Winter is biting in the Northern hemisphere. We’re supposed to be having our hottest time of year, but it is decidedly chilly here. Humans don’t deal too well with just surviving the extremes of temperature, particularly cold, being poorly equipped with fur or blubber (yes, there are exceptions. No need to point and laugh at me. Personally, I am not sure that the descent from the trees was such a good idea).

But yet humans do live in some of the most extreme and inhospitable places on earth (no, really I wasn’t thinking of New York City. Well, not JUST NYC.) That’s because we substantially alter our environment –even if it is next to skin that we do that. The fleas have been very appreciative of our efforts, but not as much as we have been (trust me, naked in the snow and ice is not long-term attractive, unless you’re a smurf).

Humans build. Humans change things. It’s as much part of them as hive-building is to honeybees. Yes, we may get further than modern plastic surgery into the realms of James Blish’s pantropy (changing ourselves to the environment, rather than the environment into something that suits us).

I am – as a guy who lives a lot closer to nature than most, who if cast away on remote shore would have a lot better chance than most of being fat and fairly comfortable than most first world people – always amused by the ‘back to nature’ types and the mob deriding the Western Civilization. By all means, throw the trapping of the vile white colonialists away, and live life ‘au naturel’.  You will rapidly long for the joys that deplorable civilization. There have been times when other civilizations gave the people of that time a better go of it, but right now the directional flow of migrants tells you what is people really find good, rather than what is politically expedient or fashionable to claim good.

You can piss against this tide… but realistically it’s about as effective as doing that. Human have far too much genetic advantage baked in by changing their environments for any long term daydream of them not doing so. They will alter their environment, they will ‘improve’ their living space and take (whether physically or by imitation) the best they can get from who or whatever to do so). That’s humans, that’s why house reno shows, house building shows, even physical makeover shows are so popular. From the time Ugg improved the cave mouth with a few extra boulders so it was more defensible and warmer, it’s been a selective genetic advantage – maybe even more than being strong or sexually attractive.  Ugg and his partner survived.

So as a writer… I usually make heroes of those who build. Often the colonist human or farmer trying to cope with a harsh world. It’s unfashionable right now (because the powers-that-be don’t and have never actually tried carving out a home and living from the bush or prairie- let alone providing the food that feeds the PTB,) but that too will change. Especially if the modern Ugg, who improved his environment (and maybe even himself) does survive an uncertain future. He’s more likely to, than the urban bureaucrat, who is little more than a parasite.

Be like Ugg. (I know. You have to get permission in triplicate these days, as I am still trying to deal with it. But perhaps this too will pass.)

That’s a picture telling me that tomorrow the weather will change, and the wind is blowing hard up there. It’ll get here soon enough.  

8 thoughts on “Ugg

  1. I recently rediscovered an article by Richard Tol about climate change where he points out that no one seems worried that rising sea levels (whether due to glowball worming or any other reason) are going to make the Netherlands flood because large chunks of the Netherlands are already below sea-level and have been since 1850 or so.

    Ugg has nothing on the people who drain marshes.

    It’s kind of relevant to me since I live in another drained marsh area and indeed there’s an entire legend that is possibly a metaphor for the taming of the river that caused that marsh and floods

    1. The Dutch were brought over to drain large parts of East Anglia [England, UK], the result being very productive farmland being brought into use. Unfortunately the soil is so fine that it’s virtually impossible to farm the land without losing some of the soil every year. This means that over time the land has steadily dropped further and further below sea level.

      As a result keeping the land drained now requires dedicated motorised pumps, whereas initially a few windmills sufficed.

  2. For my sins, my doctorate is in environmental history, focusing on the effects of climate and culture on landforms. Conditions change. Don’t like “global warming?” Read about the late 1500s and 1600s in the Northern Hemisphere. Armies marched across the ice from what is now Denmark to Norway and Sweden. In the 1200s-early 1300s [onset of Little Ice Age] super droughts hammered the southwestern regions of North America so badly that the Natives upped sticks and moved to the big rivers, becoming the Pueblo peoples of the Rio Grande watershed. And yet that horrible 1590-1800 period gave us the Enlightenment, Baroque and Classical and Romantic music, steam power, modern science, and a whole lot of other things. Because it’s what humans do.

  3. I would really like to take all these “green” types and stick them out in a pasture somewhere, naked, with nothing but a couple of rocks, and tell them to make a living with their “green” tripe. And if they run for modern conveniences when it gets cold out or they get hungry, I’m not opposed to shooting them for being such hypocrites.

    1. Oh, if they wanted to do it themselves, they’d just do it.
      Comfort is for the enlightened. The Deplorables must be made to suffer.

      I’ve “enjoyed” frostbite, hypothermia, building and sleeping in a snow cave, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, prickly heat, and having the clothes rot off my body in a jungle.
      Bugger all that.
      I want A/C, central heat, daily showers, ready potable water, and a memory foam mattress.

      Word to the wise, before disspossessing most of the population, take a moment and realize that people with nothing to lose are extremely dangerous.

  4. Texas area is finally finding out what happens when you let Greenies mess with your electrical grid. It’ll break and leave you f-ed in a snowstorm. That’s where they are today. Too much attention to “environmental issues”, not enough to fixing stuff that’s getting old. Nothing breaks electrical stuff like a blizzard. Wind, ice, and cold.

    Same thing could happen here anytime, with all the windmills in Ontario introducing “ringing” into the grid, not to mention “surging”, voltage drops and spikes, the occasional melted transformer, and so on. I strongly suspect that Ontario Hydro just takes them offline whenever things on the grid gets busy or dodgy. There’s plenty of nice dependable gas turbines and nuclear plants to take the load when the windmills are either idle or over-speeding as they are today.

    I’m just glad none of the damn things are on my side of the river. 180 foot blade ripped off in a blizzard might travel half a mile and skewer a house.

    Windmills are why I have a wood stove. 😡

      1. Part of the problem is that things are SO cold downstate that the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and natural gas lines are freezing. That takes the gas-powered plants off line, at least temporarily. Apparently some of the downstate coal and nuclear plants were off-line earlier today, for reasons not mentioned in the news stories. It’s a mell of a hess. Up here, we might get above freezing on Friday. That will make 8-9 days below freezing. That’s a lot of electricity and gas.

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