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 will take some time for you to go through this but you would probably be well advised to take that time. It is made by Australians and mostly covers the Australian situation but obviously has connotations for the rest of the world.
You are asked to select the year of your birth for comparison purposes. If you are not too far through your lifespan there may not be much to compare. I suggest that you also try selecting my birth year – 1945 – especially if you are of the opinion that this is something not to be too concerned about.
Concern is a big thing with climate change. Scientists generally want you to be concerned, perhaps even a little scared – but not too scared – fearing the reaction that might ensue. So they tend to dampen down what they say on the subject to some extent. That is also evident here. For instance, the chance that the planet’s warming can be held down to a rise of 1.5°C is so low as to be considered negligible, and yet the concept of doing that is the only hope anyone can hold out to an increasingly alarmed public. They, the scientists who produce this type of report, must know, deep down, that this is not going to happen and it is kind of criminal to keep on holding out any hope for such. Just keep watching the emissions as they rise, not fall. Nobody wants or is prepared to live the kind of lifestyle that would be necessary to grant such a possibility. So, in the end we will get what we ask for, which, by default, is what will happen from our not working purposefully and collectively and quickly (even if we started right now) towards any different result.
I have struggled to find something worth talking about for the past few days.
The fate of our civilisation is cast in concrete – it’s going to crash, and is already in the process of doing so. So there is not much to talk about there until some major event occurs – probably next year.
Humanity is on an unstoppable path to decimation as a result of changing climate impacts set to deeply effect our ability to maintain life. Not much to report there, again until the crises become more apparent.
Never ending war has become a norm for 21st century life and, while no single conflict matches those of the 20th century, the lives of more people are disrupted now as a direct result of the greed and manipulations of a dying Western empire now than back then. We have become desensitized to these effects and, while the injustices still need to be broadcast, the task of doing so and the indifference shown by populations who have daily life-concerns of their own to fully occupy their attention, becomes tiresome and frustrating.
There is no shortage of corruption and crime to report, as also with the short-sighted, debilitating and self-binding pre-occupations of general society, hell-bent on racking up debt and the dulling of their senses through maximised consumerism and entertainment – a crime against ‘self’ and the slavery of others less fortunate, if nothing else.
But the hopelessness of the task of cutting through all that to reach some point of awareness in folks who do not want to be told that what they (and those who represent them) are doing is detrimental to their own well-being and mental health, becomes a thankless one and possibly something not beneficial to the welfare of those who undertake it – other than as a salve to their conscience that they at least tried to prompt change.
And so we enter that time of the year (as Kunstler suggests in his latest blog post – The Storms of December) known as ‘the holidays’ or the ‘festive season’. But the storm clouds are gathering, and the forecast looks anything but ‘merry and bright’.
I have chosen not to celebrate or in any way take part in these end-of-year merry-makings for some years now, but don’t let that impinge on your own plans. Just be aware that this may be the very last consumerist festive season ever. Hopefully we may then revert to the more logical choice of the celebrating of ‘seasonal’ changes made by the pagans of old – returning with new meaning and relevance. I could be persuaded to join in with that.
Almost a month ago I wrote this piece, moved by a simple streamed video. I know that I never finished the story but I cannot now breathe more life into it than I was able to do at the time. I therefore offer it exactly as when I left it. I hope it means something to you.
I just watched a short documentary produced by Australia’s ABC Foreign Correspondent program: “At the Edge of the Earth – Alaska”*. I don’t normally watch this show but I was just browsing to see if there was actually anything I would consider worth spending the time to see tonight. I couldn’t wait for tonight. A picture of three polar bears ensured that. Not that I am usually swayed by such images. You can’t afford to maintain attachments to anything these days. It all becomes too much to bear if you do. There’s no pun there. I meant what I said.
Anyway, I watched the show, and saw everything I believe, everything I have already let go of, everything or almost everything that I can foresee, confirmed once again before my eyes and in my heart. And it is so sad. So overwhelmingly sad to know that there is absolutely nothing that can stop it or turn it aside. Nothing.
