Scarp: Getting ready for a hot time ahead - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Scarp: Getting ready for a hot time ahead

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Mark J. Scarp is a contributing columnist for the Tribune. Reach him at mscarp1@cox.net.

Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:03 am

All kinds of people nationwide have been saying for a while now Arizona is going to, well, the infernal regions, but a University of Hawaii study is actually predicting it.

It’s going to happen in 30 years, just in case you’d like to clean the house first. But don’t worry. Everyone else, it seems, is going to be there, too, eventually.

I’m not kidding. Last week EastValleyTribune.com published an Associated Press story about the study on climate chang [Read it at evtnow.com/5xo]. I’ll leave the details to the story itself, but it reported that the study predicted when permanent increases in average temperatures will reach several world cities, thanks to decades of accumulating greenhouse gases.

According to the AP account, the study says Phoenix’s Big Heat Epoch is to start in 2043. And the rest of the world will start feeling it by 2047.

The study’s authors say most every other city will eventually have the same problem by late in the 21st century depending on where they are, according to the AP report.

How this will affect everyone is hard to predict. Me? If I’m still around, I’ll be 84 years old then, and I plan to be spending more time in front of a fan with iced tea. At least I won’t have to worry much about sitting in traffic atop searing asphalt in February. Some of you who are younger, however, may have to plan to give up some things.

The switch on your car dashboard marked, “HEAT,” for one. And there will be no need for those annoying “no burn” days anymore, because fireplaces all over town will have been decommissioned to become planters long ago.

I wonder if environmentalist author Edward Abbey, who died in 1989, is looking down on us. This defender of the environment’s fictional works – stemming back four decades -- predicted a future for the Southwest consisting of a civilization whose fall was hastened by environmental collapse. Some of the resulting scenes were the likes of which you might encounter in a Mad Max movie.

Abbey, who lived his last years near Oracle, Ariz., loved the simple, uncomplicated existence in open spaces most of us in urban areas don’t experience. I’m not sure if more of us had a taste of that existence we’d be dealing with the growing effects of climate change with more urgency.

Still, I’m no purist. I don’t drive an electric car, not even a hybrid. But I separate recyclables each week for reintroduction. I keep my thermostat at 80 degrees on summer days.

Is that enough? I can tell you one thing: Small efforts like that surprised me by changing both my worldview and my local view a bit. They help you worry less about stuff like zoning controversies or the neighbor’s cat continually marking his territory on your barbecue grill.

The news of a study predicting exactly when things are going to be turning for the worse is like reading your own headstone’s dates beforehand: It’s not the kind of thing that encourages breaking into singing “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (sorry; global warming joke).

Yet even Edward Abbey had a sense of humor. And he saw the value of living in this still-beautiful place called Arizona, something we should all take a bit less for granted.

“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience,” Abbey once said. “And then there is California.”

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