The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Brian McHugh’s Review of World of Thermo…Grim Reaping
Dear Diary. This weekend let’s take a one-day break on highlighting as our main topic of the day the consequences of horrendous heatwaves and droughts. Most of my followers know that I completed an educational kid’s climate trilogy earlier this year that I have been working on since 2013 under the heading World of Thermo. Here is my forward for book three, World of Thermo…Grim Reaping, which entails what I’ve tried to accomplish with the series:
This is the third book in my World of Thermo book series meant to educate and entertain kids on the history and hazards of climate change. For adults, these books offer some humorous allegory, showing how silly we as a species have been confronting the climate crisis. Individual chapters are written so that teachers can use them for study lessons.
In book one, World of Thermo…Thermometer Rising, I delved into how carbon pollution slowly began affecting our environment beginning in the 19th and 20th centuries, allegorically using Thermo, the flying thermometer and his protagonist, Carbo, the leader of the carbon dioxide molecules. Carbo and his followers represent uncaring greed in association with fossil fuel interests. Thermo and his climate friends represent all conscientious people willing to stand up and fight for the future of people, plants, and animals on this planet.
In book two, World of Thermo…Carbonated, we find our climate crisis fighting friends battling with Carbo and his allies from after Katrina in 2005 to near the present day. During this period Carbo’s forces outwit Thermo and his gang at nearly every turn. In the real world during the early 21st century, fossil fuel interests have trolled out a lot of disinformation from those wanting to transition quickly to renewable green energy, delaying progress towards a sustainable future for us all. My second book allegorically tells the dark tale of what has been happening in the present time as wildfires, heatwaves, floods and storms get worse.
This third book, World of Thermo…Grim Reaping, is a dystopian future story indicating that we will proverbially reap what we have sown from the last one hundred and fifty years of the Industrial Revolution. The plight of humanity goes from bad to worse as the 21st century moves along. However, through some ingenuity and hard lessons learned, Thermo and Therma plus their human allies eventually win the day over Carbo and Carba’s minions. Similarly, in the real world, the climate crisis will get worse because we have not limited and then stopped using fossil fuels. There is still hope though for everybody to pull together to successfully build a sustainable green civilization. It’s not too late for the world of Thermo, which is allegorically like your own world, to be saved.
My friend from across the big pond who has written some outstanding reviews that are being noticed by high profile climate folk has kindly written a review for my new book. Here is a repost of Brian’s review. Remember to support this project since sales of book two are going toward a good cause:
Review of ‘World of Thermo: Grim Reaping’ by Guy Walton
4th Aug 2023
All great sagas have an ending.
Esteemed meteorologist Guy Walton’s ‘World of Thermo’ series has included all the elements of a true saga: journeys, friendships, sacrifice, help from characters with potent, magical powers and an evil villain who needs to be vanquished.
Great storytelling is at the heart of climate communication- those stories that stay with you. As described by Sam Gamgee in the great saga of the 20th century, ‘Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. I know now folks in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.’ With a deft twist, Walton ensures that the ‘fourth wall’ is broken down and that we are passed the torch to carry on with telling these climate stories to support, educate and inspire others.
The trilogy is on several levels- one of which is the children’s story, powerful in its own right in introducing the key ideas of climate change and resistance to the status quo, with vibrant children friendly characters. On another level, like all good texts, we have the allegorical reading of the political and vested fossil fuel interest shenanigans, which has impeded, slowed and ensnarled humanity’s progress to a safer future. The characters of Thermo and his friends represent all the conscientious people willing to stand up and fight for the future of people, plants and animals on this planet. On the other hand, Carbo and his minions, obfuscate and propagate disinformation- more than a nod by Walton to those wanting to delay progress to a sustainable future.
‘World of Thermo: Grim Reaping’ brings us to the present and the choices which lie in front of us- the navigation that is necessary to land on a safer shore. Or as Walton, ‘The Climate Guy’ describes: ‘The real final chapter will not be written for many decades or even centuries to come, well after the 22nd century comes and goes. All of us, whether we like it or not, will be writing our own story in association with carbon pollution. We are responsible for our own actions and can’t blame insidious creatures for our fate. In the real world there is no willful molecule directing us to use more fossil fuels to pollute the planet. That future is upon us, right now to act wisely.’