I saw a people who are doing now the same things, living life more or less the same way they always have for many thousands of years. Nothing has changed except they now use oil to power their boats, guns instead of bows and arrows, and electricity for refrigeration, because there is no ice. No ice. That is the big change. And it is not of their doing. As the pragmatically feisty old lady says – “It is whatever it is they down south are doing” – that has changed everything. Civilisation. That is what is at the root of the problem. And there is nothing to be done. Nothing to stop it. It is already happening. Already in progress, and nothing can turn it around.
In this remote situation I saw the bubble that we are all in. That lady knew what is happening and yet is happy for the oil drilling to go ahead because it will provide jobs for her people. Is that not the same conundrum facing all earth’s peoples? We are all too intrinsically and inextricably tied up in what is happening to really want anything to change. These people have some among them who are mobilising to fight the continuing degradation of the environment that expansion of the oil industry brings. but just like similar people closer to the heart of civilisation their protest is futile. What they fear is already happening and they have the very same reasons as everyone else to need to hang on to the temporary benefits that it provides.
Temporary is the keyword to all of this. We want change but we don’t want the merry-go-round of the bubble in which we live to stop. even though we know it must. In this there is no difference between climate change demonstrators, climate change doubters or even the unconcerned.
The recurring theme in this short film is piles of bones. Animal bones. It is perfectly obvious that all the animals that make up these piles of bones, even the top predators, will eventually disappear, leaving only human bones, unburied human bones, to pile up as a last testament to a civilisation, however tightly or remotely grouped, that could not stop or prevent its own destruction. The show does not cover that part, nor will you read, hear or see it mentioned in 99.999% of anything placed for your consumption. That’s because the show must go on. The merry-go-round must keep turning …until it can’t.
Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK).
I have extracted a few notable quotes from this article but there is much more to be gained by reading it all.
“Last year it was unusual to claim that it is too late to stop runaway climate change damaging our agriculture to such an extent that it will lead to the breakdown of our societies within the next ten years.” – Jem Bendell
My view: Not so now, this year, reading the signs. I have also claimed, frequently, that it will not take ten years, but only two years (this and the next), before we witness this for ourselves. I am prepared of course to possibly extend that to ten, but at this stage I don’t think that will be necessary. Not at all. I also take into account that this process of collapse is not playing out evenly. There are nations and regions that are already in collapse (mostly from external instigation) and others (mostly less developed societies) for whom collapse may not even be noticed for quite a while longer. A general rule to watch for is the complexity of a society – where more things can go wrong more quickly, compounding as collapse develops.
“When people say “we need hope” they might be expressing their assumption that they themselves need a pleasant story of the future in order to avoid their own emotional pain – and avoid witnessing it in others.” – Jem Bendell
My view: “…we need hope…” (for a continuance of the way things are), but, brothers and sisters, let me tell you – there is none (for that).
“People may want to avoid believing societal collapse is inevitable in order to provide themselves with a psychological escape, so that they can still hope that someone or something will stop it happening somehow.” – Jem Bendell
My view: That is wishful fantasy on people’s part. We have been brought up on a cult of Super Heroes. Super Heroes don’t exist. But even if they did, they can’t (stop it), and it won’t (not happen).
“Looking at the current climactic changes, the rising emissions and habitat destruction, the biological impacts, the warming feedbacks, the agricultural impacts, the slowness of response, the intransigence of capitalism and its client politicians, and the cultural dependence on ideas of progress and control, and the rise of stories of blame that avoid reality and foster ignorance and hate, I think that “inevitable” societal collapse is a more accurate way of communicating my view that it is now unavoidable, than saying collapse is likely or near certain.” – Jem Bendell
As we bid goodbye to 2018 – and why wouldn’t we want to? – it is time to take a very brief – we don’t need to look too closely or we might become a little despondent – look at what the past year has been all about.
One thing, above all else, stands out from a crowded year. Human rights. Just about everything that has occurred this year has had at its core the subject of, neglect of, denial of, striving for or abuse of, human rights. I don’t think I need to go into all the specifics of these things. If you don’t agree with my assessment, stop wasting your time, go read somewhere else.
We, as a people today, place great emphasis on the rights of human beings, and consider it of such importance that organisations at all levels of human society have been set up to define and/or enforce what we think of as an unalienable and irrevocable part of our heritage within the human family. Yet the very fact that this has been thought necessary, speaks volumes as to the fragility of our position even amongst ourselves.
