Hunkered down in an elegant hotel in Washington DC, watching the epic storm continue unabated, I cannot help but think of award winning author Kim Stanley Robinson‘s “Fifty Degrees Below“, the second novel in his three-part trilogy.
In this book, Washingtonians experience the most intense winter on record. As rigid temperatures shut down the city, the main character, Frank, is living in a treehouse in Rock Creek Park and heroic women scientists (I especially like that part) are trying to force the self-absorbed politicians to put in place effective policies to avert a global catastrophe. It is not until crops fail and people begin to starve do the sluggish policy makers begin to take the situation seriously -something leaders of flooded low-lying nations have been trying to convince them to do for decades.
Funny how fiction starts to merge with reality. Only a few months ago, I was in Bangladesh talking to farmers there about their need for flood tolerant rice and a few days ago, Obama hit the road to publicize his energy policy saying that, really, something needs to be done to wean Americans off fossil fuels. Biofuels represent one renewable energy source the administration wants to promote, and I will be attending a Department of Energy meeting on this subject on Monday.
Back to gazing out the window. Better the Mayflower hotel than a tree house.