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Living Like It Matters: Silver Linings in the Very Dark Cloud of Climate Catastrophe


Living Like It Matters: Silver Linings in the Very Dark Cloud of Climate Catastrophe

Elizabeth West

We actually do not have all the time in the world, so I am going to be bold. What you do after you finish reading this is your business and ultimately, that is exactly as it should be. We may all be facets of a larger Oneness, tiny sparks of the Divine dwelling in human form, but for the moment—allowing the potential truth of a larger connection--we are very clearly individuals, each with our own experience and outlook. We have our own ways of coping and to some extent, each of us charts a unique course through this life.

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Personally i have opted for the hedonistic approach.
I have decided to retire prematurely, and am in the process of liquidating my last holding company.
What little time i have left i intend to spend doing whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

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We’ve gone on as who we’ve been led to be

Can we go out as who we would want to be?



You are absolutely right and what you’ve written needs to be written, spoken, known.Thank you.
Our end is something my spouse and I have long recognized (we are older). We continue as we’ve been: loving, grateful and aware. However we also live as though we have some time, more than 10 years. No postponing of what matters, but also no holding back as there may not be enough time; more like we know vesuvius will happen, not knowing when, we live now. I would like us to die at the same time, in each others arms. I wish my adult children would also be with us, but that will not be.

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Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving.
But how can they know it’s time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming.
I have no thought of time.
Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving.
Ah, but then you know it’s time for them to go.
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving.
I do not count the time.
And I am not alone while my love is near me.
I know it will be so, until it’s time to go.
So come the storms of winter
and then the birds in spring again,
I have no fear of time,
For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?



Good grief dear liberals…

While certainly there is a chance of facing an accidental weather-related death which is statistically attributable to al warming. Very few people in Ms. West’s gathering of probably mostly middle-aged west-coast liberal bourgeois types - or anybody else in global economic north alive today is going to die in a world-ending climate catastrophe over the current normal human life span.

The urgency of addressing global warming NOT about personal survival. I anticipate dying sometime in the next 25 years maximum from cancer or cardiovascular disease. The urgency of addressing global warming is no about us privileged white people. It is about:

  1. On the short term (now to 2100) many people dying in the climatologically and economically far less-resilient global south - from heat waves, famine, and severe storms.

  2. On the long term, the generations of the future centuries beyond 2100 - where the suitability of the earth to support humans everywhere will gradually become degraded.

It is this long-term thinking - caring for the impacts of what we are doing _now on descendants and other sentient living things long after we are gone that needs to be cultivated. Otherwise, we are setting ourselves up for dismissals for “crying wolf”, while our opponents continue their Louis XIV (apre moi, le deluge) act.



Hoo boy. Where does one even begin to address your comment:

Yes, it is true that the people at this party were overreacting a bit much, but…

  1. The coming climate change is both much greater and explosively more rapid than the one at the end of the Pleistocene. I refer you to this:


  1. Also, it was a change from cold to temperate. The current change will be from temperate to hot - uninhabitably hot in some of the most densely populated parts of the earth. As the diverse fauna of the Pleistocene shows, life adapts to cold far more easily than heat.

  2. Also, the population of the earth was tiny at the end of the Pleistocene and not so nearly agriculture-dependent.

  3. So you accept incredible human suffering - probably decimation of human populations based on the fact that some lucky or inventive humans will survive?

We really don’t know how bad things will become on the centuries to millienia time scale under a “continued acceleration-of-carbon-extraction-till it is-all-gone” scenario that seems to be what the economic interests backing Trump and the other rising plutocrat-fascists around the world seem to be proposing. Fracking and unconventional oil technology has rendered past estimates obsolete. There have never been any natural process in the earth’s history that is moving so much carbon so rapidly and efficiently into the atmosphere (and probably even worse - the seas) as the human fossil-fuel economy. The P-Tr mass extinction 151 MY ago due to geologically rapid CO2 and possibly methane emissions was bad enough - 90 percent of all species got wiped out.

An uninhabitably hot earth is a real possibility on the long term. Catastrophic possibilities, even if low, warrant urgent and major action in the development of fossil-fuel free economic infrastructure - particularly when the kinds of action will for the most part be economically beneficial, as all new technological revolutions (and accompanying economic-system revolutions) have been.

These could be really exciting times to be alive - if only you weren’t so afraid of someone taking away your SUV…



Of course it’s depressing and everything from here on in, in terms of the climate is going to be very depressing. The CO 2 numbers are fact. The CO 2 latency period of decades is fact. The Methane numbers are fact. The feedback loops are fact. The melting ice is fact. The ocean and land temp increases are fact. Exponential as a mathematical concept is fully understandable. Global dimming is a fact. The baseline is 1750, not 1850 and we are easily past 1.5 C and already very near 2.0; actually 4.0 in the Arctic where it really matters. There are known temperature numbers for decline and failure of agriculture which we are now flirting with. The world population continues to grow as does the use of fossil fuels. The 6th mass extinction is factually underway. Literally nothing of a meaningful nature was done 40 years ago when it mattered and nothing is being done or will be done even now when it is too late. Human beings will vanish from this planet in very short order, probably years…



Well said Yunzer.
While time frames are the only issue that may really separate scientists and scientific speculation, there are certain facts that impact that discussion. Jonathan_Odlum’s comment above nicely sums up the facts of CC. Our understanding of CC is rapidly evolving. I mean who foresaw the stodgy assembly of people at the IPCC essentially cut their previous time estimates of catastrophe in half? The IPCC’s report did not account for the feedback loops, yet these feedbacks are occurring as we sit here. These feedbacks are the “exponent” to whatever it is we currently agree is happening in our Climate.
Regardless of the outcome, the here and now is what we have to deal with.
I believe every living thing will be dealing with the “livable heat” and :“survivable heat” thresholds- measured locally- and this will drive our lives individually and collectively for the foreseeable future. :wink:



Nope. Back in the 70’s climate science was in its infancy so there were many discussions about it’s cause and which direction it was going. The myth that science predicted an ice age when it was actually maybe one or 2 _scientists who were concerned about the rise of air pollutants. The myth that all of science held this view was promoted by dipshits like Dennis Miller. .
Read about it here:
Oh- because I’m “new”, they wont let me put in a link, so go to arstechnica…com and search for the “70s-myth-did-climate-science-really-call-for-a-coming-ice-age” article". from 6/7/16



Ha!!you. Are going to feed 7.5 billion people. …in an UNPREDICTABLE climate…and…much of “what” will kill us…will not necessarily come from the climate catastrophe…no…I will come from all the conflict and competition for resources…the diseases …the nuclear power plants ts rhat will go down with the lack of water…ir …people to Man them…you really should do more home work… "Loss of phyto plankton…I your understanding of any of this…for example?..you do know what they don’t us .right?.. or. How bad off the oceans are . And how we will deal with keeping our children alive …and also …well fed …oh and …have you seen the studies that excess Co 2 in the atmosphere…has a negative effect on intelligence…that will pair nicely with the ossnof oxygen…here it is…loss of phyto plankton I…which makes 40% of our oxygen. We have evolved in about 22% in the atmosphere…all we have to do get down to 18-19%. …and …we are done…



…and remember…477 + nuclear power plants…that’s right …our death certificate was signed…long ago.



Wow…another kne…read.my response to Derek Maddox. …and…have you HEARD of the Sixth Mass extinction?? And…meaning. As particular species for …Life in this planet…begins to unravel.



How do people get the Nembutal?