Humans have come up with so many ways of wiping out our species in the last 100 years — which one will we pick?

By Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch

I’ve been writing about climate change for so many years now but, in truth, it was always something I read about and took in globally. It was happening out there, often in horrific ways, but not what I felt I was living through myself. (It’s true that, in past winters, Manhattan’s Central Park went 653 days without producing an inch of snow, almost double any previous record, but if you’re not a kid with a sled in the closet, that’s the sort of thing you don’t really feel.)

However, that’s begun to change. As it happens, like so many other New Yorkers, I only recently experienced a June heat dome over my city. Here in Manhattan, where I walk many miles daily for exercise, it was simply brutal. The sort of thing you might expect in a truly bad week in August.

oil rigs and fire

This June, though, it was hot nationally almost beyond imagining. As I began this piece, it was estimated that more than 270 million Americans, 80% of us, were experiencing a heatwave of a potentially unprecedented sort extending over significant parts of the country. There were devastating early wildfires in the Southwest and West (not to speak of the ones burning long-term in Canada). Ruidoso, a small mountain town in New Mexico that my wife, who grew up in El Paso, Texas, once loved, had at least 1,400 of its structures damaged or destroyed by fire and two people killed.

Meanwhile, as I began writing this, the first tropical storm of this overheated season was already forming in the Gulf of Mexico and heading for Texas, not to speak of those record rainstorms that only recently flooded the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami areas in a distinctly unsettling fashion. And then, of course, there was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s prediction that, given how hot the tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean had become, this year’s hurricane season could prove to be an all-too-literal hell on Earth. There might possibly be 25 named storms (itself a record prediction). And I was thinking about all of this as I sat at my desk in New York City, stripped to my undershirt in the rising heat of a June day from hell.

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