Heated Question

February 7, 2012

I’m an unadulterated college football fan. My love for the game has remained steadfast even as my interest in sports in general has sharply waned. For decades I attended Florida State games, as did my brothers and father. We often suffered through intolerable heat and humidity, a family bond of sweat and devotion. Many times I wondered how the players, cloaked in protective gear and exerting themselves nearly to exhaustion, survived given my misery in the stands. (I escaped the South’s signature weather twelve years ago in moving to Oregon.) But what happens in the decades ahead as it gets hotter and hotter and drier and drier in the South? In one of my must-read-daily blogs, Climate Progress, editor Joe Romm zeroes in on the issue in an article headlined “Will Global Warming Ruin Football in the South?” With prominent climate scientists predicting the South will be nearly uninhabitable late this century, Romm points out a sad irony about a region where football ranks up there with God and country:

Indeed, it is the conservative southern U.S., especially the South central and South east, who have led the way in blocking serious climate action, as it were, making yesterday’s worst-case scenario into today’s likely outcome.

Romm says the accelerating changes will shock fans, “many of whom have been heavily disinformed by their politicians and favorite media outlets.” Far more important matters than football will occupy the overheated world that awaits my children and grandchildren, and I doubt the inevitable calls for domed, air-conditioned stadiums will be heeded. As for today’s climate change skeptics and outright deniers not just in the South but everywhere, I wonder how many have asked themselves “what if we’re wrong?” That question inevitably leads to the one I keep asking myself: “Why don’t you do more?” But the most uncomfortable thought isn’t a question: “Imagine how we’ll be remembered.”