Sunday, May 10, 2009 burns.

I can't begin to tell you guys how clucking easy it is to get sunburned here. 

Even when I wear a high SPF sunblock, hat and (good, polarized) sunglasses - I still get fried. Melanoma is TEN times more common here than in most countries. We're #1 in the world.  Click here for other facts about Australia and skin cancer. 

It's starting to freak me out.  Statistically, the chances of getting metastasized melanoma (which is, oh by the way, basically fatal) are slim.  It's not even completely clear how UV rays relate to melanoma. 

But basal and squamous cell carcinomas - geez, I see a lot of people with telltale patches of gauze taped all over them. Those ones are rampant. It's treatable, but wouldn't you want to do about everything possible to not have chunks of skin regularly lopped off your body?   Yick.

Literally, I feel like I should wear a bag over my head. I don't know what to do about the eye holes though, because my eyes seem to get burned the worst.  That mostly just hurts. I don't think it causes eye cancer but it's can't be good.  I can see wearing Terminator style wrap-around glasses (ewe) or those old navigator Ray Ban's, the ones with the protective leather guards on the sides.  Tom suggested some Nicole Richie's, the kind that cover half your face.  We're going to look into that as an option.  This isn't me, it's her, by they way:

Actually, I'm not even completely clear on the action items.  Apparently the high levels of UV radiation here are due to the hole in the ozone.   Supposedly, due to legislation banning chlorofluorocarbons  (CFC's) and other ozone damaging chemicals, the hole will heal itself in say, another 50 years.  Those pesky fluro-clurvo-flavins (I accidentally called them that on one of our first dates...don't ask.) 

In the mean time, I mostly see advice like:
  • Don't drive a car (check)
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle (mmnnn...check)
  • Buy CFC-free fridges (not sure, checking...)
  • Dispose of old fridges and air conditioners properly (other than just removing the door and leaving it behind the garage indefinitely)
How the hole is the ozone relates to global warming (or the performer previously known as Global Warming) is also unclear to me.  I know my friend Kitty (weird, I know, there are two of us) went on a cruise to Alaska three years ago and the same one again last year.  Apparently she had no recollection of the first one because the second one looked NOTHING like it. The glaciers were just gone.  When they do melt entirely, it will raise the sea level and cause, I don't know... famine, draught, petulance, clothes with labels sewn into them that can't be removed without tearing the fabric, more bad stuff, etc.  Tom said that he went to a conference and someone started a speech with:

"For the last decade, scientists have been warning us that climate change will cause the polar caps to melt entirely by the year 2075.  We now know that the timeline has evolved and this catastrophe is now expected to the time I finish this talk." 

Anyway, I hate to get all freaked out and full of hyperbole (you know me) about what's happening to the planet.  It's just really strange, and doesn't quite seem okay, to step out of our house, into paradise, and be actually and instantly burned alive.  It's not cool. 


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