The Flooding Room Scenario

A new projection suggests that if carbon emissions continue unabated, massive ice melt and expanding oceans will threaten coastal communities on a global scale.  I’ve you’ve been paying attention to this, the advent of a new  prediction that there is a huge climate calamity on the way is something that could have totally been predicted.

The relentlessly regular release of dire news into our environment makes me think of that Hollywood movie scenario where the heroes are trapped in a sealed room that is slowly but inexorably filling with water.

When I mentioned this to Trail Baboon’s resident poet, the relentlessly rhyming but terrifyingly simplistic Tyler Schuyler Wyler, he immediately retreated to his frosty garret. Within hours he had calved off a chunk of doggerel so massive, it could support its own family of penguins.

The doorway clicked shut. There was no pathway out
For the windowless chamber was small.
With a single intrusion. A lone data spout
trickled estimates out of the wall.

Global temperature readings dripped into the room,
Dire missives of gases and soot.
As more studies leaked out of this pipeline of doom
I began to think we were kaput.

There was rapid decay in a glacial ice sheet.
caused by currents a fraction too warm.
As the science gushed in I was swept off my feet,
treading data in silent alarm.

As I floated and flailed in this wave of research
it rose quickly with every new proof.
Not a foothold or ledge. Not a grab bar or perch.
Just my head, and hot air, and the roof.

How I prayed for a hatch or a door or a drain.
A release valve to lessen the flood
of alarming insights swirling around in my brain
of a someday submerged neighborhood.

So the moral is “think harder while you can choose
to do things that will lessen the tide.”
Don’t get trapped in a room filling up with bad news
That you wish that you were not stuck inside.

How do you manage your intake of discouraging news?

67 thoughts on “The Flooding Room Scenario”

  1. I have been known to reduce my carbon footprint by using the off-switch.

    Then there is the day-to-day effort to stay afloat, which can effectively distract one from the big picture threats.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Bad news seems to be everywhere. I haven’t really thought of it as “managing” my intake of disturbing news, but effectively that’s probably what it is. I balance my intake of bad news by deliberately seeking out good news, too.

    In general, I don’t dwell on things I can nothing about, and I try to make a positive difference in my own small ways. Just yesterday, my Wednesday with Ken, we ate lunch at Abi’s Cafe on Lake Street. I had read the story on Facebook of how Abi, the cafe’s owner, and how she had offered a part-time job to a homeless man when he approached her for a hand-out. She had also set up a Gofundme page with the goal of raising $1,000.00 to help get Marcus a roof over his head. Last I checked it had raised $7,072.00. I wanted to see and support this remarkable young woman, and I’m encouraged by the fact I’m obviously not alone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I saw that article and thoughtnit was wonderful of her to give him a chance.
      I watch cbs Sunday morning every Sunday for my fix of good vibe input.
      I do Ted and on being as often as I can. tomorrow I am taking my daughter to Beloit college to check it out and hope to have 10 or so hours of downloads to play back while we drive. (she picked Beloit because it will allow a double major with musical eater as one of the majors) I asked what the second major will be and she doesn’t know
      I have brain pickings on my Sunday upload email list and in general I have enough positive based input it keep me covered
      I come to the trail baboon to get contact with good souls and have gotten really good at burying my head in the sand
      yesterday the conversation at one of the circles I was standing swung to Donald Ted and Bernie and I simply left. it was real easy
      the world is looking to us for leadership and they are looking at a freak show and the carnival barkers want us to hurry hurry step right this way
      see the man on the stage. he walks he talks he wriggles on his belly like a reptile…. vote for our candidate to make the world a more interesting topic on the nightly news

      thanks for the poem

      before the water gets too high go faint an implement to punch a hole in the ceiling with so you can go to the next level
      the Martian wasn’t a comedy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Am I the only person who didn’t know about brainpickings? I ask that because you mention it as a sort of throwaway line. I only just stumbled across the site and I think it’s fabulous.
        If any of you haven’t discovered it, check out brainpickings.org

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        1. Contrary to what PJ mentions below, you are not the only one. I never had heard of it either. ( But will check it out now. )

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  3. How do I manage the intake of unwelcome news? Mostly, I don’t. When I can manage it, I do so by distracting myself (books, music, taking long hikes in Memory, etc.). The most effective distraction is usually my computer. As Samuel Johnson noted, “A man who is tired of the internet is tired of life.”

