After playing hide and seek with climate scientists for a year, the current El Niño is shaping up as the strongest since 1998 – when millions of people suffered hunger across Africa, Asia and central America – and might even eclipse it.
It is especially important that people understand that this is their future and not the end of the world/extinction of humanity scenario.
Misery is in the cards not the last gasp of humanity. It is possible that when population overwhelms the capacity of agriculture to feed 12 billion or so of our descendants that the misery index is off the scale but extinction is only by bioengineered retro viral plague or nuclear madness.
We are making this planet a lousy place to live real fast but live here we will... come what may.
We make misery for ourselves and...
misery loves company.
Many of the crisis responses by Greenpeace that are outlined in Aaron Gray-Block's article are commendable and appropriate. i can't help but add that we need to go much farther in our crisis response.
For example, "forest-friendly palm oil" certainly, of course, any palm oil should be "forest friendly" but how about we massively reduce privileged consumers' consumption of unneeded palm oil products? Gasp!
If by heavenly miracle, alien intervention, or evolution of a new microbe, all the world's stock of lipstick vanished in an instant, never to again be available... what horrific consequences would ensue? What if no one could ever again spread vegan Earth Balance (great name) on their breakfast toast? Compared to the actual level of crisis - mass extinction, collapse of human society, other details - the "crisis response" is nibbling around the edges. The toast has burst into flames and there will be no breakfast, and yet we must have "forest-friendly" Earth Balance.
We need, and pretty much instantly, a MASSIVE retrenchment of the economy, and the virtual elimination of "privileged consumerism."
We need total restructuring of the economy, elimination of massive wealth, transition off fossil-fueled food production to labor-intensive food production, with a couple of billion people newly engaged in agroecological food production.
We need an END to war and militarism and the war economy.
And we need clear, blunt, persistent communication about these needs.
Greenpeace is great, but the level of thinking and action that are needed, to swiftly transform the world economy in just a few short years, to actually "crisis respond" at the level called for by the material facts of the causes of the crisis, are not REMOTELY being contemplated by mainstream "environmental" discourse. Let alone anywhere in "mainstream" discourse of any kind. The mainstream needs to be diverted from its corporate / military management, and taken over by honesty, truth, and genuine ecological and human accountability.
Perhaps the main source of hope is the explosion in the implementation of solar that is occurring in the US and many other countries. This was totally unseen only a few years ago. Exactly what impact this will have is still unclear. We need a similar phenomenon to take place with regard to replacing heating with natural gas and oil with heat pumps run far more efficiently with electricity. Various measures to make buildings more energy efficient also need to be implemented much more quickly. Charging stations for electric vehicles are needed in large numbers. There are states in the US getting up to speed but there are others where government employees are not supposed to mention climate change. So the main obstacles are political. Watching the recent Republican debates I see no hope on the political side. It appears that we have the necessary technology but will fail to save ourselves because of political craziness.
For example, they condemn palm oil consumption but meat consumption causes much more environmental devastation.
No large Mammals will survive if the temp exceeds 140F which it has done a handful of times already this century (unreported). Without Air-Conditioning/power/water pumps millions will perish. Already, when I was in Singapore a few weeks ago, 10,500 are reported dead by Singapore newspapers throughout Indonesia/SouthEast Asia from the "Haze" which is 30 foot peat moss below the ground on fire for thousands of miles. This happened because of the drought from extremely hot ocean temperatures. The dead are the old, young and poor. They will be the first to go. It sickened my 78 year old mother who barely made it. I believe it is the Sulfur Dioxide burning our eyes and lungs that did it (if memory serves.)
Since nuke plants will overheat as their cooling systems were not designed for over 85 degrees water input of the primary heat exchanger with the aqua heat-sink, they will be scrammed, killing a big part of the ten percent of US power and about 90 percent of French power. Indeed in 2005 a massive heat wave shut down vast power grid sections of France since the rivers were too hot and the nuke plants couldn't cool properly. Tens of Thousands died in Europe.
Your Soothsayer claim that Homo sapiens can't go extinct is absurd. We evolved and must exist in a ridiculously narrow temperature range of which billions can't alter because of global poverty/over-population. If the global power grid fails completely, 400 nuke plants will melt down eventually killing most large animals on this planet since the plants are only designed to last 8 hours in station blackout on batteries. We are indeed all in grave danger from the private auto and overpopulation burning down the lungs of our planet (the last remaining rain-forests) and cooking us alive in a greenhouse of our own making.
Except for some homes of rich culture-displacing urban gentrifying yuppies, I don't see any solar panels where I live.
Sounds like I had better buy a boat and set sail for Antarctica.
Great Idea George. Take me with you, I'm a great war story expert around the dinner table like Darwin was on the Beagle (and I eat light).
But if we set sail for Antarctica, we better bring lots of sunblock!
When I laid over in Auckland and ChristChurch, NZ, I and my colleagues all remarked how the Sun felt different falling on your skin. It was "sharp" sunshine. Turns out there's no ozone layer protecting you down there and they have some of the highest terminal skin cancer rates in the world! Because of the Van Allen Belts, Antarctica is a radiation skin-fest as well, they think.
Head for just South of the Equator somewhere on a tall island. Singapore was great until the peasants lit all of Sumatra and Borneo on fire. Great for sailboats too. Ten degrees North or Ten South of the Equator is a natural Hurricane Harbor almost 100 percent free of cyclonic weather. Unlike where I live, which has the most in the world!
Threatening to buy a Lagoon Sailboat if I can ever sell a book!
