As women of a certain age, we begin to intuit that climate change does not become us. Though our storage boxes burgeon with vintage summer clothes, we have nothing to wear. With regret we have banished favorite threadbare t-shirts and baggy running shorts. Exasperated, we wonder, When did these cease to be appropriate?
Here is my litany of woes: sleeveless tops reveal fascinatingly sun- striated arms, shorts are proper only at home, all hats look stupid, and would cotton gloves improve or draw attention to veiny dishpan hands? A friend wittily suggests that sandals should be illegal after age 50. I wear them, but I know what she means. This has been a summer of tennis shoes.
And gradually I have adopted more forgiving fashions, pedal pushers (or should I say capris?), cropped pants, baggy tunics, tasteful pajamas, and matron blouses. When my mother was in her eighties, her fashion advice was: Wear turtlenecks, long pants, and nylon knee-highs. Alas, I see this arriving in the future, sans nylons, which are much, much too hot.
And now let me switch to a subject I know: books. I recommend the CLIMATE CHANGE CLASSIC, Dune by Frank Herbert.
Did you know that HBO Max will release a new movie adaptation of Dune in October? It's a great time to read or reread Dune. I can't persuade my husband to read this, and I'm devastated, so I hope one of you will read it!
Let me start with one of my favorite quotes from the book.
“To the working planetologist, his most important tool is human beings… You must cultivate ecological literacy among the people.”–Frank Herbert’s Dune
This novel is, to a large extent, about the politics of water. It is the most precious commodity on the planet, though the ruling class are never dehydrated and live in luxury.
The Atreides learn from the native Fremen to wear “stillsuits” that recycle every drop of sweat and urine while they travel or work in the spice mines. When someone dies, the water is taken from the body to be reused, because 70% of the body is water. Plastic dew collectors save every drop of condensation for growing plants. Dangerous sand and dust storms blow up to 700 kilometers an hour and “can eat flesh off bones and etch the bones to sliver.” There are also giant worms. But the planetologist, who knows exactly how much water is needed to make the planet green over the next few hundred years, teaches the people how to change.