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I stopped listening to the radio (especially the news) after I retired from the job where I had to listen to two stations at the same time with news being the loudest. But this past week I have been keeping a radio diary for Nielson/Arbitron so I listened to as many public radio stations as I could in one week…sometimes it had to be news (I must admit I enjoyed hearing Cathy Wurzer again and Mark Seeley and Paul Huttner in spite of the weather forecasts and reality this week). But I realized how much I enjoyed the classical music…so will be listening more often. A good antidote to news.

    But I do pick and choose news and editorials off the NYTimes and New Yorker when I need a cynical fix of glee at the Republican political circus.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m glad you can feel glee at the GOP political circus. I did for a long time, then began to worry I was enjoying the agony of a dysfunctional family deep in the process of dissolution. I saw something this week that perfectly captured that exactly:

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Once you eliminate the opinions, the speculations from probably unqualified speculators and items of local concern from distant localities, there isn’t really that much actual news. Just noise.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What I have noticed, Bill, when I have been away from the news is how repetitive it is. Something happens that becomes identified as news. The next day, we know a tiny bit more about it. The next day is the same. Day by day, stories slowly evolve. Then when they are finally done the news goes into analysis mode, talking endlessly about what the event means and whether it will happen again. Because this is the nature of “the news” we take it for granted. What we know as News is a tower of babel built on a few small events.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I have been told I dwell too much on the bad things that are happening in the world. I don’t think this is true. The only way I know to deal with these things is to be aware of them and be an informed person. When you make an effort to become informed you find out there are some remarkable people who trying hard to right the wrongs and that makes it easier to manage the intake of bad news.

    I don’t agree with those who say there is too much focus on bad news and there should be a greater focus on good news. I do agree that we should not let the bad news keep us from enjoying life and having a positive attitude. At times it is hard to maintain a good attitude with all the bad things that are happening. I do believe it is possible to find a way to have a good life without ignoring the world’s problems.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I suggest the focus is more on the “wrong” news. We’re bombarded with news from the other side of the world, the other side of the country, or the other side of the state when we should be most concerned with news from all sides of our community. What’s happens within 10 miles of us is far more likely to directly affect us that a terrorist blowing himself up in the Middle East. As the saying goes, “All politics is local,” I think we could make a case that “The majority of news SHOULD be local.”

      Chris in O-town

      Liked by 4 people

  7. I agree with Jim that we need to know what’s happening, but I don’t believe it’s useful for me to know about every catastrophe, small or large, that’s happening around the globe, every day of the week. It’s too much. So I do try to manage how much negativity I consume. It’s hard to wean myself, though, if I’ve heard it for several days straight – there is something in the human mind (mine anyway) that is just curious as hell about all the disasters.

    I’ve been trying to listen to “Let the Great World Spin” (for our Baboon Book Club on 4/17) whenever I’m in the car, instead of the news station, but I rarely turn off the news! Of course, it starts with people being mesmerized by a potential disaster.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, we need to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world, nationally and locally. Unfortunately, you can’t trust mass media to keep you informed. If I relied solely on the information I get from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, there would be huge (or is that Yuge?) gaps in what I know. And I’m not suggesting that there isn’t, anyway. Sigh.

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  8. I haven’t listened/watched “news” programs for years…too much sensationalism…very little actual noteworthy news. I consider them “entertainment news”. If I want my news fix I listen to MPR, PBS…BBC world news or read some articles on line. But mostly I don’t do any of that. I do my best to live simply with the least impact on the environment. I am actively involved in various environmental causes but only through written letters and signed petitions. I have a great passion for wolves…scientific evidence of the trickle down negative affect of their massacre. Positive…in reverse…recently released report as to the effects on the entire Yellowstone Park area since their reintroduction about 6 years ago. Check it out…it is amazing…even the Snake river made course changes.

