Part of the effect, if not the intent, of climate alarmism has been to make people nervous wrecks. Including particularly, it seems, alarmists themselves. But as the old saying has it, people need to put their money where their mouths are. And retailers are hailing the return of summer in the northern hemisphere not with cries of anguish, offers of chilly cellars or vacation packages to cold countries. Instead we’re sent emails saying to “Get your grill on 🔥” (Canadian Tire) and “Sizzle up with a hot promo inside 🔥⛱️” (Walmart). Even woke corporations can’t help but notice that hot weather is good.
Canadian Tire also offers a corny “HOT SALE Find great deals on BBQs, smokers and outdoor cooking must-haves” while Walmart goes “HOT promos are here”. So originality is not their strong suit. But you can’t rely on schmaltzy themes unless people like schmaltz.
Maybe not everyone does. In case you’re not Jewish, we should mention that technically “schmaltz” is rendered chicken or goose fat, “an integral part” of such Ashkenazi gourmet classics as chopped liver (as in “What am I, chopped liver?”), not to mention matzah balls and, of all things, chicken soup. But we digress. The point is that nearly everyone likes summer.
Even the New York Times, reliable home of climate doom, lets the sun out of the bag with “Good morning. It’s Memorial Day Weekend, signaling the start of summer, ready or not.” And you may be thinking yes, well, the newspaper could announce the start of the apocalypse “ready or not” without implying and about time, too. But this piece by Melissa Kirsch, in “The Morning”, describes the author’s mental calendar thusly:
“The year is laid out as a grid: three rows, four months to a row. I picture each row as seasons elapsing: The top row starts mostly cold and dreary with January, but by the end of the row, in April, it’s milder and brighter and there’s this feeling of almost arriving into the second row, where things open up. May through August is the marrow of the year, when daylight is at its maximum, when things feel a little looser and more possible. The middle row is, for summer partisans, really the only row worth languishing in.”
So whether you’re ready or not, and horrified that another year has whizzed by, “Beaches open up, mattresses are on sale, you can smell someone grilling.” And there’s also the “summer movie schedule” apparently. And “a bunch of selections for your beach- or park- or couch-reading pleasure: Try a thriller, a romance, perhaps an audiobook?”
Again, originality seems lacking. But yes, it’s summer and the living is easy. Not hard. Heat is not killing us.
Instead, her colleague Joshua Needelman asks:
“Been craving a day in the park? A visit to an outdoor market? A minor-league baseball game with gloriously over-the-top promotions? You’re in luck. Summer is just around the corner, and we’re here to help you navigate all the city has to offer – with some help from expert New Yorkers.”
Sure enough, a week later “The Morning” and Kirsch were back at it, with “A moment in the sun” because:
“Setting intentions for summer is the low-stress, seasonal version of a New Year’s resolution. Summer is, or so we imagine, a blank canvas for aspiration. Unlike its punishing correlative (see: ‘the winter of our discontent’), summer contains the causes and conditions for living footloose and frivolously.”
Mind you winter has its perks, too. As it had better if you live in, say, Canada. Or Wisconsin. Or Norway. For people whose taste runs to corny, Stompin’ Tom Connors in “A Real Canadian Girl“ sang “She loves the way it feels, driving snowmobiles, and laughing at her dates, when they don’t know how to skate”, and skis, curls and dances to the Northern Lights. And one should make the best of whatever life sends along. But of course people have been craving a day in the park and everybody knows it. As Connors’ “Acadian lady” also loved canoeing.
There is a group huddled indoors by the air conditioner refusing to smell the roses. The Washington Post recently sobbed about “Why climate ‘doomers’ are replacing climate ‘deniers’/ How U.N. reports and confusing headlines created a generation of people who believe climate change can’t be stopped”, illustrated by a cartoon flame, a skull and the Earth, the last mysteriously intact. And then there’s the Heatmap editor complaining that “blaming the climate crisis on individual consumer choices is a favorite smokescreen of large corporations and fossil fuel companies” before confessing that attempting to buy a sustainable litter bag left her a nervous wreck, which one suspects might be her natural condition.
Some people are genuinely addicted to misery and victimization. In Mercatornet Karl De Stephan writes of attending an American Geophysical Union meeting and being enormously impressed by the expertise. But, he said, their magazine EOS seems to be a dismal compendium of wokeness. He explains that:
“A good case in point is the article in the May 2023 issue of EOS with the title “The Mental Toll of Climate Change.” A notice at the head of the article reads, “Content Warning: This article discusses suicide and potential risk factors of suicide.” The author, Katherine Kornei, a science writer, interviewed mental-health providers and an ‘environmental psychologist’ to explore the stresses brought on by both acute weather events (such as floods, tornadoes, and wildfires) and chronic issues (such as droughts and heat waves). And all these things are directly linked by the author to climate change.”
He explains at some length how the actual scientific citations “reinforce the notion that basically, anything that happens weather-wise that we don’t like is due to climate change” until you dig down into the details of, say, their modeling. But the science seems somewhat beside the point:
“The rest of Kornei’s mental-health piece describes how ‘angry, baffled, and horrified’ many people are when they hear that (a) climate change is soon going to bring civilization to a horrible end as we bake, freeze, drown, and/or blow away, and (b) there’s nothing we can do about it, or if we do we’ll have to go back to subsistence farming with mules and give up electricity and driving. Well, if I really believed both of those statements, I’d be angry, baffled, and horrified too. Unfortunately, as [Unsettled author Steven] Koonin points out in his book, climate scientists have joined forces with government leaders, commercial interests, and science journalists to paint this dismal picture, which Koonin, as an insider, says is highly distorted, to say the least.”
Stephan says therefore that:
“The members of the AGU who have encouraged this sort of thing bear the most responsibility for average citizens who are depressed because of climate change. Causing the problem, and then hiring a science writer to write about the problem, is the height of something – hypocrisy, irony, stupidity, take your choice.”
Which is fair enough. But surely one of the things it’s the height of is enjoying feeling sorry for yourself to a pathological extent.
The Washington Post story goes on and on about people convinced the extinction of humanity is imminent, and warning that “according to a study by researchers at Yale and Colorado State universities, ‘many Americans who accept that global warming is happening cannot express specific reasons to be hopeful.’” But they can, if they want. They can go, hey, it’s spring, lets grab a frisbee and hit the park. As so many do, after telling pollsters they regard rising temperatures as worse than the worst thing ever.
Thus, again, Walmart tempts us, or tries to, with “It’s getting hot in here with our Sizzling Summer prices 🌞”. And you just can’t sell things with sizzle if people regard it as Gabriel tuning his horn.