Thursday, June 16, 2011

We are so screwed

I probably shouldn't have brought Bill McKibben's Eaarth:Making a Life on a Tough New Planet with me on vacation because it's not exactly beach reading. McKibben points out quite cogently that we've already passed the tipping point, climate change isn't something that future generations will have to figure out how to prevent -- it's already happening, and what we need to be doing now is figuring out how to live with the consequences and maybe, if we're incredibly smart and lucky, managing to reverse some of the damage.

Personally, and I hate to be such a pessimist, I'm thinking more and more that the only thing that could cause a significant reversal would be a major plague. The biggest problem for the planet and the other lifeforms we share it with is too many people and not enough resources to go around: not enough food, not enough water, not enough "green" energy. I was watching the news the other day, and Al Jazeera had an interesting report on the food crisis in Mexico:  prices are climbing, and it's putting a real squeeze on the populace. Mexico's economy isn't exactly booming -- if it was, we wouldn't have undocumented Mexican immigrants picking onions in Georgia or hanging drywall in Omaha -- so people have become economic refugees. Now multiply Mexico's problem by multiple countries: for example, what got the Egyptians so fired up about getting rid of Mubarek? Rising food prices. The news media made a big deal about huddled masses yearning to breathe free, but the on-the-ground reality was a crap economy and the high price of bread. Desperate hungry people do desperate things.

And why are food prices rising? Climate change. Droughts, floods, and other weirdness. Wheat crops get wiped out in Australia, prices on the global market climb, and people go hungry in countries half a planet away and riot in Cairo.

I've never understood the people who want to argue climate change. What is the downside of behaving as though all those scientists who say it's happening are right?  We're stuck with a cleaner, more livable world? We end up with cities that make sense and have decent public transit? We become less dependent on foreign oil?


  1. The only people denying climate change are influenced by those bought and sold by sponsors like the Koch Bros who profit massively off not being regulated.

    Thanks for your coverage.

  2. Yeah, we probably are screwed. Have you ever read the book "World Without Us"? It's a non-fiction look at whether the world would turn into a bucolic utopia if humankind went extinct rapidly, or if we've done too much damage for that.

  3. Apparently there's been an unexpected slow down of sun flare activity and it may last for a while.

    This results in a cooler planet I guess. Well, hell, at my age I'm screwed anyway, time is against me.

    What would be best for mother earth is for there to be a couple of mass extinctions of humans to get the populations under control.

    These idiots won't do that voluntarily.

  4. Nothing new about that ... a large segment of the population is always taking the wrong turn when they come to an intersection. It doesn't help they're uneducated, believe in ghosts and voodoo and want "things" as portrayed in fables and old movies.

    "Climate Wars" by Gwynne Dyer deals with what happens when global temperature rises two degrees Celsius. Hint: It won't be pretty.

    Hey! Good news for those thinking a vagina is a factory - the Duggars just had their 19th child ...

  5. I agree that there are s many forces at play which prefer the status quo to the changes which will make the future even possible.

    It reminds me of that saying that was going around in the 80's "He who dies with the most toys, wins."

  6. Suzanne is not interested in saving the planet; just destroying the evil Koch brothers. And if she and other True Believers have to destroy the entire global economy to do it, well so be it.

  7. The only people denying climate change are influenced by those bought and sold by sponsors like the Koch Bros who profit massively off not being regulated.

    Are they mostly all christians?

  8. I know a lot of deniers, and they're just ordinary folks who don't want to admit that maybe life tomorrow won't be quite as pleasant as life today. No doubt propaganda from corporations has contributed to their unwillingness to accept the reality of a changing climate, but they're also not on the Koch brothers payroll.

    Globalization is killing itself -- it doesn't need help. As fuel costs rise, a lot of the economic activity that had been global will evolve to being more localized again. Example: IKEA figured out it's cheaper to build its beaver puke furniture in the US than to have it built in China and shipped -- because beaver puke (medium density fiberboard) is heavy.

  9. I keep hoping that it will dawn on businesses that it is cheaper/better to start producing good here in the US again. Even if it is cheap crap, why pay to ship cheap crap across the world?


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