As ‘Grim Reaping’ begins, our hero Thermo is hanging grimly onto life, which allows Walton to explore what might happen temporarily without someone monitoring and fighting for the planet. He cleverly allows his characters to explore the psychological and philosophical ‘distances’ that inhibit action. ‘“It is hard for us humans to think of the future beyond our own existence. Some think that they don’t need to care about issues such as climate change when they know they won’t be around to experience any hardship. Some don’t care about the welfare of their progeny. If we were all immortal, I think we would care more about the future environmental shape of this planet.”’ Real world events are allegorically retold by Walton and some are retold directly. The response to the global pandemic is dealt with early in the book and is bitterly reflected in the title of the book. Walton takes an aside to explore the rejection of science that was born in the pandemic by those who put self before society, as well as being unscrupulous and avaricious in their pursuit of short-term gain, while the world suffered.
‘It is interesting that the denial of science indicating that COVID-19 would be a major threat mirrors that of arguments that carbon pollution is not a big problem for our climate.’
Walton punctuates his book with cultural and literary references from Edgar Allan Poe to ‘The Princess and the Frog’, to ‘Wellmart’ and ‘President Tweet’, keeping his older readers engaged.
As with the first two books, he follows each chapter with a short summary of the historical details and real personalities involved, rooting the plot details in an understandable and relatable context. There are dark moments in ‘Grim Reaping’ of course, as Walton paints a picture of possible dystopian worlds- as a helpful hint for parents and carers, the chapter called ‘No Way Subway’ might not be a good bedtime story. ‘In the real world, it is only a matter of time before a category three hurricane or higher slams into New York City during the 21st century. With each passing year sea level rise will make this coming event that much worse.’
All of the topical climate issues are handled expertly by Walton, as he threads the connective tissue and the interconnected nature of these events. Shifting territories of mosquitoes, as well as viruses such as the Zika virus are explored fully; preservation of biodiversity is given the priority it deserves; beef demand and its environmental impact is given a full chapter and overpopulation and non-sustainable, capitalist lifestyles are discussed in depth. Walton never shies away from subjects which others may consider taboo.
Walton warns about the growing desperation of some geoengineering methods and techniques, drawing the valid conclusion that, ‘Just about anytime mankind tries to alter the environment by introducing or growing a species, there are unintended consequences.’
He adds that the priority has to be stopping emissions. ‘This is not to suggest that we depend on technology to reduce carbon pollution. We must stop emissions as soon as possible to let nature begin to decrease carbon, which may take thousands of years.’
As ‘Grim Reaping’ begins to conclude, Walton does well to change the language of science into language of the layperson. He changes the over-used and sometimes inaccurately used, ‘tipping points’, with a more accessible ‘climate dominoes’, highlighting that if one of the unexpected ‘climate dominoes’ were to fall- such as a permafrost methane release- stopping other dominoes from falling could prove to be too much.
All of our hands have been at the climate changing wheel, speeding up its momentum. All of our hands are also needed to slow down the runaway tyre. Walton emphasises how quickly regional instability and conflicts could lead to nuclear weapons being used by countries or organisations, exacerbating climate issues and leading to climate migration. He acknowledges his own concerns and fears over what a lack of regional and global stability could lead to. The lessons of the past cannot lead to a World War 3 or 4. Whether this be over agriculture, water resources, or near Earth space and communications, humanity must come to realise that we have one Earth and one chance. Our threat now is not the external space rock spinning lazily towards us through space, ready to be blasted by intrepid (American) engineers, but multiple internal threats, all of which need to be faced down.
Walton finally takes time to explore the emerging area of climate litigation and argues that responsibility is not too far away from being legally demonstrated, as the scientific facts are not in question. Whether the truth can be seen through the smoke-screens and greenwashing of the fossil-fuel industry remains to be seen, but there is hope that the past is catching up to large industries. ‘“This is my Nuremburg list of reasons why you should die, even though you can’t be killed…Thermo commenced his lecture. “Well, Carbo, here is the list of charges that I personally blame you for the decimation of humanity, not to mention most of the life on this planet.’”
Although I wrote at the start of this piece that all great sagas have an ending, Walton has given us the greatest gift a writer can give a reader. We can write the ending.
As his narrative runs until 2112, he obviously presents one fictitious world and timeline of how we navigate the ‘uncertain and warmer world’ ahead of us. But like all great explorers and adventurers, an undiscovered country now beckons us over the horizon. We cannot no longer stand still. We must set sail like Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’-
Come, my friends.
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
Here is more brand-new July 2023 climatology:
Here is more climate and news from Saturday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)