rooting for the underdog

It’s been cold lately, and no one is complaining. At first glance this is positively shocking, because everyone loves talking about the weather, and everyone loves complaining, so when inclement weather provides us the conversational shelter afforded by griping about the cold, it’s hard to resist. But no one is complaining.

When humanoids evolved the ability to reflect, their first conscious thoughts likely involved the feeling that they are at the mercy of the weather. Entire religions were constructed to address the impotence of man in the face of the elements. It is impossible to spend time in an extreme climate and not at least transiently be scared shitless of your utter helplessness at the hands of the environment. Edmund Hillary, who died this month, was the hero of a generation because he represented a victory of man over nature.

Suddenly, however, it is man who has become the aggressor. The perception that we are headed for a global warming Armageddon has become a political, media, and industrial circus. In the period of five years, the issue has moved from the scientific and activist fringe to affect everyone capable of having a conversation. We watch the reports of heat waves, declining crop yields, and drowning polar bears, and shake our heads, ashamed of ourselves.

I walked outside into 16 degree cold last week, and thought to myself, you go girl. For the first time in history, mother nature is the underdog.

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