I'm afraid there no place enlightened individuals can go to escape the consequences of human folly. If some people managed to find a place and settled in there, word would get out and the fearful would flock to follow suit, overcrowding it out. I moved to a Southeast Asia, not expecting to escape but thinking that Downtown USA would get it worst first. But now nuclear armed USA and China are threatening each other over misrepresented intentions about some dipshit little islands in the South China Sea. Even though the stakes are abysmally low, the situation there is one of many the so called leaders have sufficiently bought in to make this off the wall little corner of the globe an ongoing atom bomb war flash point.
Unless something like an eco friendly version of religious mass hysteria leading to sweeping cultural change breaks out and causes huge sudden reconfigurations of human conduct causing billions of people to forsake their conditioning and all the implanted hopes and dreams, and set out to reengineer the life support systems currently powered by carbon burning, and do so almost overnight, shreds hope will continue to be darn hard to find.
I think everybody should emigrate to Britain as the global climate warms. The climate should improve from abominable to relatively tolerable, (bring your own lunch ) and it wouldn't take them all that long to learn to speak English so that other human beings will know wtf they are going on about!
I think in the coming years you won't always see the solar panels but many people who live near you will still be getting net metering benefits from solar. What I think you will see is something like the solar community sharing program in New York State. Renters, people with low incomes, people with houses not suitable for solar power, etc will be able to invest in solar or rent solar even if the actual solar panels are on some lot in the another county. So the solar panels that they are invested in may be 50 miles away but they are still able to sell the solar energy back to the utility and deduct the money from their electric bills. A concern of the bureaucrats in state government is that only the well off can afford solar. That is now changing. The only thing that can probably stop this wave of solar energy is Congress not continuing the solar tax investment credit after 2016. If Congress fails to act the move to solar will fall apart.
Wonderful and informative post.
Hey is that allowed?
Hey didn't you see the sign?
"Ranters and venters at work"
"No intelligent discourse allowed!"
Ah, that sceptred Isle set in a silver sea! You damned Yankees kicked us out of north America and now you want to come back home! No. You had your chance for a civilised country and threw it out with your bathwater! You only love us for our National Health Service and that is being Americanised as we write!
Civilized? Um? Well not really. The 19th century was hardly all that civilized anyway. Whether it was exterminating the indigenous wherever and whenever, by civilized countries who were not all that civilized about it ...although I must admit that the Brits did have a change of heart and set about stopping the slave trade (after having made a fortune at it). Admirable that. Still...
The opium wars notwithstanding, extorting Hong Kong at the point of a cannon wasn't all that polite or civilized and a thorough theft of Benin Bronzes by Maxim gun, the plundering Greek statues and mucking about in mummies while in Egypt (grinding them up as a medicinal is a cheery thought huh? Ya cannibals!) or divvying up the Middle East and carving up Africa with little regard for ethnic or cututral affinities or tribal disputes which is still causing the world problems to this day... and this simply to acquire ketchup (which however did help the taste considerably...lol).
Did you know that the word Yankees is how the indigenous tribes of New England pronounced the word English with their heavy accents?
Civilization turned out to be quite barbaric once you tallied up the death tolls but then hindsight will look back and add up the body counts that people who were civilized - were too civilized to do at the time.
Sadly our civilization seems headed backwards to a more barbaric sensibility anyway.
When I was but stripling lad you could turn on the TV and watch good guys wearing white hats massacre Indians with a shy sensitivity best expressed by their love for their horses. Now you turn on TV and watch programs that express the sensitive side of torturers who feel sad that it is something so necessary to do each and every week.
Oh dear, the hoary chestnut of Hong Kong is raised to belabour my stout and upright British back; look, we grabbed a crappy little fishing village on a god-forsaken island and turned it not only into a bastion of liberty and refuge against the Chinese communists but turned it also into a world trading centre worth at least $80 billion and then gave it back to the Chinese with a pleasant smile. Opium; well our best poets were drinking the stuff by the pint, mixed with alcohol (laudanum), at the time; Coleridge was one of many; it kept our sniffling babies quiet so their mums could go out and do 14-hour days in our cotton mills, thus keeping USAian cotton farms and their slaves productive. Just because the Chinese lacked poetry and sniffling babies and the enlightenment brought by wage-slave labour in cotton mills, they had made it illegal. Short-sighted of them. We saved the Elgin marbles from being stolen by the Germans between 1939 and 1945 and more recently. Those Egyptian mummies would surely by now have been plundered by Egyptian grave robbers, as many were. Would you want the French to have stolen the Benin Bronzes, or some corrupt African politician to have sold them to private collectors to fatten his Swiss bank account? And look at the Middle Eastern treasures we were too polite to steal; 5000 years of artefacts looted from Baghdad; the remains of Palmyra destroyed by the lunatic extremist muslims; the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan blown up by the Taliban; the Angor Wat bombed by the US airforce. The world should be grateful that we have archived at least some of the world's treasures in a safe place that not even Hitler wanted to bomb.
How on earth can someone make Yankee out of English (or an English out of a Yankee)? Bad as the Vietnamese; their word for Australian is Uc, rising tone. Vietnamese for English is Anh (pronounced Ang, which is halfway there) and French is Phap (which is not surprising); for Yankee or American they say My with a sort of twitch in the word halfway through.I'd be twitchy if someone had dropped 2.25 million tons of bombs on me.
Well, the world is fast going to perdition, helped not a little by Uncle Sam who seems to have focused on copying the worst of the manners that John Bull displayed. However, Uncle Sam and John Bull are not alone in doing the damage. One can only HOPE that matters can be improved. It would certainly make a CHANGE if they were.
Poor torturers; it must be so difficult for them. I hope the bastards get PTSD.
Now how did that reply to myself happen?