Good morning from the Vanguard of Climate Collapse in the rich part of the world: the Iberian Peninsula.
This post was written as we were just coming out of a heat wave about ten days long: a heat wave that happened even before the solstice, which, I remember, marks the time of the year when the incidence of sunlight on the surface of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth is maximum, ergo: we were still in spring, here, during the first heat wave of 2022.
I will not dwell on the known and now almost banal effects of prolonged heat waves, but on some new emotions and sensations that, I think, will accompany us from here to the distant future. As a famous meme goes: This isn’t the hottest summer of our lives: this is the coolest summer of the rest of our lives.
𝟏) 𝐂𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
After a few days of rising accumulated heat in the atmosphere, the sky becomes saturated. The color of the sky fades and gives way to a diffuse gray. It looks like fog, but it’s not; they look like clouds, but they are not clouds; it is a hood of heat that pervades the whole lower part of the atmosphere, the one in which you live and move and breathe, and creates a very strange and disorienting effect in the sky. The sunlight is dimmed, but the solar heat is not. The full Moon stands out against an intense gray sky, which should obscure the light, but does not. The sky is suddenly disorienting.
When the heat wave goes away, your body feels a pre-limbic joy, which does not go through any kind of rational processing and is not containable. In a directly proportional way to the lowering of temperature, a physical-spiritual euphoria pervades you: the sky turns blue, the Moon is clearly seen with its craters, the air enters your body as if it were water from a primeval river waterfall. You can’t help but rejoice, feel alive and livable again.
𝟑) 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐞
The heat wave is hard for all humans: but for those at the extreme end of the age distribution (the youngest and the oldest), it is harder. A generally dormant consciousness begins to simmer during the spring heat wave: while the elderly have lived a long life (precisely by the definition of the elderly himself), children have a whole life ahead of them (precisely by the definition of the children herself). The kind of life they will have stands out mercilessly before your eyes, and childhood discomfort is very difficult to sustain without anguish and shame, shame proportional to the number of Earth orbits already lived. Here on the Iberian Peninsula, children collapse during heat waves. Circulatory disturbances, headaches, dizziness, fainting, convulsions among elementary school children are a steeply rising phenomenon.
Humanity adapts to everything, and quickly forgets everything.
I thank this 2022 spring heat wave, which a) reminds me of the discomfort of 2021 heat waves, which I had wisely removed; and b) reminds me that my adaptability is already very close to its limit.
This was the longest heat wave I have ever experienced in my 39 years of life on Earth.
Good luck to us: we will need it along with a lot of action; and the sooner we start, the less the worse it will be.