Yesterday I wrote about heat – specifically, when there’s too much of it. As Greg, a friend and regular reader, pointed out, “too much” is relative.
I am reminded of the time when I happened to be outside a university residence in Vancouver on a beautiful, warm, sunny day in June. As often happens at universities, the residence housed attendees of summer conferences.
There was a group of people from somewhere in Africa who had disembarked from a bus and were waiting to check in. I don’t know for certain that they were Africans, but I assumed as much because they were wearing traditional African clothing – and big winter parkas. Because Canada is cold. Even in June.
Humans are a highly adaptable species. We acclimatize to a wide variety of altitudes and temperatures. Once our baseline is set, however, adaptation to other environments, while possible, is difficult. On top of that is individual variation around preference: some like it hot …
The human capacity to adapt will be tested in the coming decades. There will certainly be the question of physical adaptation as the climate crisis escalates. As or more interesting to me is the question of psychological and spiritual adaptation.
Whether it is the myriad losses summarized by eco grief, displacement of coastal populations to sea level rise, or the social breakdown of a swiftly changing economy, when, notwithstanding good words to the contrary, there appears to be little political will to address current economic inequality.
“Too much” is relative, but everyone gets there eventually. How we tend to ourselves and to our fellow humans when that happens may or may not affect whether we survive as a species; it certainly will affect the quality of our survival.
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