McAbee: The reverse global warming dance |

McAbee: The reverse global warming dance

Jeff McAbee

Earlier civilizations, native to the especially dry Southwestern United States, used to perform rain dances. The Utes or Pueblos choreographed particularly intricate steps set to the pentatonic rhythms of the high plains.

Men and women would get dressed up in special headdresses and clothing and use stones like turquoise, which for them carried hydrophilic significance.

Yet, my friend John reminded me last Sunday that the rain dance is undeniably effective because, simply enough, they don’t stop dancing until it rains.

While in undergraduate school, global climate change and global warming were just beginning to be discussed and debated with more frequency and interest. I bought into what my professors were saying, lock, stock and burning hot barrel.

I still believe what the scientists are saying. I believe the climate is trending hotter, that people are causing this change to some degree, and that the climate will continue to change in ways we can’t even predict.

I even rushed out a few years ago and bought a tiny, gas-sipping yet somewhat emasculating car.

In addition to learning about global climate change, I was taught to challenge the pervasive paradigm we humans hold – we figure science and technology will fix it. These same professors told me in not so many words to crawl under my desk, put my head between my legs and well, you know …

But why shouldn’t we expect a better result from our scientists? After all, we live in a (almost) polio-free and decidedly round world these days. Without scientists, would we be where we are today?

Instead of ignoring these guys at parties with their doomsday predictions of literal fire and brimstone, why aren’t we demanding they do something about it?

For 20-plus years now, they have been focusing on cutting carbon emissions, asking us to slow down and use less. I’ve even embraced the reduction rhetoric (see “How to live here on $10K per year”) – but who wants to do that? Not me.

I want more – more experiences, more relationships with people who don’t live near me and more space to do it in.

Even wise old King Solomon didn’t exactly rough it with 700 wives and a palace plated in gold. It seems to me that it is our nature to want to enjoy life. Perhaps it’s time for a new approach.

But with hundreds of homes destroyed by wildfires across the state from High Park to Waldo Canyon, climate scientists – or at least their spokespeople – want to point to the fires, floods, drought and record heat and scream: “See? I told you so!” In my mind, this is not exactly the scientific leap of the century.

Is it possible we have too many climate scientists and not enough “fix the problem” scientists? Hint: asking people to live in the dark and bike to work isn’t working.

This might also be taking valuable time away from more pertinent business.

I wish you scientists the best; it would seem that we’re all counting on you. I got some advice back in those early days and it grows more profound as each hot summer and dry winter passes – if you find yourself on thin ice, you might as well dance.

Keep dancing, my friends.

Jeff McAbee lives in Breckenridge. Contact him at or via Twitter @Jeff_McAbee.

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