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Climate Change; A Writer Laments

I traveled upstate last Monday hoping for a respite from the city heat. I planned to finish the final revision of my new novel, “What Returns to Us,” and had a meeting scheduled with my book designer. The book is finished, the cover design was discussed, thankfully, but most of my plans for the week were abandoned. It was hot. Very hot. So hot, in fact, that it was hard to breathe much less think. AC was never a thought before so far into the mountains, but climate change is serious, it is real and, it seems, even the mountains will not be spared. I had been there during Hurricane Irene. Ulster County was hit hard and it is very far inland, a big surprise to everyone, including scientists.

I don’t think writers, or anyone else, can be insouciant about these changes, how they effect our lives, and what adaptations we have to make. Will we have to forgo fresh air upstate as well as in the city? Stay indoors in AC on the worst days? This has never been true before and I dread the prospect of being stuck inside for days and weeks at a time. Walking loosens my imagination and I couldn’t walk outside—safely—all week. In fact, I tried to take a walk early yesterday morning and returned to the house with heat prostration. I was unable to move off the couch all day. At least I got some reading done, but I felt so lousy I could hardly concentrate.

How do the Chinese do it? They live in choked, polluted cities. There was an item on the news the other night about a mother of a newborn who monitors the air from her apartment before she ventures outside. What has become of them? Of us?

I think, for starters, if we haven’t gone green and sustainable already, now is the time to start. This very instant, right now. And if we have gone green, we have to proselytize like crazy, as I am attempting to do here.

I traveled back to the city early this morning and enjoyed the ride in my fully air conditioned car. 99 degrees in the city with a heat index of 110 degrees, hot enough to melt rubber tires and gold, the radio announcer said with a giggle. I wasn’t laughing. Luckily, I found a parking spot close to my apartment building. That’s because everyone—with means and/or a place to go—has fled the city.

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