My wife brought up in conversation last night that she had recently heard about the retreating glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. She went on to say that the glaciers had already lost 80% of their mass. I had read about this problem several times previously and added that most climate experts expect the glaciers to be gone in as little as another 10 years. Although this is a worldwide problem, the disappearance of the glaciers on this African mountain holds a special significance to those of us who have read Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro.
Ernest Hemingway is considered by many to be America's greatest novelist. (Although I prefer the "adventure" writers like Twain, London and Melville) Despite being a homophobic narcissist who suffered from severe depression, Papa did alright. The story in question, like all his stories, was incredibly visual and terribly sad. Probably because of the aforementioned depression, the man was seemingly incapable of writing a happy ending. However, the main character's vision of the snow capped mountain is very powerful, which makes the disappearance of that snow all the more criminal. There are several culprits in this crime but the ringleader is global warming.
Global warming. It all seems to come back to that. My wife asked what we, meaning the world, were doing or could be doing about it and what we, meaning her and I, could or should be doing about it. The world is another blog by someone far wiser than me. Personally, though, we found we're doing very little. The home we own now is the last one we'll ever heat with fossil fuels and that will be great...someday. We traded our gas guzzler for something far more economic...but that decision was made with our bank account, not the environment, in mind.
Recycling! That's the answer! Just separate glass, plastic and paper and put them out on the curb or take them to your local drop-off point. I'm smarter than a 5th grader. I remember photosynthesis. Recycle paper and save a tree so that tree can turn CO2, the Godfather of global warming, into oxygen. Almost no inconvenience to our everyday lives. It's easy! Oh yeah, we don't do it. I'm not even aware of a recycling program in effect in our town. An impromptu poll within the office found only about half of us have a recycling program where we live and take advantage of it.
I feel like a jackass...and I should. There is really no good excuse for not doing my part. However, with the thought of "better late than never", Jill and I have thrown our last recyclable into the garbage. Everybody has to start somewhere. It's a shame that all of us haven't started in time to save the snows of Kilimanjaro. From all I've read, even if we turned a total 180 today in our efforts to be green, it will get far worse before it gets better. I doubt even Hemingway could have written a sadder story.