This is also part of the new normal. This comes early and never leaves. Famine, war, civil conflicts and all the rest from plagues to pandemics, all join with catastrophic climate change to make us wish that we hadn’t let it get so bad so quickly!
How many times can the Caribbean rebuild after the destruction of each succeeding hurricane season? Will Houston rebuild if this level of destruction comes every year? How much can we afford before we begin to say there is not enough money to keep rebuilding? Meanwhile the world’s economy is also thrown into permanent turmoil. Can other countries repair the damage to their cities year after year? As went Houston so went Bangladesh.
Long before we as a species are ‘doomed’, the world’s catastrophe economy will knock us for a loop and we will not be able to recover like we are able to right now. The new normal of climate change will be preceded by the new normal of repetitious disasters and the breakdown of our society.
It may come so much faster than we ever anticipated too. Sadly we have an arrogant fool who will leave us ill prepared as our president. These years when we might have done so much have instead been wasted.
It won’t be fun.
UN report blames armed conflicts, climate change for rise in world hunger. Does the sky-rocketing in world billionaires to over 2,000 world billionaires in 2017 (Forbes) holding close to $8,000,000,000,000 of the worlds money have any bearing, as in some sort of cause and effect? Can you get super rich, without someone getting super, starvation, hungry?
My goodness, people are getting glum! Chris Hedges sets a new standard in we’re-fucked commentary with each successive essay, Naomi Klein just wrote the most despairing piece I’ve seen from her, and now even Wereflea is hopping on the doomsayer bandwagon.
It reminds me of Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some more enlightened souls seem to be making the transition from the third to the fourth stage right now.
As much as I cringe at delusional hopes - such as the hope that market mechanisms are on the verge of realizing greater profits from renewables and green growth - I retain enough compassion despite it all to keep hoping there might be some kind of true hope. After all, what would be the point of writing about this stuff if there’s absolutely no hope?
But in order to retain my stamina in the face of steep odds, I need to ironically let go, and embrace impermanence. Just as no individual is permanent, neither is any species. It’s not that I don’t care. But I derive equanimity from attempting to be okay with however things turn out, equanimity which is a precious resource in fighting the good fight.
I have long been early in saying that we are late. Decades ago I got a name as a doom and gloomer however, these days I recognize that I had been the cheery optimist in that it is worse than I thought it would be. It is the astounding rapidity of the changes arriving at our doorstep along with their vast scope that scares me. It isn’t that there is no hope but it is that humanity will somehow manage to place a Trump in office that is so dismaying. We could do so much better environmentally but instead we delay and deny with greeedy abandon.
Trump is heartbreaking but there he is just the same. We extend our errors unnecessarily! Is that Karma? Kind of looks like it but who knows?
To need to worry about an impending nuclear war at this point is bizarre enough. Hope is a necessity and always will be. We could do much better! There lies hope. I know that we could do much better. There lies my hope that we are able to do better technologically and so knowing that we can, I hope that we will!
Good luck kiddies either way!
Hip hip hooray to technology, and all its wonderful emptiness. More Devo (de-evolution) music sounds more hopeful.
… but, as usual, we can ignore Zero Population Growth… and the little detail that current humans use up sustainable resources in about 6-8 months each year.
Animals are programmed for aggression and reproduction … worked so well for millions of years.
Infinite growth on a finite planet …
Huston will rebuild as long as someone bails them out …
Thanks for this. I was halfway expecting you to take my words about impermanence the wrong way, and instead your response was surprisingly lovely.
More than our lamentable leadership, I’m worried about average attitudes. It’s just really hard to get across to folks the enormity of what’s going on. The Anthropocene isn’t just another internet meme, it’s a very real, unpredictable geologic epoch which will last longer than humans have been on Earth - a turning point not only for us, but for the whole planet in deep time. Meanwhile I hear folks (in this forum) worrying about the social consequences of cutting way back on energy consumption. It reminds me of the band continuing to play as the Titanic sinks.
I’m thinking that mass starvation and subsequent death are exactly the goal of TPTB. If they could just wipe out ‘the little people…’
To avoid catastrophic climate change was never the result of personal decisions (plastic or paper in effect) but strictly those of a much greater order of magnitude as in governmental and corporate decisions and significant changes to the world’s economy if not our society as a whole. I am not one to blame Johnny for eating that hamburger but I do blame our system for allowing Amazonian jungle to be cut down to provide grazing.
Everything we do can be done in better ways. The problem is at the high end in corporate offices and regulatory department conference rooms where bottom line decisions are made with little concern for the environment instead of long term sustainable decisions like we should make! Unfortunately we have delayed or stalled in facing scientific facts until we have little or no choice but to face the deleterious effects of our foolish obtuseness. We saw climate change and yet persisted in pretending that we couldn’t be sure that it mattered. No I fear that we not only pretended that we were blind but in fact, we greatly underestimated the rapidity and magnitude of the changes we face.
It is here that I feel personal responsibility comes into play. We cannot excuse our willingness to enjoy the fruits of climate change denial. We do need to make our preferences known to government and corporate decision makers… and the time is getting very late indeed to do that. Notice how it will take governmental level changes like the prohibition of fossil fuel powered cars to make those significant changes. People could have bought these cars but that is too slow. Instead they will have to buy them and a major source of pollutants will be removed from the environment thereby.
As to impermanence? All things must pass but then we need not squander or waste beauty that we already have. Some things need to be preserved whether or not we all agree on which ones or how much.
That is not a guaranteed outcome. While it is unlikely that the damage caused by Harvey will be repeated year after year from now on, still it actually is possible. In any case horrific storms and catastrophic amounts of rain will return sooner or later. In only a few short years, we may find that Houston will have to endure floods like these on a regular basis. Residents will not have the resources to keep rebuilding after yearly catastrophes. They won’t be able to afford the insurance for example that they will need. People will move inland. This could start to happen in a decade for places hard hit like Houston but will already be happening in the Caribbean. Contrast that freedom of choice with that of people in Bangladesh where they do not have the monetary resources to relocate.
As yet we will rebuild. We would rebuild if it all happened again next year too. That would soon change if it happened a third year or fourth and so forth.
I think the danger is of simple (though lethal) neglect rather than any overt intended consequence. I doubt that anyone would take steps to get rid of the little people. What I do fear is that far too many would refuse to take steps to save them.
Does the U.N. communication announcing the goal take into account the large increase in carbon fuel usage and the associated greenhouse gas pollution that would result from constructing and employing the huge number of ships, trains and trucks that would be needed to re-distribute the world’s food supply more-or-less equitably? It may seem like a noble goal – but even if politically achievable, I doubt it could be accomplished
in the real world. And I have doubts as to whether there really IS enough food available even today, much less by the time this hypothetical distribution system has been created and the world’s population has increased by another 25 or 30 percent and urban sprawl has eaten up another 10 or 15 percent of the world’s richest farmland . . .
The above is an approximation – maybe even a slight exaggeration – but the figures are getting worse, not better, each year . . .
IIRC, a lengthy drought in Syria and the inability of the Assad government to deal with the crisis was a major cause – not an effect – of the civil war there. Of course the conflict has made the situation even worse.
But that amounts to pretty much the same thing, doesn’t it? Except that the neglectors can feign innocence more easily – “Who? ME?? I didn’t do anything bad.” Just imagine HRC or Tweetle-Dumb sacrificing even one of their mansions in order to provide assistance to some starving “deplorables” in West Virginia . . .
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish."