Texas Today… things are weird.

A few weeks ago I stocked up on some basics. A bigger bag of rice, a large bag of dry beans, a few boxes of pasta. Nothing dramatic, but enough that I felt we we would be okay if a hurricane blew through, or an earthquake, or maybe even a few weeks of quarantine. The only thing missing from the shelves that day were ramen noodles, and a toilet paper was getting low (so I grabbed one of those just in case too.)

Today I went in for a couple of potatoes and soda. Normal weekly stuff. I was a little shocked by just how many shelves were bare.

Now, some of this is a good thing. Everyone should have at least a weeks worth of food in their pantry (non-perishables) just in case. I’ve made it a point to do so ever since living in North Dakota twenty years ago. We had a blizzard that knocked out the power for the entire state and no water. My baby was on formula at the time and we had no water to make her formula. No food that didn’t need to be cooked, and no way to heat the apartment since everything was electric. I learned very quickly that it’s just good practice to have a few gallons of water, and some non-perishables on hand in case something happened.

But this is something that’s supposed to be done over time, not everyone rushing on the stores at once, so I’m not surprised that the stores are being stripped. It’s as if everyone was told there’s going to be a really bad hurricane next week so be prepared, and they did. The trouble is they all did it at once, and a few opportunistic people exacerbated the issue buy buying ALL of a few key things…so it’s looking a little barren at the moment.

This will pass. In a week or two supply chains will catch up, and people will already have their two week pantry, so we can all get back to a….normal…existence. As normal as you can get with social distancing, at least.

I’ve been venturing out a little here and there to pick up something at the drive through, or just grab something at the store, but seeing the shelves bare like that was a bit surreal. I’m one of those people with compromised immune systems. I have asthma, and a few bad allergies, and have had complication in the last few years that landed me in the hospital on a neutralizer because I couldn’t breath. I’m susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis already, so this thing… ya, I’m a little worried if I get it. Gregg, my SO, is worried about me, too. He has steadfastly refused to leave the house for the last week because he absolutely does not want to risk me getting sick.

So we stay home. It isn’t much different from normal, we all work from home, but it feels different somehow. I admit part of me had a morbid curiosity to see if the news about stores was right, but also I sometimes just like to go have a meal at a restaurant, or window shop, and I really can’t right now.

I’m not the only one. There are millions of people across the world right now just waiting to see what happens. I saw a picture of a woman telling her granddad about her engagement through a window because she didn’t want to make him sick. I’m sure most of us saw the balcony concerts going on in Italy. People all over the world, in every country, are hunkering down until doctors can find a solution, or the virus burns itself out.

This could be a moment for us all to come together over a common foe, like in the movie where aliens attack and we all band together to fight for humanity. Sometimes I wish life was as neat and orderly as a movie with a definitive beginning, middle and happy ending.

On the plus side, they were stocking the shelves with toilet paper as I was leaving the store today. I’m certain the shelves will be restocked in a week or two as well with most items. This isn’t the end of the world, just a really big bump in the road. We’ll make it through, it’s just going to be rough for a little while.

Till then, hang in there.

5min – Climate Change?

Someone in my feed said something about Al Gore using climate change as an excuse to make money. Climate change, they said, can’t be impacted by people. And this is a common thing I see among conservatives. Many of them don’t deny that the climate is changing, rather they say that humans aren’t effecting it.

I was reminded of an Ecosphere. Have you ever seen them? It’s a completely sealed environment with brine shrimp, a plant, some water, and a bit of air. That’s it. And the terrarium can live for a few years locked in it’s perpetual cycle.

The literature about a Ecosphere usually says it’s a completely balanced environment. It isn’t, of course. It’s more of a seesaw that rocks back and forth between the plants and the brine shrimp. The plants produce oxygen, which causes the brine shrimp to reproduce more. They then eat the plants, which causes the plants to make less oxygen. Then the brine shrimp start to die off, and the cycle starts over again.

Well, earth is a much larger, much more complex terrarium. We have nothing (save small meteorites) coming into our atmosphere to add to the oxygen that is already here. We have nothing adding to the land we use, or the water we drink. What we have is all we have, and nothing is going to change that unless some scientist finds a way to bring a comet to earth. I wouldn’t recommend that, really, the last one didn’t do very well for the dinosaurs.

Anyway, here we are on our littler terrarium, eating, sleeping, breathing, and drinking water. And we bred and bred until we over populated the plants. Now the plants are dying back, and the o2 we desperately need isn’t as plentiful as it use to be. And there are other things in there, like methane, co2, and radical particles. And we’re starting to die off from cancer, asthma, and other ailments caused by pollution.

I don’t care if climate change, itself, can be averted or changed. What I see as the problem is the air quality slowly suffocating us, just like lead poisoning from leaded gas back in the 70’s slowly poisoned everyone. They got rid of leaded gas and the new generation had fewer health problems.

BUT, my friend on twitter did have a valid point. Al Gore does make money off climate change. And individuals have less impact then huge corporations producing millions of whats-its and spewing toxic fumes into the air. Or countries clear cutting forests.

We are those little brine shrimp, and our plant keeping us alive is getting cut back. Eventually it won’t be able to support us all, and the brine shrimp will die off. Then the plant will regrow. One way or another.

And that’s more than my five.