As much as one wants to wish the youth climate leaders every success on their March 15 global climate strike, in a recent essay, Britain’s Tim Watkins, a social and economic scientist with a background in public policy, examines in detail the terrifying predicament youth, and all humanity, face in trying to prevent planetary collapse. Consider, too, that “even the cleverest of adults struggles to understand the full complexity of our predicament.”
Here’s a small sample of what students will be up against.
For starters, Watkins declares that “… few of our political leaders are taking their [students] protests seriously.”
A possible showstopper is that students are at an immediate disadvantage because they are unlikely to understand “the full scope of the human impact crisis that is breaking over us. The phrase ‘Earth System’ refers to the entirety of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes. Climate is just one element of this system and if we focus on that alone, we will misunderstand the complexity of the danger."
In brief, here’s the dilemma humanity faces, and students must understand — To avert collapse, resulting in the deaths of more than six in every seven humans on Earth, every person on the planet would have to immediately stop using fossil fuels. However, if we stop using fossil fuels that supply 85% pf Earth’s power, our oil-dependent economy will collapse, causing a global famine that will kill more than six in every seven humans worldwide.
Thus, reducing our problem to climate change, then to CO2, and finally to measuring emissions only at the point of energy production is a dramatic misrepresentation of our dilemma. Slowing climate change is crucial but navigating its challenges is only possible if it is understood as just one facet of planetary overshoot.
Finally, consider the irony of the students’ protest — Their global protest march demands an unwarranted faith in do-nothing governments. “When our school students call upon government to ‘do something’ to address climate change (itself a mere subset of the growing collapse) they [students] must engage in a high degree of denial [themselves] to overlook the fact that the government they are calling upon is made up of rank incompetents.”
Here’s a Shortlink to Watkins’ essay — https://wp.me/pO0No-4D0