I pulled this quote, a brief definition of human rights, from the latest book I am reading, which was the final ‘spark’ I needed to write this piece:
‘…rights to the benefits of culture, to property, to the preservation of health, life, physical integrity, security, and a means of subsistence, and to residence, movement, and inviolability of the home.’
– Lynas, Mark. Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (p. 75). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Let us ask ourselves the question: If we require, for peace of mind and physical well-being , such rules of law around our personal rights, enforcible, though quite obviously often ignored, waived, or indeed frequently and rudely stomped on, among the human community, even now, in what is supposed to be an enlightened age of cultural enrichment, economic prosperity and advanced technological progress –
a) How will, or do, we fare as but a small though influential part of the natural world and life of our home planet, when that natural world presents itself as less benign or implacable, and much more forcefully antagonistic to our shared existence here than it has fortuitously been in the recent past of our living memory?
b) How will we fare on this issue in a time when our ‘enlightened age of cultural enrichment, economic prosperity and advanced technological progress’ is somehow removed or ripped away from our grasp and we are plunged into a state of much lowered expectations or even into a ‘survival of the fittest’ situation?
I feel sure you will understand to what I am referring there. The two most pressing of a whole bunch of unwelcome strangers knocking at our door – Climate Change and Imminent Economic Collapse. The former being a now unstoppable inevitability which is even now breaking down the last barriers of natural resistance to thoroughly overwhelm us in the immediate to long term future – like it or not. The latter almost as inevitable because of our innate inability to stop and think about what we are doing, leave alone any possibility that we may unilaterally decide to change our way of life to accept ‘less’. The usual obscene spending spree of the past week, pledges to that thought.
These things, either acting separately or together, will bring to an end once and for all the question of human rights, bringing with them an eventual, perhaps even an abrupt, overturning of all that has come to mean human society and civilisation. And without that overarching structure in place at all levels of human society, the concept of ‘rights’ will have no meaning – at least for a while – and think, if you have any concept of history, how long a struggle it has been to get to where we are today of those issues, and how relatively ineffective that progress is even today.
So, what have we to look forward to, as the page of history turns once more?
Hh-hh-hh-hh-h. (that was a resigned and suppressed – no heaving of either chest or shoulders – chuckle)
Welcome to 2019, which may well be the year that marks the end of human rights.
…and here, from Wondermom Wannabe, and not more than a hint of sarcasm from me, is the opportunity for you to record the highlights of your life – in a free, printable, review of 2018…
There is so much crap online these days in supposedly ‘Clean, Green, Eco-aware, Environment-Friendly, Forward-Thinking, Concerned, Activist’ sites like The Climate Reality Project, that the situation is unbelievable. Someone has to be kidding. That site should be called ‘The Climate Con Project’.
Do I sound like a denialist? Well, I am not. Quite the contrary. I am a realist who knows the dangers that humanity faces from out of control climate change. I do not subscribe to wishy-washy so-called plans or agreements to stop, slow-down, handle, turn-around, eliminate, mitigate, or in any other way affect climate change. All such efforts, or at least the ones always put forward, spoken or argued about, are entirely meaningless and ineffective. They are, in short, a con…
Tell me, what has anything, anything at all, any little thing, any huge big thing, any aspect whatsoever, concerning the electricity grid got to do with stopping climate change? Eh? What? If you said anything at all, you were wrong, whatever it was you said. Unless what you said was something like “Nothing at all”.
The electricity grid is all about adding to climate change, no matter how it is powered. The electricity grid has nothing to do with stopping climate change. Nothing at all. To say, or imply, that it has, is the biggest lie that we, the gullible public, are being conned into believing. It is the big “Renewables Is The Answer” fraud.
Now, if we were to do away with the electricity grid, entirely, altogether, completely, then that might have some effect in slowing down (not stopping) climate change. But that is not even on the table is it? We are not being asked to do that at all, are we?
They think we are fools. Well, they might be right there, generally speaking. I don’t hear many voices saying what I have just said. There are a few, but mostly we just suck up whatever people like Climate Reality tell us, if we listen to anything at all or give the matter any thought time.
So, what’s the answer? Well, shutting down the electricity grid would be a start, but it is only a small aspect of what in total contributes to climate change. There are a lot of other things that we would need to stop doing in addition to that. If you think about it. If you care enough to start to think about it. That’s the secret, they don’t expect us to think about anything much at all. We are held in thrall, dummyfied, by the bread and circuses of modern life that have been provided just for that purpose.
