Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Civil Defense Sirens Day
Imagine the air starting crackling one day. Crackle, crackle, pop, it said, down the street, on the balcony, right behind you while you were out walking the dog. It lasted a few days, maybe weeks, until the crackling turned into spontaneous flames that appeared out of nowhere. You're in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, and right in front of you over the cutting board - a foot long flame appears, burning for 10 seconds before disappearing again. Half an hour later the same thing, this time at the dinner table, later again, in the bathroom. You're not safe, outside or in - the danger is everywhere. I the house, in the neighborhood, downtown, in the country - everywhere. Everybody is experiencing the same thing. The danger is visible, tangible, everywhere - no exceptions. It's a fictive scenarios, but hold the thought. Today, the first Wednesday in May, is the Danish national test day for the civil defense sirens. For 4 minutes we're reminded of their sound, and their meaning, should it ever become necessary. The police are responsible for warning the civil population of dangers, be they war, accidents, catastrophes, or terrorism. The sirens are meant to warn us that there is a dangerous situation, that we need to be informed of by the authorities. My question now is - why haven't we heard the "real" sirens? We're in danger - clear and present - of losing our stable lives, of being overrun by physical catastrophe not unlike the danger of wartime. We could end up in a situation where no peace treaty or UN convention can help us. For the first time ever, we've experienced an entire month with 400 ppm (parts per million). An abstract number that means the atmosphere is more saturated with CO2 than ever before. That's bad. The problem with this amount of CO2 is that it can't be seen, smelled, or felt. It's invisible to us, though its effect is extreme. Yet nothing about our lives shows signs that we're in danger. We don't live or act differently, out consumption continues, there's no collective effort to be seen that we're in a transition to bring us out of danger again. If anything, we need the sirens now, each and every day. To make us go inside and get the information we need, to listen, and learn what we need to do to make this invisible threat a more tangible crackle, before it becomes a flame in our own home.