Planetary Dermatology

Bruno Latour explains that the climate change upon us is beyond the senses of the public and that the globe does not represent the fragility of the space within which change will happen. I ponder this in light of my own experience.

Cellulose. When I look up from my computer I see my coffee table, the wood floor, a window frame, the deck outside and the trees beyond. All wood. Oxygen.

Weather. I love the morning light which comes at 4:30 in the summer. I commute in the light or dark, rain or shine, warm or cold, calm or windy. I check the doppler radar to time by departure dodging cloudbursts.

Ice storms, rock slides, erosion. Mount Hood. Columbia Gorge. Lava tubes and limestone caves. Mount St. Helen erupts before me. Years of ash afterwards.

Atmosphere. Air pressure. Storms. Tornados I have seen in person. Lightning. Hurricane alley. Ionosphere in layers by night and day. Solar cycles. Morse code heard over the pole. Total eclipse of the sun.

Poles. Tromso. Sailing the inner passage. Fjords. Antarctica. Climbing a retreating glacier. Meeting Norwegian explorers on their return trip after decades.

Ocean. Waves and beaches. Winter profile. Sneaker waves from the South Pacific. Water pressure. Thresher. Claustrophobic visit to Alvin. Glow from ocean vents. A pilot's story of being stuck at depth.

Image. Google maps. Street view. Earth rise over the moon. Pale blue dot. Cosmic background. Arno Penzias who I've met. Gravitational waves.

None of this makes sense to me without understanding the forces involved and the nature of dynamic systems. Without the calculus it would be mystery. String theory and multiple universes still mystify me. But the thin and fragile skin of our planet I have known first hand.