My iconic Anthropocene forest fire nightmare image had been those videos of people seeing fire all around the road as they drove frantically through smoke and shooting embers to escape. Like this one from Fort McMurray. One from Russia in which the truck in front was itself on fire stuck in mind.

(screengrab from linked video above)

I'm sensitive to entrapment, surroundedness, being engulfed by deadly threat. Similar images from California and Russian fire escapees resonate.

The Portugal forest fires jumped to the unimagniable - actually being swallowed and burned alive in your car, suffocating and frying alive.

The new images are all sanitized, all at-a-distance, all aftermath. In a sense death's triumph turns the experience inside-out. The observer is excluded, as if we were never trapped. This latest view superficially seems safer, but actually is more deeply threatening.

image source images 4,12, and 29

<sigh> It's like the difference between seeing myself reflected in  mirror with fire behind me, or looking into the mirror to see my charred and smoldering corpse.

This time our foreshadow is death, not near-death escape.

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We have a hand in determining whether the planet will be more or less hellish!

(Thanks for the poem, too!)

We have a hand in determining whether the planet will be more or less hellish!

We only have a hand in determining that in the short term (the next few thousand years or so). In the long run, unless we develop the technology to radically change planetary orbits, eventually the gradual warming of Sol will move the so-called  "Goldilocks Zone" further and further out, until Earth undergoes a similar sequence of changes as Venus did a while ago, except Earth's strong magnetic field will allow the planet to retain its water vapor, making Earth significantly hotter and the atmospheric density significantly greater than Venus'.

(So, it turns out that when the Sun goes Red Giant, all life will have been seared out of and off of the planet long before. Nothing will be lost to the Red Giant but a blob of molten metal and rock...)

(These are the kinds of things I think about when I feel down, and need to cheer myself up - I'm a little odd that way...)

Quite the nightmare. I am looking forward to the discussion that must ensue on the Morbid Mailing List® shortly - it should be quite grim.




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