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Tornado

May 4, 2016

This might be a peculiar picture, or just a prophetic one.

 

This wasn’t an illustration assignment. When I painted this years ago I was already troubled by climate change. I’d flown over Greenland and seen the missing ice and snow, and my home state of California was beginning to experience the droughts that would only intensify over the years. Scientists, who aren’t the best at public relations, left themselves vulnerable to ridicule by referring to changing weather patterns as global warming. It was beyond many people to understand how the world could be growing warmer when so many severe snowstorms were affecting the country. The science behind this phenomenon is beyond a simple answer, but is understood and accepted by most of the scientific community, denied only by scientists employed by fossil fuel industries and conservative politicians.

 

 

 

Denying facts won’t change the outcome; the earth is warming up, the polar caps are melting at an alarming rate—along with most of the world’s glaciers. Yes, climate does occur in cycles. Before a mini ice-age blanketed the land in ice, Vikings named Greenland after the verdant “vines” they discovered in abundance.

 

Today, humans are exacerbating climate change by pumping garbage into our atmosphere, mostly residue from fossil fuels. This garbage is becoming visible to the naked eye, and scientists can measure and gauge its impact on climate.

 

These days the evening news usually begins with a weather-related tragedy. The tornado season is now all year long instead of only a few months, and “tornado alley” now encompasses much of the country.

 

The tornado in this picture quickly sprang from the background. I struggled to add another element to make it more compelling, but this picture was set aside for a few years when nothing sprang to mind. Eventually, the old man leaning on his cane appeared. He registers no reaction as he glances at the menace in the distance. Nothing distracts from the silent dialogue between man and nature.

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure what this image means, if anything at all, but it reminds me that nature is taken for granted at our peril.

 

Do you believe in climate change? Do you think humans play a part in any of this? Are jobs more important than the air we breathe and the planet we bequeath to our children?

 

 

 

 

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Comments

21 Comments
Of course I believe in climate change. Some of it is no doubt cyclical, but some is no doubt man-made, too. Just look at pictures of Beijing to see what unbridled growth will do. The problem is, people live for today. They want what's easy TODAY. They are not willing to sacrifice for tomorrow. It's all about instant gratification. Our prognosis is NOT good.
By: scott park on May 4, 2016
Climate change is real, anyone who thinks otherwise has their head buried in the sand. The impact is real and occurring for some time now. As time advances, intense & peculiar weather storms will continue to rise. Humankind plays a significant role. Fossil fuel, methane, and production of goods (e.g. plastics) needs to be retought.
By: Daniel LaFrance on May 4, 2016
I don't think any of us wanted to believe in global warming, but as the years go by it's impossible to ignore unless you're an idiot. (And we know who those are.) I'm worried about pollutin in the ocean too. It's said by 2050 there'l be more plastic in the ocean than fish. I guess it's a good thing I'll be dead.
By: Lexa Cain on May 4, 2016
What no one seemingly pays attention to is that there are too many of us and we are destroying our beautiful earth. We are at the tipping point where we humans will be responsible for a massive extinction of not only us but all living creatures. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-earth-nearing-environmental-tipping-point/
By: Kathe W. on May 4, 2016
That's a powerful image. We have affected the earth with our presence. Some of it still happens naturally though. Ironically, we've had the most snow, rain, and cooler temperatures in the past couple years than at any other time...
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 4, 2016
How could anyone with a brain NOT believe in global warming?
By: fishducky on May 4, 2016
Powerful picture. You're right. We take nature for granted. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on May 4, 2016
It's not believe climate change. Climate change "is". I have my own Arctic ice story and it's scary.
By: red Kline on May 4, 2016
I prefer to listen to scientists about climate change, not politicians, and scientists (or at least 99% of them) say it is real and it poses a threat to mankind. I like your picture with the yellow background - it makes for a very ominous, eerie feeling.
By: Pixel Peeper on May 4, 2016
A message to my Christian brethren: The Lord's first command was to care for the earth, and we are still under that command, and doing a terrible job. Whether you believe in climate change/global warming or not, we need to do a better job before pollution destroys us.
By: messymimi on May 4, 2016
Yes Yes. no... To answer your questions. We can stick our heads in the sand but it will not make the future of our children any brighter. I live in an area of Alabama where coal is king. Mo Much of the economy here is based on digging coal. When a I try to tell people we should hitch our wagons to a different horse, I get blasted. Many here will tell you in an instant that everything is Obama's fault. I'm not sure who they will blame when he is no longer in office.
By: Rick Watson on May 4, 2016
climate change is very real. The part Nature plays can't be changed, but the part humans play, can. I do my bit by reducing the amount of rubbish I produce. Only one small bag per week, while others around me have overflowing wheelie bins. No artificial fertilisers on my small garden either.
By: river on May 4, 2016
The change is undeniable and I think exacerbated by human activity. In some cases I think we've passed a line of correction, though that is not to say we should not live more wisely and with a better sense of stewardship of the planet. But we must also proceed with strategies of adaptability. Your illustration is eerie.
By: Tom Cochrun on May 4, 2016
Yes I believe and have for years. It is just so sad that we will probably continue down this path till our bones rest with the dinosaurs as we continue to let the dollar rule our good sense. :Your illustration relates the helplessness of the old man against the approaching tornado. No place to hide.
By: Arkansas Patti on May 5, 2016
There are those who believe this is all God's will or plan and not the mistake of mankind.
By: Tabor on May 5, 2016
There's always something that can be done...it's just not always done soon enough.
By: Cherdo on May 5, 2016
I was thinking that that tornadic cloud was perhaps metaphorically caused by the old man burning some leaves in his yard.
By: Bruce Taylor on May 5, 2016
There's no denying science
By: Hilary on May 5, 2016
I absolutely do believe in climate change and heck yes, humans are responsible. We still haven't learned that nature always has the final say-so.
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on May 6, 2016
yes I believe in climate change, yes, I believe that we are propelling it, and yes the air and planet is much more important than a few jobs. people can get other jobs. this is the only planet we have and when we make it uninhabitable for humans, jobs will be the least of our problems.
By: Ellen Abbott on May 7, 2016
Yes, this is happening and we are giving it a mighty push. We need to change things or our children will suffer. The sad thing is the greed for power outweighs anything else and therein lies the stupidity. I think your painting is so powerful because one can read so much into that old man who seems oblivious yet he sees the tornado. Powerfully done and so artistic
By: Birgit on May 7, 2016

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