Local and Global

Our corner table was nicely separated by plexiglass and potted plants. I kind of liked the private atmosphere this created.

‘Maybe we should all believe in reincarnation. If we did, then we would be more concerned about the long-term future than we are. I’m thinking about the environment: ocean acidification, temperature increases, garbage; all of that would matter a lot more if we were destined to come back,’ I said to Camp who was quaffing his first pint.

‘What’s bugging you now, he asked.

‘I saw a segment of the news the other day where the reporter travelled around with these oceanographers and marine scientists in Puget Sound. Apparently, the ocean temperature has risen 4 degrees in the last few years from previous averages. Also, the terawatt amount of energy from trapped heat which is stored in the oceans is an irreversible process, not harmful for the planet, but for us humans in the long run.’

‘I read an article on the crash of global fertility rates which sounds like a good thing for the planet except the unnatural inverted age structure. The number of under-fives will fall from about 700 million now to under 400 in 2100 and the over 80-year-olds will soar from 150 million to a staggering 900 million in 2100. Meaning kids born today will be in the largest senior group ever. So much for reincarnation,’ Camp said.

‘If there was reincarnation maybe Trump could come back as a poor Puerto Rican,’

I said. ‘Did you know that he thought of selling the territory after Hurricane Maria.’

‘Just another piece of underperforming real estate to him. I think he should reincarnate as a black, liberal woman democrat.’

‘That sounds like a reward, not a punishment.’

‘If life would be just that simple,’ Camp said.

‘You know what’s going to bring this pandemic to the forefront of even deniers and conspiracy believers? It’s not the half million people dead, that’s just a number. It’s when celebrities die, famous people. With HIV the focus shifted to the illness when movie stars like Rock Hudson and rock stars like Freddy Mercury died from it.’

We both zoned into our beers and the busy view of our harbour.’

‘Have you ever heard of Jim Hanson?’ I asked Camp.

‘What the Muppet inventor?’

‘No, that was Henson, I mean Hanson, a climate research scientist. He famously warned the US Senate about global warming back in 1988, pointing out that improving soil could also secure our food supply for billions of people. He is a proponent of spreading basalt rock dust on farmland which could suck billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and increase the soil’s fertility. It’s called Advanced Rock Weathering, ARW. A win-win really but once again, it needs a co-ordinated global effort.’

‘Just like the pandemic.’

‘And poverty.’

‘Enjoying the summer?’ Rosie asked.  ‘Ready for another pint?’

‘That would be a yes and a yes. It’s busy here today. A lot of tourists?’ Camp said.

‘Staycationers, mostly from BC, no Europeans or Americans.’

‘Except the ones driving through to Alaska,’ Camp said a tad sarcastic.

‘Never knew Alaska was so popular,’ Rosie said. ‘Two pints coming right up.’


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