Geoff and I went to a global warming presentation today. There was no earth-shattering information. Well, not in the metaphorical sense, anyway. Just the simple facts ... Alaska’s melting. The ranger from Kenai Fjords National Park didn’t want to get political at all. He just wanted to show us cool overlapped photos of glaciers that were there ... and then gone. While the guy’s speech tended to veer toward the glossy confusion of fifth-grade science, the graphics were intriguing: one hundred-foot walls of ice that just vanished into lush, green valleys. A continent’s worth of polar ice, melted into the sea. Thunderstorms and tornadoes in interior Alaska. The most interesting part was the time-lapse. Thirty years. That’s it. I’m starting the understand a tourism campaign that parodies Alaska’s license plate pitch: See Alaska, B4ITMELTS.
Maybe the presentation was more effective because it’s been raining continuously for two days. That’s not an anomaly in coastal Alaska in November, I’m told, but still. I grew up in the decade of CFC-free hair spray and Toyota Tercels, but despite taking and entire college course on global warming, I never thought I’d see any effects of it in my lifetime. But as long as I stay in Alaska, I may not have a choice.