page is waiting to be torn off.
Overcome is today's mantra. It's a good mantra not just for me but for our modern civilization.
We live in a morass of information, technology and issues that strain our minds and systems. I spent some time catching up on the news. Climate change is on many people's minds. New studies show faster shrinking of the ice caps and remaining glaciers. The sea waters will rise faster.
But here is the real news: these calculations don't include the rapidly thawing permafrost. It's been exposed much faster than expected, and now it's thawing faster than expected. That thawing releases new methane into the atmosphere and will affect the models and calculations. Scientists can guess about the extent of these changes but are unsure what they'll mean until new measurements are taken, new models are run.
I was reading about Austin, Texas. People raved about the success of the Formula 1 Grand Prix on some pages. On other pages, there was no rainfall recorded in Austin, Texas, in November, 2012. That extends the depths and problems with their water supply. The missing rainfall was the first time that's happened since the 1800s.
The Washington Post carried an opinion piece about what to do to save New York from future flooding and disasters like Sandy, about trying to build sea walls, sea gates, and barrier walls.
Out in California, the state government is warning all coastal communities to plan for rising sea levels and coastal flooding.
Articles about the Mississippi River caught my attention. The operators who run the barges that carry the harvest are worried. The Mississippi is becoming impassible. The water levels are falling, making it too shallow to transport the barges. Where the mighty Mississippi was a thousand feet wide in places, it has become a few hundred feet wide.
I read about the US government and the fiscal cliff, and negotiations between the political parties about varying economic measures, and their possible impact and the need to protect the job creators, and people wondering, what does the fiscal cliff really mean? Will it actually have any tangible impact at all?
As newspapers advocate what to do about the budgets, taxes and industries, and articles talk about the need to build new seawalls and infastructure to deal with new issues caused by rising sea levels and melting ice caps and more violent, unpredictable weather patterns, I read about a train bridge that collapsed for the second time in four years, causing an accident, and about efforts to cope with aging nuclear reactors and the aging power grid in America.
I read about the many tax breaks and economic incentives governments give to corporations such as GM, Caterpillar, Shell, and the tangible impact of those incentives. As corporations are bribed to come or stay, local resources such as schools, roads, fire departments and police departments are cut to cope with falling revenues. The promises made to entice corporations mean little to the corporations. They make no promises in return. Their promise and responsiblities remain with making money and delivering to shareholders, not to countries, states, cities and citizens.
A fascinating study showed that those states that give the most economic incentives to attract businesses have education system ranked in the lowest twenty percent. Their economies also are doing worse.
In one amusing story, Pennsylvania is paying Caterpillar to come build in their state, even as Caterpillar reports record profits and has frozen its employees' wages for six years. That freeze doesn't include the executive ranks.
So overcome is the mantra, not just for me, dealing with the nexus of morasses and personal issues I deal with trying to help the poor and homeless find food, and write stories and novels and become published while trying to make my corporation, which is setting record levels of earning per share and record profits, to make more money, but for the rest of the world, coping with the increasing threats and changes to our modern methodologies.
There is a sense, for me personally, and while looking at the world, that something is going to break.
There is a sense, too, that perhaps it is already broken, but that we want to stay willfully blind and unwilling to accept that changes are needed.
So what needs to be overcome?
All of the above.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com