Time was when the future could be and was read from the tea leaves of the past. Elders, old-timers, and other records could tell us what to expect in the way of weather. That wasn’t so long ago. Today, all we have to go on is the scientific models. The past no longer applies when it comes to weather. Without the benefit of science, we’re flying VFR at night. Oh, the Meteorologists can still tell us what to expect in the next few days, but they haven’t a clue what the weather will be like one year, five years from now; unless of course, they get ahold of the scientists’ predictions. Talking about Climate Change, of course.
Problem is, we still have experts talking about how if we only manage the forests in the west a little better the problem of forest fires will be solved. The management of the forest isn’t really the problem and they are not going to come back like they always have in the past. Not here in the west. Not in a hundred years. The past doesn’t, can’t, help us. It is what we the species do in the next very few years that matters. Unless we get our act together soon, where the forests are now will soon be desert for a very long time. Yet people are waiting for things to get back to the way they were; to normal. Dare we tell them that it will not happen in our lifetimes; nor in our great-great grandchildren’s lifetimes? Dare we not?
Climate Change isn’t the only new thing going on. Since late 2019, the world has been in the midst of a pandemic caused by a new, heretofore unknown virus, COVID-19. Early on, we went with what we knew from past infections, pandemics. Best thinking. Best we had. Tough going there for a while. Now that we have learned more about this ‘novel’ virus, we’re much better at prevention and treatment. Still and yet, a lot of people insisted on relying on the past; the price for this has been high. Many have died making their point. Many others have been sacrificed on the altar of the economy. Deny science as they might; science is the only thing that has worked.
Ever since 1970, Americans have been trying to get back to normal. Normal being where almost everyone could get a job that paid enough to buy a house, raise a family, then retire and fish. For more than fifty years now they have been talking about getting back to normal. That normal was the normal then. Today, a Bachelor’s probably won’t get you a job that pays a living wage. Today, the politicians still dangle that old carrot normal and talk of the middle class. Funny name for a carrot, normal.
Outside of another ’29 crash, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be going back to the economy of 1970. 1970 was then. Today, almost all of those jobs have been automated. More will soon be. Then, we were manufacturer to the world. Today, China is. Then, the women came and went talking of Galbraith and Friedman. Today, we are flying the economy on VFR, at night. Our sons and daughters can borrow the money and get the degree but they may not be able to get a job. Around the world we have a lot of well educated young people without a job; been without one their entire life. What their parents and grandparents had learned about how to get started, no longer applies. For this, science has been of no help. We fly on into the dark night; the voices come and go, talking about carrots, middle class, and normal.