For six centuries or more, history was, above all, the story of the great game of empires. From the time the first wooden ships mounted with cannons left Europe’s shores, they began to compete for global power and control. Three, four, even five empires, rising and falling, on an increasingly commandeered and colonized planet. The story, as usually told, is a tale of concentration and of destruction until, in the wake of the second great bloodletting of the twentieth century, there were just two imperial powers left standing: the United States and the Soviet Union.
"And yet while an instant apocalypse loomed, a slow-motion version of the same, also human-made, was approaching, unrecognized by anyone."
That is entirely inaccurate. There were a variety of scientists and writers who foresaw this including James Hansen.
There was also the data collected by Exxon's own scientists 4 decades ago.
So the idea "who knew" is nonsense. The truth, as is the case in so many arenas of our collective experience, has been denied or kept underground... all to allow "business as usual," which represents the business of elites in their rabid centuries of plunder.
Also, rather than use the military metaphor of Empire to define MOTHER Nature, a better analogy is made in recognizing that the armies that symbolize masculine muscle--or the archetypal entity, Mars, are no match for his Divine counterpart: Venus... which manifests as Mother Earth in one of her projections.
Mr. Engelhardt put it this way: "what else could I be speaking of than Emperor Weather?"
What mother could stand by and do nothing in response to the savage, unceasing slaughter of so many of her progeny?
Patriarchy and all of your witnesses of HIS-story... thy name is arrogance!
"Over the coming decades, this could indeed give Emperor Weather his global realm."
Emperor Weather is a distortion that puts Gaia in drag.
By framing everything through the language of WAR, Mars is given primacy.
These analogies even wipe out gender as applied to what all Indigenous people regard--with reverence--as the EARTH mother.
This is disgusting, Mr. Engelhardt:
"Of course, his air power -- his bombers, jets, and drones -- would be superstorms; his invading armies would be mega-droughts and mega-floods; and his navy, with the total or partial melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, would be the rising seas of the planet, which would rob humanity of its coastlines and many of its great cities. His forces would occupy not just one or two countries in the Greater Middle East or elsewhere, but the entire planet, lock, stock, and barrel."
NOTHING of the Earth Mother's is HIS!
The inverted misogyny of so many males who position themselves as the thinkers and analysts of our times is part of the Great Wound that has led to so much disproportionate militarism and an equal emphasis on force, violence, and domination.
"But for the moment, it seems, humanity still has the chance to write its own history in a fashion that would allow for a perhaps less welcoming but still reasonably palatable world for our children and grandchildren to live in. And be glad of that."
Except that it is not HUMANITY that is writing its HIS-story... as made plain by the gender-content of those present at the Paris COP talks, there was a preponderance of males and less than 5 females.
So long as MEN run it all and arrogate to themselves the right to speak for both genders, the balance that has remained long absent continues to result in systems that have no respect for LIFE, itself.
Heat baby! heat.
Bernie's the man with the plan that can!
Last chance on the road to avoid the worst of global warming.
Don't burn ...feel the Bern.
i appreciate the effort that Tom Engelhardt engages in here, but a more accurate and more useful metaphor than "Emperor Weather" would be "Empress Ecology." And she does not operate on the same militaristic strategy as those human empires he is familiar with.
And perhaps Engelhardt was not studying such matters throughout most of his life, but the inevitable breakdown of the ecology under the onslaught of those human Empires has LONG been recognized by numerous scientists, writers, activists, and even some politicians and militarists.
Europe is warmer than it would be without the Gulf Stream. For example, Paris, France is about 48 degrees north of the Equator. International Falls, USA is the same distance from the Equator. Current temperature in Paris is 47F according to Google Earth. Current temperature at International Falls is 35F. It has been theorized that adding too much fresh water (glacial melt) will "turn off" the Gulf Stream. Which means that Europe would have a climate much similar to that of North America at the same latitudes from the Equator. On the other hand global warming "might" replace at least some of the loss due to the "loss" of the Gulf Stream.
What this means is that there are still a great deal of "unknowns" about the effects of changing climate. But if we continue as we are, we will eventually find out what does happen...
This article deals with only one of the predicaments that society will have to try to cope with. Over population, the irrevocably aging of the vast infrastructure, ocean acidification and warming, using up limited natural material resources, depletion of fertile soil and potable water and pollution of land, sea, air and organisms, including people are other irrevocable predicaments.
We have moved into a New Reality-- a world that will be very different from the one that we have experienced until this time. One that will be very challenging to the human family.
(Great Waves of Change, Summers-MV). Humanity has plundered this world and its bounty and will now have to endure the consequences of its actions. Humanity has impacted this world and its natural systems of balance to move this world to a new set of balances that will not be in our favor. In order for humanity to advance, humanity will need to act as a single family. In order to respond to this challenging environment and in order to respond to the great forces moving us towards Separation, something of great power needs to be received....and that something has been sent to this world and received.