We haven’t seen anything yet of course on what the full effects of our disturbed global climate will bring, and not all of them will be visible in the early stages. Actually, I don’t think anyone knows just what lies ahead for us at this stage. We have estimates and opinions, but I think when we get to experience the reality we can be assured that we are not going to like the conditions we have to live through and many of us, perhaps even most of us, will have curtailed lives directly as a result of it. We certainly will not be living the same way that we do now.
And I have to say this yet again – it doesn’t really matter whether we try to assuage the worst effects through climate action. You can’t stop 200 years of built up climate abuse in a few years of even determined effort – and the total human effort so far to prevent or even diminish what we think will occur, is far from determined. In fact you would be challenged to actually find any effective action anywhere.
It seems to be a truism, and probably is, that ‘mankind is its own worst enemy’. If that is so, then the modern ‘climate movement’ comes a close second.
I agree almost totally with what Raúl Ilargi Meijer of The Automatic Earth says in his ‘Go Home Greta’ post. I do believe that Greta Thunberg is a well-intentioned young woman – well, not quite a young woman just yet – and much of what she says is true, but it is not the whole story by any means. And Ilargi is quite correct to say that she is being used as a public image for what evil and manipulative commercial interests see as a hugely rewarding profit source and possibly a lifeline for their very continuation as other interests on which they have relied for so long fade into insignificance.
Davos is not the place to champion any form of… (pause, while I try to think of what Greta is doing there) …of what? Climate action? Seems reasonable. But then there actually is no forum anywhere …including the UN… for championing such. The global climate action envisaged by corporate interests would actually see an end to all life on Earth. I’m sure that is not what Greta wants to see.
Ilargi has it partly right by questioning the motives and commitment of the upcoming child-to-adult generation.
“If you don’t start with yourself, how are you ever going to tell others what to do? How many phones and gadgets and cars do you have? Do your clothes also say Made in China? Personal question.”
And that is what is really at the heart of the problem – ‘people‘. Though Ilargi does not, perhaps understandably, seem to want to go near that issue in this piece.
People are just beginning to realise that there is a problem. What they may not have realised just yet is that they are the problem. You are the problem. I am the problem. All (in less than 3 years time) 8 billion of us humans are the problem. Or at least somewhere between six or seven eighths (that’s between 6 and 7 billion of us) are the problem.
There are too many of us and if we care to look back to the time when no human was the problem (things were going along just swimmingly – wars and famines and droughts, along with slavery and exploitation, persecution, torture and execution – all the usual human activities), we will find that just before the industrial era began, some two centuries ago or a little earlier, Earth’s ideal population level (unbolstered by the energy sources we have unleashed since that time) was around one to one and a half billion – having been more or less stable at that level (apart from the occasional near-extinction situation where at one point, not many ten-thousands of years ago, it is estimated only some 500 females of child-bearing age were still left alive) for hundreds of thousands of years.
So, we have at the very least quadrupled our population numbers (perhaps double that) over those two centuries of progress powered by the excess energy that we enabled and over-used and abused to the detriment of both ourselves and our environment. And until we come to terms with the implications arising from that realisation, no amount of mitigation, adaptation, or the seeking of ‘solutions’ is going to be worth a ‘hill of beans’ with regard to our newly perceived plight.
The only viable solution now, and it doesn’t mean that we can escape the consequence of our ‘dumb’ actions of the past two centuries, is that some 6 to 7 billion of us have to go the way of the Dodo. And pretty quickly.
There are two and I think only two mildly acceptable ways to potentially achieve that.
One is to do nothing, which also includes taking the sort of climate action that commercial interests want to see. That will fairly quickly result in a natural cull of humanity as our planet burns, floods, erupts and in a variety of ways withholds those necessities of life that currently sustain so many of us – food, water, shelter. calm. Leaving us with few inhabitable places to seek refuge until the Earth restores some form of balance – which could take centuries, or longer.
The other way is twofold. First we must increase the death rate. Humanity will continue to grow indefinitely given the right circumstances and it is only the difference between the birth and death rates that can regulate that. We must make it easier to die. Chiefly by not prolonging life artificially – which we will not be in a position to do anyway quite soon, as energy dwindles and pharmaceuticals (non-naturally occurring or perhaps even all) can no longer be made. That will help. Then we must prevent as far as possible all new births. At least for the best part of a generation, perhaps even longer. Again, with no modern health services remaining, this will naturally shrink back to pre-industrial levels. Though we may not have time to see that effectively come about naturally.
Yes, I know this all sounds extreme, and would perhaps even be impossible or impracticable to undertake. There is always alternative one, and that may be enough – though it will not be our choice in the matter. Perhaps a merging of the two at some level can be accommodated. What we must not allow to happen is for some World Government to oversee the process.
