October 2018 – The Month Humans Began to Save Civilization

The Scientific Consensus: Change or Die. What’s it Gonna Be?

History will look back at this month as the month the tide to turn back climate change began in earnest OR the month the world gave up on the future. Yes, THIS moment IS that CONSEQUENTIAL. The October 8 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a short time frame for the world to rapidly change course in terms of energy, food, and wasteful consumption OR literally end human civilization as we know it by devastating human populations, food supplies, and entire areas of the planet lost to rising seas and desertification. The time frame is ten to twelve years. This time frame is the greatest contribution of this report, because it throws down the gauntlet. If you want A FUTURE, GET BUSY! 12 years is the time it takes for a kindergartner to graduate from high school. Parents who have seen their children grow up, know how quickly those 12 years pass. The clock is ticking and that is why October 2018 will forever be the CRITICAL JUNCTURE in the fight to transform global energy, food, and values.

What happens if we don’t act?

The report outlines the scientific consensus of what the coming climate catastrophe looks like. Imagining this future has gotten easier over the past few years as forest fires have devastated communities all over the globe, just as floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis have done the same. All over the world communities have suffered historic calamities that have caused billions of dollars in property damage and priceless loss of life. These kinds of disasters, marked by death and destruction will grow in frequency and power, wreaking unimaginable havoc year by year. But wait, there’s more. Entire islands and what are now densely populated coasts of the world will be submerged under rising seas. The movements of populations we have been seeing over the past few years, tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war, political oppression, and food insecurity will be nothing compared to mass movements of millions if we don’t act NOW. The food insecurity and starvation seen in parts of Africa will play out all over the planet as food supplies are devastated through climate change.  This is only the beginning of what awaits us if we don’t act NOW. The sad truth is that the many feedback loops that have helped keep climactic and atmospheric equilibrium over the millennia, are being stressed so that there is physically a tipping point, that will lead to what is known as Hothouse Earth, which is simply uninhabitable by humans. Scientists are very conservative by training and are careful not to be alarmist, but an uninhabitable planet is our future if we continue burning fossil fuels and eating beef at current levels.

If you would like to hear a climate scientist discuss how close we are to climate catastrophe watch the following video:

A Silver Lining

You may feel that it is a CURSE to be alive on this planet at this moment, but it is arguably a once in a world system opportunity. How often do sentient beings have the opportunity to save the world? We have the opportunity to be heroes, to be SUPERHEROES for real. Another positive is the moral clarity of this moment. Humans are intelligent amazing beings, and part of that means we seek not only to live, but to live well, to live A GOOD LIFE. Living that good life hinges on having clear moral vision and pursing it. Before now, there were many competing moral visions that just as often led us to inaction through confusion, or indecision. Now there is NO CONFUSION, we have absolute MORAL CLARITY. To embrace the future requires US to do several things as rapidly as possible. The change is so complete and radical that it will require our full attention for the next several decades. Say goodbye to indecision and ambiguity. We have work to do!

Where do we get started?

This is where that moral clarity is important. We must cultivate that clarity in ourselves and become advocates for that ecological vision every chance we get. This vision sees a future of CLEAN energy (solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, hydro). This means making your next vehicle an electric vehicle (no matter what the sacrifice). This might also mean walking more, biking more, taking public transport and advocating for more walkable developments. This vision sees human diets embracing vegetarian and vegan choices and radically eating LESS MEAT and dairy. You have a choice to continue eating moderate amounts of chicken and pork while cutting back on beef and dairy, or going full vegetarian or vegan (see here for more info). The moral clarity impels us to SPEAK OUT in favor of green alternatives to our family, friends, strangers, on social media, and, importantly, at the ballot box. We must ELECT leaders at every level who confirm the science of climate change and are committed to transforming our energy systems. So, again, this is easy. It is very hard to find politicians who we fully agree with on every issue. The urgency of this moment means we can focus on candidates whom we can most trust to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and act to prevent climate change.  All of our other agenda items, if they can’t be wrapped into combating climate change must be put on hold (as hard as that may be). What good is progress on any of those other issues if we don’t have a planet supporting human life. There are other things to do as well, like supporting initiatives and programs for recycling and composting (landfills are a major source of greenhouse gases too). We must continue to educate ourselves about the science of climate change and the recommended actions and timelines.

ACTION is the Antidote to DESPAIR.

We must also SPEAK OUT against NEW fossil fuel projects no matter what kinds of ECONOMIC benefits they promise! There is no benefit better than a LIVABLE PLANET. This is where a change in VALUES comes in. We live in a world dominated by the idea that economic value is preeminent. That economic growth is inherently good and economic contraction is inherently evil. This assumption must be abandoned. Growth is NOT inherently good. HEALTH is inherently good. PEACE is inherently good. NOT ECONOMIC growth. Disasters tend to lead to economic growth by spurring things like rescue, cleanup, rebuilding, and funerals–all good drivers of the economy, but clearly not something we hope to encourage and promote!  Economic growth has pillaged the resources of the earth and is what has PREVENTED our LEADERS of industry, commerce, finance, and governments from acting. Fossil fuels continue to be GOOD BUSINESS. This is why, we must also have a CHANGE of VALUES. We MUST REJECT economically viable investments and projects associated with fossil fuels, unsustainable land use (whether for lumber, cattle, or mining). Why? Because this is the only path forward. Moral Clarity.

I am committed to continuing to update this blog with the best advice and science available. My focus, however, is on what we can do to make this transition happen over the next ten to twelve years.  Do it for all the children. Stop thinking about your bottom line. Saving money is not the most important thing right now, spending it wisely to effect this heroic transition is what is called for. Again, this blog is meant to help point you in the right direction.

Personally, I drive and EV (electric vehicle). My next major investment will be in solar panels to power my EV and home. Can I afford all this, not really, but I’m going to do it. This is my response to the current crisis.  If you have expendable wealth and not sure how you can best use it, I have many suggestions for you. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts, contact me.  For starters you can see my post here on ways to support the green transformation.

The thought I’d like to leave you with is this one: The revolution we are fighting is not just for survival. The revolution is for a BETTER TOMORROW. What this looks like will be explored in future posts; it is a future we will build together.

1 thought on “October 2018 – The Month Humans Began to Save Civilization

  1. Pingback: There is NO such thing as Climate Science | Getting Real

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