By Michael Solomowitz
It was a little before three in the morning when I found myself awake. Perfect timing. I was hardly upset that my restful night of sleep was interrupted.
I found my way out to my deck and laid flat on my lounge chair, face up. The cloudless sky opened a window of space glowing with stars and, once my eyes were acclimated, I looked forward to the road show. Come on Perseid, come to me. I didn’t have to wait long.
A blaze of white streaked across the heavens disappearing as quickly as it appeared. A moment later, another shooting star surged by leaving a shimmering line of light in its wake. Every two minutes or so I was entertained by this light show, showering meteors along aimless paths above a New England skyline. It was really cool.
A little research found that the origin of the meteor shower is the dusty debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was recorded as far back as 69 BC. The comet was officially discovered in 1862 and sighted again in 1992. It will fly within 14.2 million miles of the Earth on August 5, 2126.
After about an hour of stargazing I went back to bed and awoke a little after seven still smirking from the nocturnal extravaganza. I poured a cup of coffee and grabbed the morning paper.
The prominent stories and letters to the editor brought me down. They focused on the “Climate Change” reports released this week and where we were heading. The facts were alarming, making it clear we had missed our opportunity to curb global warming. Climate alerts had been raised by many including Bill McKibben in his 1989 book, The End of Nature, and later by Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.
But shortsighted world leaders refused to heed their warnings, thinking there was plenty of time. Trump pulled America out of the Paris Agreements, surrendering to the fossil fuel industries, setting this country back to the Stone Age. Where was leadership and courage when we needed it most? Now our planet was paying the toll.
The recent daily reminders of how humanity had damaged our atmosphere with greenhouse gas emissions and the consequences of our apathy have wreaked havoc on our future. Rising sea levels, Arctic meltdowns, unseasonable storms and extreme weather patterns, record heat waves, raging wildfires, droughts, and flooding. The checklist is blatant and endless.
We are at our cosmic crossroads. Our time has run out on procrastinating any further. The Climate Change critics can no longer object to the science if we are to save our planet. Each of us must act by urging our Congressional representatives to intervene, supporting renewable energy initiatives, and taking the necessary steps to limit our carbon footprints. Now. Today!
If not, the next time Comet Swift-Tuttle visits us, it could be passing by a planet whose time has come … and gone.
Author Michael Solomowitz’s debut novel, BEHIND THE FOURTH WALL, will be published in January 2022.