Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Battle of the Holocene

"The end results are definite and dire, that much is known."

7,827 PEOPLE DIED TODAY.  Men, women, children, and all religions alike.  It was avoidable, it was unnecessary, and the same thing will happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and every single day that we chose to do nothing about Anthropogenic Climate Change

I'll explain.  Let's just pretend that we have 35 years to do something about climate change, after which it is too late.  Let's also pretend that if we do nothing before that 35 year mark, that 100 million people will die (famine, disease, extreme weather...).  That means that we have 12,775 days (365 * 35) left to save 100 million people from an unnecessary death.  100,000,000 people / 12,775 days = 7,827 people / day. 

This is just a way to make the intangible feel tangible.  There is no precise and scientifically agreed upon deadline, a deadline before which we can still chose to either do “something” or “nothing”, after which it is too late.  There are a series of milestones that will be crossed, and most of them only visible in hindsight.  There are infinite “somethings” that can be done, and no indisputable delineation between what is the “right” something or the “wrong” something.  It is a game of nuance.  A game where words such as “assuming”, “might”, and “if” are used a lot.  But the end results are definite and dire, that much is known.  So to avoid getting lost in the endless mire of debating numbers, I gave it a number.

What really eats at me personally, is how almost without mention we are indiscriminately committing hundreds of millions, if not billions to death and suffering, and they are us, and our children, and it is all completely unnecessary, and the mainstream media and government don't seem to pay it but the occasional meaningless lip service compared to the immediacy and scope of the problem. 

What if they had names?  Maybe if we were to arbitrarily chose 100 million people and their unborn children, and every ten minutes another 54 would be listed.  Undoubtedly a morbid and interesting ploy, but unlikely to change the course of history.  It would be pretty interesting to send that list out to various groups though; news organizations, political organizations.  I would love to see that email sent directly to the desks of top fossil fuel executives and the investors who support their companies.

What can be done?  Something.  Do something.  Say something.  The silence is deafening.  Every day that nothing is done, the problem grows. 

I’ll say something; Go fly a kite Rupert Murdoch, I’ll take the truth and spread it.  Screw you Exxon, I’ll take your carbon and put it back in the Earth.  I am a warrior in a battle to save the Holocene, the best darn climate humanity has ever known.

But somehow, for some reason, this sort of conversation is socially taboo.  We don’t talk about it much, lest we be labeled a Debbie downer, or get stuck in endless debates of “if’s” and “maybe’s”.  Or perhaps we need new ways to talk about it?  I guess in time… but it couldn’t be sooner, because while I have sat here at my desk frustrated, angry, writing, another 326 people died.


This has been a guest post by biocharista Josiah Hunt. We invite others to send us their blogable thoughts for possible publication on The Great Change. 

6 comments:

Christer said...

Considering the more than 60,000,000 climate refugees already on the move, 100,000,000 climate deaths in 35 years seems very optimistic, but nevertheless makes a point.
Solutions? I don't think there are any global solutions, anything we can do to "solve" the global challenge. Local solutions? Plenty, and biochar is just one of them. the local solutions we get out there and share, and talk about, the fewer unnecessary deaths, the less unnecessary suffering.

Danny C said...

As Christer said, it is difficult to think global solutions. There have been many people crying in the wilderness about these things that are/will befall us. To us, the initiated, frustrations lurk around every discussion that we as "first worlders" seem to engage in with friends, neighbors and even family members. Discussions that are so ingrained like the future, getting a good job, the fate of the favorite sports team, ad nauseum. I also believe that it has to be local, shared and not filled with fear or hate for that matter,but lived to be an example. And it is only by example and not legislation that the message about a livable earth for us and future generations can be realized. So plant, be kind, and then plant some more.

GHung said...

"I don't think there are any global solutions, anything we can do to "solve" the global challenge...."

....because there is no "we", except in that "we" will all feel the consequences of our collective misbehaviours in some way.

Michael A. Lewis said...

Rather than emotional supposition, I prefer data and verified research.

Yes, the world's climates are changing. That is well documented. The proximate and ultimate causes, however, are not.

I don't think it helps to agonize of over what one can do to "stop climate change." Therein madness lies. One can, however, do much to stop environmental pollution, habitat loss, species extinctions, top soil loss, consumption of resources, pollution of air, water and soil. These are very real and very now. Each one of us can take concrete steps that result in real, visible outcomes.

If we take care of our local bioregions, build resilient, adaptable local economies and communities, we will weather climate variation in company with all other species.

Danny C said...

Michael Lewis, I'm in agreement. What one would call "baby steps" or small changes can and should be done and with earnestness and not fear of which "agonizing" is a symptom.....and a waste on energy.

Doomstead Diner said...

Wait a minute...

Isn't a big part of the problem here population overshoot? Wouldn't an increasing death rate help in lowering the global population of Homo Saps? Wouldn't fewer Homo Saps have a smaller carbon footprint?

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