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Global Misting

(Editor's note: this article was found floating under the bridge to the 21st Century, and --as strange as this may seem-- appears to be a news item from 50 years in the future.)

 

January 21st, 2055: The New York Times reports on the threat of “Global Misting”.

 

It’s not the Global Heat; it’s the humidity.

 

By Redford Kennedy with Jayson Blair, IV

 

New Chiapas, California.  Stuck in a holding pattern over this once impoverished California desert town east of Laos Angeles, the aircraft provided an all-too-informative overview of the problem we had come here to discuss with Dr. Allison Gore-Mohammed.  The normally monochromatic khaki of the once-pristine desert sands is now a garish green and brown plaid.

 

The drive into the Barbara Boxer Whole Earth Research Institute for All Peoples was nearly as instructive.  Looking out the window from the car, one could easily think the drive was being made through the humid coastal plain of Florida.  Wild banana lean into the roadway, competing for sun with introduced Eastern weeds such as Queen Anne’s lace, broomsedge and saw palmetto.  The subtropical illusion would be complete except for the areas where the aggressive vegetation has been cut away from the roadside to facilitate entry into the numerous Gay Wedding Chapels for which the area is so well known.  There --just a few feet from the bananas-- the arid California desert lies covering the enormous expanse between California Freedom Road 69 and the equally dense green lining the Nafta Border Memorial highway in the distance.

 

“This is the price of Hydrogen Power” Dr. Gore-Mohammed declared, her left hand gracefully gesturing parallel to the line of roadside green that snaked through the desert below us.  “This is the price of the Global Misting”, she intoned.

 

Back at the Boxer Institute, she showed us a 50 year old advertisement once proudly broadcast by British Petroleum, the corporation today known as Trans-China Hydrogen.  The two dimensional “video” had a primitive quaintness about it, but it seemed like a childish na´vetÚ in the cold light of history.  “Shouldn’t an energy company be able to find a fuel that can provide people the power they need to move forward, yet won’t harm our delicate environment?” a baritone-voiced announcer began.  The voice answered its own question: “An energy company should.  That’s why BP is pioneering research into clean burning, zero-emission hydrogen.  It’s every bit as powerful as petroleum, but won’t harm our climate by emitting greenhouse gases like Carbon Dioxide, gases that may contribute to Global Warming.  That’s because when a car burns Hydrogen nothing comes out of the tail pipe but pure, warm water vapor.  Hydrogen is the fuel of the future.  Should an energy company of today find the fuel of tomorrow?  An energy company should.”

 

Dr. Gore-Mohammed stared off into the distance while the video played, unable to watch yet again what has become a standard piece of evidence in her case against the Hydrogen merchants.  The video ended and she snapped back to delivering the lesson she had prepared for us: “’Zero emissions’ they said, then in the very next breath they tout the environment-killing water vapor that is at the heart of our current crisis.  In Mexamericanada alone there are over 1 billion vehicles, each one emitting a constant stream of ‘pure, warm water vapor’, as they once so proudly advertised.”  She continued, “That’s billions of gallons of water per day, all being sprayed into an atmosphere that already had all the humidity it needed.  Each one of these cars is a misting machine.  That’s the origin of the Global Misting.  That’s why the roadways of California and the Southwest look like an irrigated tropical garden for nearly three meters on each side of the road.”

 

It’s not just the arid regions that are feeling the effects either.  According to a report from the non-partisan Committee for the Protection of the Planet from White People and Technology (the CPPWPT), the Global Misting is also affecting the Midwest and Northeast.  Millions of gallons of water vapor sprayed onto the roadways in the depths of winter equals one thing: ice; and that equals another thing: salt --so that’s two things right there.  “We’ve seen approximately a threefold increase in the usages of amounts of road surface conditioning crystals by our transportation facilitation and safetification crews in the greater Boston Area alone.” said Mario O’Reilly of the unified Massachusetts State Transportation and Big Dig Continuation Authority (MASS-HOLE), according to our translator. 

 

Even the already humid South suffers from the Global Misting.  The CPPWPT report documents an 3.1% increase in water-related heaving of clay soils in Southeast Texas.  More disturbingly, the delicate and fragile and precious and irreplaceable ecosystem of the region may be affected.  Comments Dr. S. G. Yaf of the University of Missouri City, Texas “We’re seeing the growth of Pseudowoobius algae on the sunny sides of garages all over the Houston area.  This is an algae that previously grew only on the shady sides of garages in the area.  That’s disturbing.”

 

That’s the Global Misting.  “At least the petroleum economy emitted as its byproduct a diffusible gas that could be locked away by normal plant metabolism,” Dr. Gore-Mohammed concluded.  “But this technology, this short-sighted Hydrogen ‘solution’, it threatens to humidify what was never before humidified.  And humidity is so…Alabama.  Ooo!”

 

Next week, part two of our special series: “Glare pollution, the unseen hazard of ‘environmentally-friendly’ solar panels”.

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