Break out! Live! Think! Read! And don’t be taken in by their distractions. It will kill you.
…I didn’t finish, as you may have noticed, what I was saying earlier. So, finally, what do I see as being a solution? What do I stand for? Firstly, there are no solutions (so don’t waste your time, energy and money on any such thing). Secondly, I stand for Adaptation (the preparing for the unknown future as best as can be done, while leaving behind all that has been accumulated in the past, freeing yourself from attachment to the past. That is where to invest your time, energy and money).
I’m not going to say anything, other than pose the question – “When are people going to accept this and stop trying to fix climate change?”
I will leave Bill McKibben to explain the situation: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry. Not that he reaches the same conclusions as I do. No climate change expert does, or perhaps none of them dares to express those views (except perhaps the mad scientists at AMEG and also Guy McPherson – not that I want to identify with him and, come to think of it, he is one of those mad scientists at AMEG).
It is patently clear that if we do nothing, by simply carrying on the way things are, climate agreements or no climate agreements, we are doomed to fry (maybe ‘dessicate’ is a better description) eventually if we are not starved or bludgeoned to death by natural forces first. Or possibly we could go out in a gigantic aerial explosion that burns up the atmosphere. Please note, I have no scientific basis for that last remark, just that an increasingly methane filled atmosphere, mixed with oxygen, must be a very dangerous place to live and breathe. I offer that simply as a casual thought.
It is also patently clear that if we were to come to our senses and power down our global society and all live like it was the nineteenth century, then most or all of us would still be stuffed because we just couldn’t do it and even if a gallant remnant were able to adapt sufficiently to make a go of it, it probably wouldn’t alter the planetary outcome anyway in a timescale that would be of any benefit to us.
It is also patently clear that if we all agreed to an immediate global power down but first we would do some geo-engineering to slow down the rate of climate change (as the mad scientists at AMEG and others would recommend), the effect or side-effects of doing that would make our power-down gesture meaningless.
In other words, basically, we’re trapped with no way out.
So much for me not going to say anything.
Just for effect, I will finish with my original question: “When are people going to accept this and stop trying to fix climate change?”
Photo credit: The Indian Point energy center in Buchanan, New York. Ricky Flores/AP
This could be considerably worse that they are currently admitting.
And… just to put it in context, what happens when the electricity grid eventually fails due to poor infrastructure maintenance, lack of natural resources (oil and coal, yes, nuclear power generation relies on the grid to keep operating), war, climate upheaval, civil insurrection, financial or general economic collapse, lack of trained workers, revolt of trained workers or terrorist activity?
All of those 99 nuclear power plants in the US would suffer meltdown (just like Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, among others), if not in the reactor itself then in the cooling ponds. Much of the US will become uninhabitable when any of those things occur. That is why, I think, they have military forces scattered over the whole world. They will soon need, and not just because of the nuclear contamination risk, somewhere else to park their people. That US Marine battalion up in the north of Australia is not just there for this country’s protection. Not that Australia will remain habitable for long either, except for Tasmania and perhaps a few small areas up north.
It has been three years since I first saw this amazing video. It was hard to convince anybody about the reality of climate change back then. Few were interested. That has changed some, a little, now, I guess, and as the next year and years roll out, that interest will continue to grow, simply because we won’t be able to ignore the facts as they confront us ever more disruptively.
It has been three years, but I still haven’t seen the entire Chasing Ice video. There is a good reason for that. Human greed and the need to make money, even out of such tragedies as the melting of Earth’s poles. This dramatic footage was not shot for the public good. If it were, it would have been distributed freely. The fact that it hasn’t been, is a human failure to comprehend the trouble that we are in as a species. Commerce and money tops that sort of thing and dominates all else, every time. As a result, I doubt if many would even remember the Chasing Ice movie today because very few would ever have seen it around the world. That, in itself, is a tragedy.
Still, it’s nice to have even this short video to give us the opportunity to grasp the portents of the climate carnage that we have released on ourselves. Watch it full-screen. Feel the immense power of nature. And tremble at what awaits us as our coastal infrastructure becomes torn apart and buried by and under rising tides in the coming years.