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.