APFwebs: Letters from the Editor

Lights out, 8:30–9:30pm for Earth Hour 2018

Turn off your lights for an hour.

I found no mention in our local papers or our local TV news. It didn’t pop up even in Apple News. The World Wildlife Fund suggests yearly, we “Turn off all non-essential lights at 8:30 p.m. …local time…to show support for protecting our planet and stopping climate change.” Our first Earth Hour was in 2007.

Earth Hour’s a time to sit in candlelight. You could read a few pages in a dead-tree book. (Too late for a cocktail.) Or it’s a time to wander into the spring-warmed backyard and see the city-wide participation in blackout (or lack thereof). It’s a time to think of the weather.

We’ve seen drought before. I recall 1997, when NM wildfires were rampant. Forest services were so busy we called the helicopter the “state bird”. Record low precipitation leads me to suspect the same will be true this year. It may be a long, hot summer.

Each night at bedtime, I’ve been reading Elmer Kelton’s The Time It Never Rained. Charlie Skagg, a 1950s west Texas farmer, is driven to poverty by drouth. He’s one of “three cranks” in Rio Seco. The farmers thought, Why worry? …It would rain again this fall. It always had. …But it didn’t. So there’ve been droughts before.

Yet, tinfoil hat: it seems to me more numerous floods and wildfires in California, harsher tornado and hurricane seasons, intense winters in the northeast, and melting polar ice suggest a change in the climate.

Permafrost has melted, necessitating repairs at he Doomsday Vault. Permafrost! Average temperatures were 11° above normal.

A lecturer suggested that within 50 years there would be no more trees in NM.

The April 2008 green issue of PC Magazine said, A pile of our obsolete computers could make a 22-story mountain that covers the entire 472 square miles of the city of Los Angeles. We’ve had a lot of obsolescence since then—but maybe Los Angeles has grown some. A plastic “garbage patch” in the Pacific between Hawaii and California has grown to twice the size of Texas. These suggest a contribution of human activity.

Tonight at Earth Hour I could turn a dead-tree page. Or maybe just light candles. Tonight at bedtime I’ll turn pages on Rio Seco.

Lights out.