BULLFROG MARINA, Utah, Oct. 8, 2018—Today marked the first time since May that I have worn long pants, a fact that I noted with a twinge of sadness as I pulled on my trousers before heading out of our comfortable room at the Defiance Lodge at Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area.
|Waking up on a cloudy day at Lake Powell|
Looking out from our balcony at the drenched landscape this morning, you’d never know that Lake Powell had dropped some 32 feet during the past year. A week’s worth of rain from Hurricane Rosa followed by a newly minted cold front had left the ruddy sandstone cliffs and dunes saturated to the point where the entire landscape was oozing clear fluid that reflected the gray light, substantially muting the scene and our mood. Temperatures this week were 20 degrees lower than previous weeks, necessitating another layer of warmth and full-length trousers.
It did not escape us that this new chill settling over the land coincided with the U.S. Senate’s decision to confirm Bret Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, clinching an ultra-conservative majority.
|A flash flood at Bullfrog Creek impeded our access to the back-|
Though temperatures likely will rise soon enough and winters will become a fading memory, according to a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s probably fair to say that the United States will continue to be a cold place for women. The bizarre gas lighting displayed during the Kavanaugh confirmation process—in which a graying horde of male senators were able to declare with straight faces that women had successfully victimized men as part of an ongoing war that is using allegations of sexual misconduct as its primary weapon—ensures that nearly any rape or sexual assault charge by a white man will be playfully dismissed as “boys being boys” and women being hysterical creatures with memories that falter during stressful situations.
|Snow in Utah's high country on Oct. 8 must prove that global|
warming is a hoax, right?
Maine Sen. Susan Collins confirmed her belief in just such a narrative while explaining her decision to support Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Oh well, the waters of shame will recede soon enough, I thought to myself as we sat on the banks of a swollen Bullfrog Creek, waiting to see whether we would be able to drive the scenic backcountry Burr Trail or be banished back to the main highway. The water won out this time.
Earlier we had driven through the southeast corner of Utah, skirting tribal lands that are peppered with archaeological sites and geologic wonders. A small herd of wild painted ponies joined us at one point, even as natural gas derricks dotting the landscape continued to bob up and down, like hungry locusts feeding on a fragile ecosystem.
|Fracking: Out of sight, out of mind; and necessary to|
Make America Great Again
If you doubt the hold that Big Energy has on this country, you need only to visit this area. New natural gas leases have led to a new era of wildcatting. Fracking will ensure that every drop of natural gas will be extracted from beneath the Earth, regardless of the consequences. Gas lines are draped across the landscape like poisonous vines. Energy companies gain access to fracking areas via the main roads, but they set up shop behind bluffs or natural contours so as not to alarm the people who live here. Behind one hill, we saw a fracking operation that spread as far as the eye could see. Waste water tanks and pumps dotted the landscape nearly to the horizon.
It’s no wonder humanity will see increasingly lethal temperatures across the planet by 2040: Our addiction to fossil fuels is more powerful than our common sense. Moreover, with guys like Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, corporations will continue to call the shots, and more and more wealth will continue to be concentrated into the hands of the already wealthy. Education and social programs will continue to dry up. The United States will be headed toward a new version of the Dark Ages that ravaged Europe, and nationalism and superstition will rule the day.
|Wild horses couldn't drag me away|
It’s only a matter of time until people like Sens. Collins and McConnell will team up to declare that witches are responsible for the climatic calamities befalling our species and ritual burnings and public executions of all types will entertain the masses as lengthening brownouts and blackouts render our televisions, cell phones and other electronics largely useless.
But we’ll worry about that road when we get to it.
Meantime, we will continue our travels west and join the ranks of the rest of the world who will continue to run full speed ahead until the wheels fall off.
See you on down the road!