I hope you will at least agree with me that the party now is really over. There is only the cleaning up left to do. And you all know the distaste we all feel about doing that. Suck it up, princess.
“The world I want is a world that does not subjugate, does not separate, does not monger fear and inadequacy in order to control. The world I dream of has clean air, clean water, does not poison its people. Instead it educates them, gives them room and space to dream. It respects the plants and animals that share our planet, does not see them as resources to be exploited but as sacred things to be exalted and protected.”
Now, I dislike promoting anything to do with TED Talks, which have morphed into something akin to meaningless, through overuse and manipulation, but I wanted to use the above quote from this article on Medium since it resonates somehow with my own views, so I have let my dislikes slide this time and for this purpose.
The article starts off well, with the title “We’ve Already Reached the Tipping Point on Global Warming”, but then attempts to stir and warm our hearts by comparing us to icebergs and gee-ing us up to do something. A noble gesture, but somehow crazy. Yet worth the read.
If the climate tipping point has been reached, and I have no doubt that it has, then attempting to turn that situation around with platitudes, singing choruses of ‘Kumbaya’ while holding hands in a circle, promoting global climate talk-fests or pretty much anything else to “right this ship and chart a better course” in “service of this planet”, god, humanity, or any other lost cause, is really oxymoronic, pointless, and equivalent to trying to stop a rolling iceberg (see the video).
Face the facts people. If any of us (or our descendants) are to live through the next several years, decades or centuries, then most of us have to die first. And soon. And those that remain (if there are any), need to remember why. They will also need to learn or relearn how to live in very different circumstances to how we have lived.
Photo: Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced on Thursday the mine would proceed. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Well of course they did that. They have an industrial economy to preserve don’t they? Bugger the environment. Bugger the consequences. They did what’s best for jobs. They did what’s best for our way of life. They did what’s best for a struggling economy to keep staggering along for a few more months or years.
Isn’t that what we all want, deep down? No? Then why aren’t you all out on the streets raising hell about it?
Me? I used to be like all these people getting steamed up about government ineptitude and corporate complicity. I attended a few climate rallies. Wrote letters to government ministers. Signed petitions. Contributed to action funds. What good did it do?
Now? I couldn’t give a fuck. I’m just waiting for the whole shaky edifice to come tumbling down around our ears. I don’t think I will need to wait for much longer.
I was going to include the photo from the above article (It’s always nice to have a picture to look at), but I couldn’t in all conscience do that. Have a look at it and then read on to find out why. I’ve added a little colour to compensate.
“Coal’s days are numbered and the sooner we face up to that the better.” says Ross Gittins, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Economics Editor.
I remember saying something similar myself, at least once not so long ago.
There is absolutely no reason not to stop expanding the coal industry right now.
‘The effect that would have on jobs‘ is not a valid reason. Jobs are only a temporary and recent phenomena (and need to go also).
‘The effect that would have on our economy‘ is not a valid reason. Our economy is only a temporary and recent phenomena (and needs to go also).
‘We wouldn’t be able to generate electricity‘ is not a valid reason. True, but still invalid. Electricity is only a temporary and recent phenomena (and needs to go also; what? please no, not electricity; sorry, but yes).
All those folks chanting about ‘climate action’ and ‘renewables’, are doing so without the slightest idea of what they are asking for. Unless we just keep on doing exactly what we are doing now (working our butts off, mining like there is no end to it, living it up with our modern lifestyle), for as long as we can that is (and I am not advocating that as a valid course of action, quite the contrary), then few, if any, of those things that we enjoy today will be available to us in the future that ensues.If my meaning appears a little obscure, try reading the previous sentence without the bits in parentheses, just the coloured parts.
Very few people, I think, actually get that. Well, we’d better all start thinking about it …and forget the starry eyes and rose coloured glasses of those who think that by human endeavour and ingenuity, technology, and if we continue to believe that if we reach for the stars, we will somehow get there. Those people are living in dreamworld.
We just cannot expect to achieve the conditions that would be necessary to at allow some sort of chance to obtain a reasonable climate for the foreseeable future and, at the same time, maintain the sort of lifestyles that we expect, and probably could no longer live without, today.
So. Not only should we cease contemplating the expansion of coal, we should stop digging it up anywhere, at all, for any reason. At least until there are just few enough of us left, that whether we chop down a few trees for building and firewood, or dig up a bit of easily obtainable coal here and there, or even stumble across a few pools of oil somewhere, it is not going to make a difference at all to the climate. ‘Few enough‘ being the operating phrase there …and therein lies the root of our real problem, soon (well, maybe over a few generations) to be solved.
Oh, did you find why I didn’t include the picture? It’s promoting that good old ‘renewables’ myth again 🙂