The Other I

February 15, 2011

A rose isn’t always a rose

Filed under: Environmental Issues — theotheri @ 5:14 pm

Juliet, in Shakespeare’s play declares that “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”

But I’m not so sure.  I think there is a great deal in a name and that it has a major influence on what we notice and how we evaluate it.

Personally, I don’t think I would feel quite the same about the bunch of roses Peter gave me for Valentine’s Day if they were called instead something like “a bundle of shit.”

It’s also why I can’t use the term “God” to describe the mystery that seems to me to permeate the universe.  What I sense has absolutely nothing to do with an autocratic father whose refusal to forgive his subjects who displease him lasts for eternity.

On a more practical subject, I suspect that we have made a mistake about global warming.  Global warming doesn’t sound all that bad a lot of the time.  In fact, it sounds rather appealing.

What we seem to have in reality, however, isn’t resort weather.  We seem to be having more extreme weather events – some winters are breaking records they are so cold, tornadoes and hurricanes are more frequent and more deadly, flooding is occurring in places and with destructive depths we have not experienced before.  What we have are environmental events for which we are seriously under-prepared.

The United Nations has recently warned that the world is going to face a serious food shortage in the near future.  We are already facing mini water crises even in the developed world.

Rather than calling what is currently happening a result of increasing “global warming,” I think we should call it increasing “environmental extremes.”

I think we’d pay attention to it differently if we did.

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