Anyone from my generation might express a warm feeling for George Harrison’s song “Here Comes the Sun.” First of all, it’s a tune from the “quiet Beatle” that is in many ways perfect in its simplicity: It’s been a long cold lonely winter and now… here comes the sun. The sun in the song is the arrival of better days and even a new clarity about whatever it is that has been troubling you and making you feel blue; perhaps clearing away a fog of depression, making things warm and right again.
And yet when last week brought record high temperatures, some of us might have had second thoughts about just how great it was that the sun was again bearing down on us. Perhaps even reminding us that in the universe we live in, the sun could make its power known and be an engine of fueling forest fires and destruction. A good friend pointed out to me that, while his home in Monrovia wasn’t directly threatened by the fires near his home, flames were in fact visible from his own backyard and the smoke was making his air difficult to breathe and creating a feeling of crushing and even overwhelming vulnerability.
I think many of us want to believe that we will soon harness the sun’s dominion over us and use it to create electric power that will eventually fuel our cars and become not only our ally but our friend. Unless of course record high temperatures that are unquestionably the result of climate change will first dangerously threaten our food supplies, rob us of enough water to live, and thus forever change the very nature of life as we know it. In other words, the sun might win first.
Meanwhile, under that same sun, we seem to be pursuing means and ends to killing ourselves way ahead of any natural or climate-related results. The people of Earth continue to commit homicide in the name of religion-based inspiration to take away life from others. We angrily shout about walls and policies that would divide as one planet under that sun. We’re way ahead of the climate change disaster in terms of wanting to use force and death to make right what we see as the wrongs put upon us by dangerous others.
How does any of this conjure a Beach Boys song?
Years ago, because I was attached to successful television show, I had the opportunity to pitch some movie ideas to a very big talent management agency. One of those pitches, in fact the one I had the most conviction about, was a notion about an alien from another world who visits earth and is aghast at the backwards nature of our planet. “Fossil fuel-burning cars? How pathetic!” Every dimension of how earth’s inhabitants had decided to pursue “progress” made that alien visitor laugh out loud. The agents I was pitching to on the phone thought it was nuts. I was pitching a comedy film in which every aspect of our lives looked ludicrous to someone from another world where there were no such errors in managing resources and energy. A year or so later, I quit that representation because I thought they lacked simple imagination.
And now here we are, fiddling with electric cars and solar energy, while the sun is beating the daylights out of us as the climate changes. California took steps the last few weeks to temporarily repeal several environmental restrictions out of concern that during high temperature days from our friend the sun we would need to avoid brown outs and black outs.
If there is no water and no electricity because we’ve failed to anticipate the overwhelming power of the sun on our planet, then maybe automatic weapons won’t be such a huge issue. Maybe the U.S. can figure out how to ultimately defeat ISIS simply by blocking their access to water.
Two days ago, I was on my way to something very important to me. Never mind what it was, just know that the 10 freeway and later the side streets leading to my destination were clogged with cars burning their fuel and leaving their residue in the air while traveling at less than 20 miles per hour. Yes, my destination held great importance to me and now I was going to be late. But I was inside of just one of the thousands of vehicles gasping and nudging to reach their appointment. The absurdity of it all struck me as far more interesting than the dramatic “story” I was hoping to sell in arriving on time to my appointment. Had my alien friend from my old movie pitch been in the car with me, he would have laughed his butt off.
Throughout the journey, the sun beat down on us. Sure, we had the AC turned up and we were comfortable as our fuel gauge drained. But our journey became increasingly ludicrous with each crawling moment of our slow movement forward.