Blue Sky Day
It’s surprisingly non-dystopian of us to mark the moment in history before we change the sky color to white, with a holiday we’ve creatively coined “Blue Sky Day.” I would’ve expected us to simply start the geoengineering process (regardless of not having consent from many indigenous tribes & nations who are not onboard), gaslighting everyone on earth who didn’t pay close attention to the UN CAC (Climate Adaptation Committee) news breifings. The majority of people don’t care about the CAC, because they’ve been yapping about climate adaptation for more decades than most people’s attention spans; this day broke through to the regular news cycle, since even with our post-caring world, this is undeniably a major milestone in human history.
I’ve been arguing against geoengineering for decades, simultaneously pushing for faster, deeper carbon cuts across every facet of the economy & building alternatives. Geoengineering stands for giving up: we couldn’t control our fossil fuel usage, we couldn’t scale carbon removal fast enough, we couldn’t collaborate internationally to save our lives. At this point, I’ve shifted my stance, because everyone dragged their feet to this stunning degree (pun intended), making this unfortunate present inevitable out of short-sighted laziness. We’ve had clear reasons to hesitate, but agriculture’s move to indoor farming & the demise of livestock for human consumption mitigated the clearest risks of reducing sunlight on Earth. As usual, we have put barely two thoughts toward anticipating the effects of this move; the whole move came out of hoping we’ll save ourselves. At this late hour of climate collapse, we hoped the magical cavalry would come, but they didn’t; hence, broad-scale aerosol deployment.
Though we’ve curbed visible air pollution previously mucking with the sky, this aerosol project creates far more drastic effects, with far lower reversibility. The primary one I’m worried about is basic: joy. Remember being a teenager, biking through the sunlight? The unmitigated joy & sense of freedom? How will we give Generation Epsilon that experience? If you look at the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells of our eyes, the blue sky & sunlight we’ve had the privilege to experience in this life is programmatically wired into our eyes to provide that joy. While artificial lighting can provide Melanopic Equivalent Daylight Illuminance (m-EDI), the majority of people don’t have access to thoughtful lighting; caring about lighting has always been niche & the majority have always used whichever technology was cheapest.
Though as populations have both grown & migrated toward the poles, we live far more closely packed than we used to, a few tribes remain independent, fully disconnected from our society & news. I wonder how they’ll interpret tomorrow. Though we’re trying to save the world, it won’t feel like that. It’ll look like we’re the ones doing the poisoning. But, we did, more gradually; this last-ditch attempt to save it will only appear more sudden.