Maybe you are like me, and your brain works in an odd fashion, making strange connections with news stories, pop culture, and random ideas that get stuck in your head. That happened to me yesterday. It started when I got absolutely giddy over the news that X-Files is returning to Fox TV for six special episodes. (hat tip to @hermitary ✝ Contemplative mystic fumbling toward Jesus & St. Francis / semi-retired poet / urban hermit / sinner & saint… ✝ #LGBTQ)
Fox announced Tuesday that “The X-Files,” the series about the paranormal that ran for nine seasons in the ’90s and early ’00s, is returning for a special six-episode “event.” Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are both back to play Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, those FBI agents who always got a little too close to the truth.
I completely missed the first five season of The X-Files because I had been adducted by gay reparative therapists who tried a variety of methods to de-gay me, including a sustained abstinence from all secular pop culture, including The X-Files (They deemed it too New Age and Scientific, and that it would interfere with my recovery.) Soon after I emerged from the mother ship, (Homo No Mo Halfway House) I began watching DVDs of the series until I caught up. All the conspiracy theories, the other worldly situations, and the sexual tension totally reminded me of my years trying to go straight for Jesus.
Two weeks ago on a long winter hike I was talking about the X-Files with Peter Buckland. ( @pdbuckland over at Twitter: Works for beauty w/ PhD from Penn State. #Sustainability #ecoliteracy #scicomm#education & #poetry. Tweets my own.) As we trudged through the forest snow, we both gushed over the series as we shared our feelings about the main characters. After all these years he still drools over Scully. As a gay guy, it took me years to figure out that people who are attracted to women found Scully to be really hot in some weird librarian sort of way. Her charms were lost on me though, eclipsed by Mulder in his FBI suit and tie and that flopped open overcoat, rawr!
Anyway, I was thrilled to hear about the mini reboot of the sci-fi series.
Completely unrelated anywhere except in my own mind was a news story out of China I heard about from Prescott Allen Hazleton, my source for hundreds of climate-related stories every week. According to Aljazeera America, Zheng Guoguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, is sounding the alarm about climate change.
As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” Zheng said. China is the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, which cause climate change. Beijing has said it aims for those emissions to peak “around 2030.” Temperature increases in China over the past century have been more extreme than global averages, Zheng added.
He described climate change as a “serious threat” to several Chinese mega-projects including the vast Three Gorges Dam, a railway connecting Tibet with northwest China, and a huge scheme to divert water from the country’s south to its dry north.
Zheng concludes that China must embark on a “low-carbon development path.” Seems they are already on that path producing more solar panels than anyone else in the world and shutting down coal burning plants in Beijing and converting them to cleaner natural gas, in large part because of the horrific pollution plaguing the city. As a country, China produces loads of carbon pollution, but per capita they actually produce much less than the average American.
My cousin, Marin Toscano, recently returned from a year in China on a Fulbright Scholarship. She remarked that she encountered no climate deniers in China. The taxi driver, the high level government official, the farmer, and the mother who is hesitate to take her child out into public because of extreme pollution, all feel concerned about the reality of climate change. No mystery, no conspiracy, no doubt
Here in the USA though, for some, climate change is still mythical like Big Foot or Mulder’s UFOs. Even those of us who are convinced that we are in hot water, the reality of climate change can still feel fictional. Those sounding the alarm about the reality of the climate criss are perceived as over-zealous frightened dreamers forced to convince the skeptical. It is like we are living in an X-Files episode with the roles reversed: The science-based, rationally minded Agent Scully has to convince magical thinking Mulder of the real danger in the skies. He needs to see it for himself; data is not enough.
But the Truth is Out There. There is a threat in the sky, on the ground, and underground. Scientists write about it in the journals. It’s in the news. It is discussed at the World Bank, by insurance adjustors, economists, and the military. It is being highlighted by officials in China. It’s not as sexy as Mulder’s UFOs, swamp beasts, or Chinga, the murderous antique china doll from Season 5 Ep 10. Creepy! It’s not even that mysterious. It is as mundane as pollution. In fact, it is pollution. No mystery.