This week’s cover story at Time is climate change and they seem worried: By Any Measure, Earth Is At … The Tipping Point:
Polar Ice Caps Are Melting Faster Than Ever… More And More Land Is Being Devastated By Drought… Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities… By Any Measure, Earth Is At … The Tipping Point
The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis hit so soon–and what we can do about it
No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you’ve heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.
It certainly looked that way last week as the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry–a Category 5 storm with wind bursts that reached 180 m.p.h.–exploded through northeastern Australia. It certainly looked that way last year as curtains of fire and dust turned the skies of Indonesia orange, thanks to drought-fueled blazes sweeping the island nation. It certainly looks that way as sections of ice the size of small states calve from the disintegrating Arctic and Antarctic. And it certainly looks that way as the sodden wreckage of New Orleans continues to molder, while the waters of the Atlantic gather themselves for a new hurricane season just two months away. Disasters have always been with us and surely always will be. But when they hit this hard and come this fast–when the emergency becomes commonplace–something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming.
As I often say in regards to the corporate media finally covering a story, better late than never. But why is it that they so often wait until the problem is so obvious? They say suddenly and unexpectedly? Um, no. No, I don’t think so. Many of us have been saying for many years that these days were coming but it was an inconvenient truth to be ignored until there was no other choice. We can expect the same with other serious problems such as peak oil. In the short term it’s easier to ignore the problem, pretend it does not exist and hope that it will not rear it’s ugly head in our lifetimes. Better to leave these messes we’re creating to our grand children or great-grand children. Well, surprise surprise, these problems are showing up in your lifetime.
These two problems, climate change and peak oil, are deeply interconnected, and we should remember that as we craft solutions. Had we taken the advice of environmentalists 20 or 30 years ago we would, at this moment, have a better energy and climate situation. Instead, citizens chose convenience and capitalists (as we would expect) chose to maximize short term profits. Sustainability was not a part of the equation and now we will suffer. The day will come when we realize that government, bought and paid for by capital, will never put forward the best solutions to our social and ecological problems.
If we want solutions we’re going to have to actively develop a radically different society. We’re not talking about new laws or a half-assed jump to a new technology such as ethanol. Everything about our current lives must change. Everything. To sum it up, we’ll need to decentralize, localize our energy and food production as well as the production and consumption of goods. Malls and boxmarts are over as are the shelves of shit they sell.
My guess is that Americans are far too stupid and stubborn to make these radical changes to their lifeway willingly. No, most will do nothing until they are literally forced by reality to adapt and it won’t be pretty.