When the rains fail…

Drought victims: The fugitive elephant of the Limpopo, driven from our Herd Reserve at the end of another dry season

My dear meteorologists, take a quick squizz at the excerpt from the seasonal forecast published by one of your number at the South African Weather Service, which I have conveniently pasted below. Now ladies and gents, ask yourselves: Is this the best we can do? Is it? Really?

They call economics “the dismal science”. Well, I beg to differ. How can we be sitting here in the Year of Our Lord 2019 and all you can do is grimly predict drought, and let’s face it, with the kind of accuracy you’d expect from runestone-throwing peasants in the Dark Ages. It’s frankly pathetic.

Meteorologists, Modern-day Druids

How come we know about quantum mechanics, have mapped the human genome and yet you can’t even tell us if we’re going to get rain this year, let alone – and this is the important part – actually make the rain fall?

What precisely have you been doing since the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment? Bugger all, that’s what. While all the other sciences have been busy bestowing Marvel Comic super-powers on us over the last couple of centuries, when it comes to the weather and climate, thanks to you, we are in the 21st Century and still the equivalent of Big Ug-the-Caveman, standing there in his Paleolithic loincloth clutching a sharpened stick, gazing up at the sky and contemplating his hopeless impotence in the face of the implacable forces of nature. I, for one, am bitterly disappointed. And it comes down to a lack of ambition chaps.

You might hide behind the complexity of the earth’s climatic system and our capabilities for driving it, but that’s just an excuse for spineless, chinless gutlessness: Were the virologists and epidemiologists daunted by the spectacular odds against them when they set out to wipe the Pox from the face of the earth? Huh? Did NASA win the Space Race for the Yanky Doodles by hiring a bunch of lily-livered wimps who thought it would be impossible to get Lance and Buzz to the moon? Or did they rent themselves some lab coats who wanted to whip some Rusky arse and didn’t let impossible get in the way? 

You meanwhile, have sat around bleakly peering at your charts of ocean currents and whatnot and fiddling with your bizarrely inaccurate prediction models – how many bloody variables can there be for God’s sake? – and making exactly zero progress towards becoming the Masters of your Universe, while – and get the irony here – the rest of the species has proceeded to alter the planet’s atmospheric composition, the retention of thermal radiation and, yes, that’s right, it’s climate.

It is simply not good enough. Just look at this further excerpt from the SAWS forecast below. Do you think those colourful little smudges on a map are impressing anyone? Do me a favour.

It’s same story with those weather forecasts at the end of the news on TV – the weatherman stands there pointing at his map of squiggles all over the show and glibly spouts things like “high pressure system”. What does this mean to me? To anyone? Let me explain this nicely:

Does anybody actually read those little leaflets that come with our drugs? Okay, sometimes I unfold the onion-leaf origami and squint at the teeny weeny size 6 font to find the recommended dosage so I can double it, but I most assuredly skip the bit about the gram-negative gobbledygook – I just swallow my antibiotics and the Gonorrhea is gone. That’s what I need to know. But I digress… Back to your weather forecast: What the hell is the point of all that data? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? WHAT MUST I DO?

Oh that’s right, nothing. Because you can do nothing about the coming drought.

Prepare for the coming drought” is the best you’ve got. How exactly? Should I call my insurer and ask for authorization for my claim for artificial rain insemination?  No, there are no such options, not even ones available to only the rich, the injustice of which we could rail against and demand equal access to artificial rain insemination as a basic human right. But instead, by “prepare for the coming drought”, you just mean “Get ready to go to Egypt to plead with Pharaoh for some of his ears of corn. If necessary, threaten the stingy arsehole with a plague from your god.

Pharaoh will you spare us some corn?

It’s time to own your failure guys. Let’s just get real for a minute. You’re a flop.

Now, how to salvage what’s left of your pride, your dignity, your self-respect. I have some ideas…

First thing, you’ve got to stop being so damn repressed. You’re all about your data and your warnings, which you then proffer as “qualified”, with caveats, draad-sitting and bet-hedging. Dudes. You’ve got to swagger a little, throw in a bit of bragging and bullshit.

Take the computer geeks beavering away on Artificial Intelligence. They’ve got their high priest, Ray Kurzweil intoning “THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR”, which sounds über cool and everyone goes all goosey, when meanwhile back at the ranch, Siri is a total moron with the IQ of the average sea slug who irritates the living crap out of everyone. But no-one notices. The geeks just keep coding their arses off so that the brain-machine neural interface will be ready in time for Skynet’s big launch and everyone is holding their breath.

And Elon Musk meanwhile keeps working on his plan to colonize Mars, so that the biodome is up and running come The Evacuation. Is Elon’s ego bigger than his phallic-shaped Big Fucking Rocket? You betcha. But so what? We’re getting free self-driving electric cars out of his paranoid fantasies spawned from OD’ing on eighties sci-fi flicks as a teenager and the billionaire geek boys’ pissing contest.

My point is this: You need to grow yourself a pair of DDs and promise the world that we can control the planet’s climate. Coin some sexy scienc-y spin like “optimized biosphere”. Next thing you’ll get the billionaires behind you and meteorology will have its Hadron Collider, its Human Genome Project and things will happen! Soon, we will control the planet’s climate.

Guys, I hate to be downer at this point, but there is some urgency here. You need to develop a god complex and you need to develop it now. I know you work really, really hard on your Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change Convention reports. But, honestly? Don’t bother. People HATE doom-mongerers. You’re a total turn off. Everyone just wants to clamp their hands over their ears and start singing “Morning has broken” to drown you out. Plus, you’ve met our kind and you already know the ugly truth: Some people won’t think twice about smoking the planet if there’s a quick buck in it for them.

Renewables are nice and all, but any solution to the problem of the mother-bleeping bleep-up of the planet at the hands of our species that pits fear against greed, well, I hate to be the one to say it, but the smart money’s on evil. You can keep sounding your warnings and the fossil fuels will keep burning. So let’s just stay focused on the positives: You and I both know that we’d be in the grip of another bloody ice age by now if it weren’t for anthropogenic global warming, thank you very much, but by God are we heating up and we need mechanisms to regulate – above all – precipitation. I know I betray my Southern African bias when I say that, but water = life and so let’s keep priorities straight.

We cannot waste any more time on your doomsday prophecies at the IPCC, your tweezered lips at the Americans’ apostasy. The Big D did not take the Oval Office by force. Let’s just move on. The planet is reaching boiling point. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that Elon is working on the final solution to the “uninhabitable” scenario for the planet, but I have this vague unease about my chances of being one of the passengers aboard the BFR shuttle at the final countdown, so I am keen on a “Let’s take charge of this planet’s climate dammit” solution.

Ask yourself: Will you be aboard when Moonraker lifts off?

What I don’t want to see, is any more of this:

This, guys, has got to stop.