    So after all that….I manage my intake of discouraging news by:
    1.)Not listening=avoidance, 2.)Believing in the good of humanity,3.)surrounding myself with nature, with loved ones and with good friends.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I avoid mainstream/commercial news media other than MPR/NPR (does that even qualify as mainstream?). I also keep in mind that events are rarely as bad as the worst-case scenario says, and they are rarely as good as the best-case scenario says. 99.9999999999999% of the time, life goes on for 99.99999999% of the people (fewer 9s here on purpose because 1 catastrophe usually affects an exponential number of people).

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. All new companies moving into town are going to employ vast numbers of people, a number never approached in reality. Two Harbors sold their soul, if they had one, to Lousianna Pacific for a new plant, which was going to employ 500-600 people. It never got near that number and its employees did then ,if not now, qualify for food stamps. A new small restaurant a block away from us the City Idiots, I.E., The Elected, said it would employ 110 people. Maybe they were each going to work three hours.

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  10. My hard news to face is about our finances. I have control of the identity threat as near as I know. The issue I am facing down is Sandra. She has for 50 years kept our checkbook, managed our finances, very well, too.Such a task is not my strength. For the last two years I knew she was getting confused but she got upset when I tried to help, interfere was her word. Opening a new checking account gave her and me a chance to zero out a checkbook I knew was in a mess. Yesterday I visited the bank and then came home to talk to her. In our old checkbook,allowing for three checks I can identify which have yet to clear, is about $2500. The bank employee who helped me said they call that “Old Woman’s Hedge Fund.” Old men, he said, just overdraft their accounts.
    Now her trick will be to admit in a conversation with someone else in front of me, such as one of our kids, she will own up to what she refuses to admit to me.

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  11. Like MiG, I reach for the off button. Or I indulge in one of my “comfort” shows/movies. Or computer solitaire. Or when I really need it, I retreat to my studio with its glue and glitter!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I listen to Gregorian chant at work,(“I Sing the Birth” by New York Polyphany, even though it is Christmas music), or Trio Medieval, as the Norwegian harmonies remind me of the music from my childhood church. I don’the listen to the news on the radio or television. I read our local paper in the morning and scan Yahoo news during the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a list of albums in iTunes that I lay on thr random feature. Two Paul Winter albums, Gregorian chant, two Navaho flute albums, and one ocean sounds with music.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Here’s a paragraph from the article linked above:
    “Under the high emissions scenario, the 22nd century would be the century of hell,” Strauss said. “There would really be an unthinkable level of sea rise. It would erase many major cities and some nations from the map … That century would become the century of exodus from the coast.”

    A rhetorical question for the day: We won’t be here, but in your mind, what coastal cities MUST somehow be saved?

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      1. It won’t be possible to save the cities. But what buildings or landmarks might be relocated before the flooding? Somebody better start making a list and raising some funds soon.

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  14. OK, I have to say that even I am ready for spring. I don’t recall seeing ANYTHING about snow in the forecast. The forecast that I just looked at this morning when I got up!

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  15. Sing along..
    A Day In The Life
    By The Beatles
    I read the news today oh boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh
    I saw the photograph.
    He blew his mind out in a car
    He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
    A crowd of people stood and stared
    They’d seen his face before
    Nobody was really sure
    If he was from the House of Lords.
    I saw a film today oh boy
    The English army had just won the war
    A crowd of people turned away
    But I just had to look
    Having read the book
    I’d love to turn you on.
    Woke up, fell out of bed,
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
    And looking up I noticed I was late.
    Found my coat and grabbed my hat
    Made the bus in seconds flat
    Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
    Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.
    I read the news today oh boy
    Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
    And though the holes were rather small
    They had to count them all
    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
    I’d love to turn you on
    Songwriters: JOHN LENNON, JOHN WINSTON LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES MCCARTNEY

    Liked by 2 people

  16. This week’s antidote: spend part of the day talking about music with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Other good options: do some art with kindergartners, draw with sidewalk chalk with anyone (especially those under the age of about 10). Blow bubbles. Write a letter to your congresscritter when it seems in order. Take what is reported with a grain (or shaker) of salt. And repeat options 1, 2 and 3 as needed. Kids are great – they are enthusiastic and creative and have lots of good stuff to share if you take the time to listen.

    Liked by 2 people

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