Could it be that global warming is no big deal in the Midwest because, well, we like it? I suppose I contributed to further warming Sunday, driving around enjoying the fall colors. They are past prime north of town, but they remain gorgeous in the city, something that just isn’t supposed to be in northern Indiana in November. As with every other odd bit of atmospherics in recent years (e.g. the hot spell of 2012), I’m just assuming the delayed leaf drop has something to do with a warming world.
The library collects dozens of titles every year about global warming. Some of them get borrowed a few times, but The Hunger Games they are not, even though a lot of hunger is coming our way if the full impact of global warming is as bad as some scientists think it will be. Hot: Living through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard has gotten into a dozen hands over two years, but S. C. Pryor’s Climate Change in the Midwest has only circulated a couple of times since we got it in January. Meanwhile, global warming denier James M. Imhofe’s The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future has circulated 37 times in 18 months.
Of course, the print and video versions of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which brought global warming to mainstream popular attention, have circulated hundreds of times in the past seven years. But even that is a small fraction of the thousands of circs for Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games since 2008. An imaginary dystopia beats the scientifically predicted one hands down. We humans have got to have our human interest element; we have to have our stories. (The library does own a new edition of J. G. Ballard’s 1962 tale The Drowned World.)
I’m not staking any high moral ground here; I’ve read Hunger Games, and I haven’t read any books about global warming. I do wonder whether reading patterns are maybe a little bit different in different places, like maybe New Jersey, where global warming has a different resonance. But in Indiana? Hey, flowers in February anyone?