Age of Miracles: What If Climate Change Were Sped Up? – Scientific American Blog Post

Age of Miracles: What If Climate Change Were Sped Up? – Scientific American Blog Post

Sometimes it frustrates me that we feel the effects of climate change so slowly, if at all.

It’s not that I’m an apocalypse-monger, dreaming of mass hysteria induced by floods and droughts, shortages of food and fuel. Rather, I worry about people’s incredible ability to acclimate: to let changes go unnoticed, as long as they’re gradual over time. I worry that people won’t notice that the air is warmer, storms are fiercer, and coral reefs are less brilliant over the course of their lives because these adjustments happen so incrementally. And thus climate change inaction will continue.

For a moment, imagine a world where the whole process were sped up, where the effects were drastic enough for a person to feel and register them over the course of a few months or a year. How would governments react then? People? Society?

This is a question addressed in last year’s widely-acclaimed Age of Miracles, the first novel by Karen Thompson Walker. It’s not climate change that drives the science fiction plot, but rather a gradual slowing of the earth’s rotation, dubbed “the slowing.” And, as is increasingly common in fiction these days, the story is told from the viewpoint of child: an 11-year old girl in southern California named Julia.

Read more: Age of Miracles: What If Climate Change Were Sped Up? — Scientific American blog Culturing Science

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center