It’s upwards of 110 degrees throughout much of Los Angeles county today and I have spent the day either in nearby businesses that have AC, reading in a bathtub of cold water, or in my apartment wearing a dress I keep wetting in the sink. The only solid foods I’ve eaten in two days are chips and guacamole, to go with my smoothies and ice cream; heat apparently turns me into a dietary child. I have at times had to work outside in similar temperatures and today I am grateful to be off but worried for all of the gardeners, construction, film, and road workers (among others) who are sweating it out outside. And, I can’t help but wonder, as each year gets hotter than the last and heat records continue to be shattered, how will we, as a species, cope? Already we are seeing mass migration due to war, violence, poverty, and climate change, but we are just at the beginning of the tipping point. Drought, wildfire, flooding, and famine will become more normal than they already are and the coming generations won’t know a time when they weren’t. Are these the good old days, the ones we are living in right now, at this moment? Are these the times we will reminisce about, back to when a 112 degree day made the news, because it was still abnormal? I think about my eight year old nephew and my friend’s three month old baby girl and wonder if they will experience and remember summer as a time for camping, slip and slides, and ice cream? Will there be snow to build snowmen or snowballs with in the winter? I wake in the middle of the night with a weight on my chest at the thought that these really could be the days we look back fondly upon. Where will billions of people go when their crops turn to dust or their neighborhoods disappear under several feet of water? The migration we see now will seem tiny in comparison, and as usual it will be those with the fewest resources who suffer the most and pay the biggest price. Today is Scott Pruitt’s (the pathetic head of the Environmental Protection Agency) last day and for now he will be replaced by the equally unqualified former energy lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler. How men who have children and grandchildren can deny climate change without giving it even the benefit of a doubt, I will never understand. Greed. Greed followed by willful ignorance. While visiting Amsterdam in 2014, I stumbled on a fantastic, huge, multi level bookstore of which almost one third seemed to be about, or in some way related to, climate change. With an average elevation of 2 meters, but with much of the city sitting below sea level, the Dutch are keenly aware of the precarious spot they occupy on earth. One might wonder why the people of New Orleans, Miami, and New York City don’t seem so worried, or why all Americans just seem to be going along, waiting, wondering if and when it will get worse. It’s overwhelming to realize that the beautiful planet that sustains and nourishes us on every level could cease to do so. And equally overwhelming to realize we have created this disaster and that our elected officials continue to perpetuate it. I don’t know what the answer is, other than to do what we can. Support local and small scale farmers, live in small, energy efficient homes, drive small gas efficient cars, resist the policies that take us closer to the tipping point of no return, support public transportation, bike, spend our dollars wisely, investigate, research, stop eating beef, support solar and wind energy, conserve water… it all makes a difference. I don’t want to look back on now as the good, old days. I want our kids and grandkids to have it even better than we did. I know you do too. Stay cool out there!If you enjoy these posts, please follow Smagik.com and please share and comment!
I’m standing on the side of a rural highway in Georgia. And it is hot. Sticky. The humid air is visible, something I’m not used to coming from the desert. A small breeze tries to blow periodically, but then gets tired and gives up, not that I would be able to feel it anyway. I (the girl who grew up running around on the prairie, playing in arroyos, camping) am covered head to toe in every bug deterrent clothing item made and sold by REI, to the point that only my face is visible. Stories of ticks and chiggers run through my head. I stand on the paved shoulder, afraid of the grass and what might lurk below. Who am I and when did I turn into the type of urban princess I used to scoff at?
Early in my costuming career, in New Mexico, I would smile quietly when the LA part of the department arrived on location wearing cute, clean, impractical shoes, complained about the local restaurants, or were scared of the bugs. Buck up, I’d think.
Standing on the side of the highway, I look across and see a young girl playing on a slip and slide in her front yard. She runs back and forth with her brother as their mom sits on the porch, watching, drinking a coke and smoking a cigarette. Every once in a while they turn to watch us; dozens of people who just appeared on the side of their road, filming a car driving back and forth, all covered head to toe. Periodically the girl or her brother slide too far and end up in the long grass at the edge of the yard, the same grass I’m scared of. I watch them scream and slide and, very slowly, I lean over, untuck my pants from my socks, and unzip the legs.
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It is hot! 105 in Albuquerque yesterday, with the same expected today. And, after such a cool, rainy spring, I think we are all in shock, though June is usually the month where it reaches triple digits for a week or two, so we really shouldn’t be. Today I plan to make mint sun tea, write a short story, meet a friend at the pool, and be grateful that for the first time in over a decade, I am not outside, working on a film set in this heat!
Producers love to shoot in New Mexico in the summer; long days full of amazing skies, desert vistas stretching for miles, 16 hours before you lose the light. Pouring water over my head, wrapping a wet bandana around my neck, reapplying sunscreen again and again, holding the wool coats and petticoats of actors too hot to wear them, lugging garment bags up a mountain or into a canyon, eating bananas for the potassium, waiting for the sun to go down, trying to drink even half as much water as I should.
Early in my career, I wore skirts and light blouses, but after ruining too many, switched to shorts and tee shirts, but after getting too much sun, switched to high tech UV fabric clothing that I rinse out each night, same outfit day after day, no skin showing. Only when the director goes down with heat stroke, do people slow and drink a Gatorade.
I think of my dad, building a house out in the country. Watermelon for lunch, gallons of water sweated out, like a cleanse, year after year working through the summer. And of all the farm workers, road crews, and walking mail deliverers, working in the heat. My grandmother would meet her mailman at the door with a glass of lemonade.
And six months from now, I might be writing the same post for cold. Bitter and biting. Seems unimaginable now.
Stay cool out there!