As the world heads into an unknown climate world, we need to be planning for a different future than the globalized one we imagined we would continue to live in.
In my little country of New Zealand, tucked away deep in the South Pacific ocean, rapidly warming surrounding oceans are creating a new climate world for us of sudden intense rainfall with increasingly damaging floods and higher temperatures.
More intense and more frequent weather events are allowing us the opportunity to see how completely dependent the living world is, including us humans, on the weather.
Where once we could rely on relatively stable weather patterns, the reality has dawned on us that our weather will become increasingly more unstable, intense, erratic and more damaging; not just for a few years, but for many many centuries to come.
But nowhere do we seem to be planning for this inevitable future. A globalised world of long supply chains of ocean going behemoths, cargo jets and steel rails are becoming rapidly increasingly vulnerable to weather events and ever-increasing insurer’s costs. (even if we ignore the impact of the massive CO2 injections to the atmosphere those long supply lines make!)
We must therefore rapidly plan for vastly localised food, energy and other necessity production and distribution; with short supply lines which are less impacted by climate extremes.
The result of localised production will be a smaller range of products, often less sophisticated, an immense reduction in exports to far-flung places which will be offset by localised production employment, cheaper local food and products produced on a smaller scale which require far less local resources and exploitation of the environment, and ultimately a political realisation that each economic /state entity can be largely independent of its bigger and more powerful neighbours and just needs to simply be accountable to its local population.
This does not mean a return to feudal times or the loss of many of the gains in communication and shared knowledge humans have acquired in the past 200 years. But it does mean an end to the big international corporations whose only motivation for existence is greed rather than also serving their local populations.
It also means a gradual decline in consumerism and international tourism as populations re-learn to connect to their local environments and draw strength and joy from their local communities without further destroying their own natural environments.
In the case of building a sustainable world for humans other species- less is most definitely more!
While a savage war grinds on in the Ukraine, killing hundreds of thousands of young men and women on its battlefields for no good reason (along with the other less visible but nonetheless as brutal wars in Yemen, Palestine, Syria and various states of Africa); planet Earth heads ever more rapidly down the slope to a new world: a world where wild weather is the norm, where temperatures and sea-levels climb ever higher at an increasing rate, and where fewer and fewer living things can exist.
A world where humans have increasingly become the predominant inhabitants. A world of humans convinced of their supreme intelligence and foresight when all the factual evidence suggests otherwise. A world where humanity’s short-term avarice has become the dominant driving force for major decisions about our long-term future.
Global warming and loss of bio-diversity are creating a world for which humans and others species are not prepared and will likely not survive in. That global warming and biodiversity loss is purely driven by greed. We do not need all this inanimate ‘stuff’ we have created to lead a full and happy life, but we are hell-bent on acquiring it!
Note that the emissions shown in the above graph relate to the country where CO2 is produced (i.e.production-based CO2) , not to where the goods and services that generate emissions are finally consumed.
But the greatest threat to us is not so much the steadily increasing temperatures and wilder weather around the globe caused by man’s constant production of Co2- but the loss of other species. Note that the graph below by Living Planet relates only to ‘wildlife’ , which in their terminology, only includes figures on vertebrate species – mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. It does not include insects, corals, fungi, or plants. The corresponding loss of total volumes and different species of insects is equally catastrophic. And man, not simply through his/her actions in increasing global temperatures, but predominantly through loss of habitat to produce more stuff, is the cause of these losses.
If we were to take the current reductionist simplistic approach to these losses we might say that we have no idea what impact these losses will have on humans, or what ‘benefits’ we could extract from those species if they were to survive. However if we were truly the intelligent species we claim to be, we would be examining the relationships between all these species, including ourselves and determining to preserve wherever possible, the current species we have.
We simply do not have a clue how each of the millions of species on this planet uphold the web of life here.
Increasingly ‘science’ is coming to the conclusion that all living things are sentient– they have awareness and are thus worthy of our respect, empathy and kindness, and a recognition and desire by humans to wherever possible preserve the lives of all other living things.
And while various mainstream media in the West (and almost nothing in China and Russia) talk about the latest research about climate change and biodiversity and how we need to be doing ‘something’ to address it, and while politicians and bureaucrats put in place global and state agreements to ‘manage’ climate change-in reality , nothing is happening to reduce the risks to us all.
And agreed, the path we are heading down is now a predetermined one, to very high global global temperatures for the next few hundred years or more that will almost certainly make life a living hell literally, but no-one is actually creating the mechanisms to stop humans creating more and more energy for more ‘stuff” we don’t need.
Our rate of destruction of this planet is not reducing!
And yet we humans are Masters of the Universe, are we not?
In New Zealand, my home country, we have recently seen two unequivocal examples of the impact of climate change on our landscape and society. The most recent example, Cyclone Gabrielle , brought heavy rains and winds to much of the northern part of New Zealand, leaving 7 dead and huge damage to roading infrastructure, farms and many homes, as well as many tragedies great and small; human and animal lives lost, people injured and livelihoods destroyed.
While cyclones are not infrequent summer visitors to New Zealand shores, the intensity of this weather event, coming just 2 weeks after severe flooding in our biggest city Auckland, and the significant damage the cyclone caused, have made it clear to New Zealanders; politicians, business people and citizens alike, that we will see much more of this type of weather event in the future as a result of global warming, and in particular because of our warming Pacific seas which feed the cyclones further and further south.
Our politicians talk about ‘building resiliency’ and ‘better planning for future events like this’, but nobody is talking about how to reduce our climate footprint or change our behaviours.
As just one example of the need to change behaviours, much of the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle would have been substantially reduced if we had had more long term forest cover rather than open grassland on hills and water catchments. Long term old growth forest not only softens the impact of heavy rain on soils and therefore reduces runoff, but also holds the soil together better with roots that go deep into the subsoil, reducing the risks of slips and the soil erosion that results in much of the mud that we saw pouring through people’s homes and farms.
Old growth multi-species forest also mediates the actual climate, increasing moisture in the air in dry weather and reducing the impacts of wind and rain in wet weather . Instead, New Zealand has seen the steady destruction of old growth forest, almost none remains on lowland areas, with pine forestry, grassland for sheep and dairy, and urban development replacing those anchors of stability and those islands of species diversity.
Pine plantations, mostly pinus radiata, (otherwise known as Monterey Pine, from California) and the consequent logging businesses, are huge money making activities in New Zealand. Labelled as ‘sustainable forestry’, large areas of New Zealand are now devoted to growing pinus radiata -most of which is exported as either wood chips or raw timber logs to foreign places. The pine trees have replaced in many cases the unique indigenous forests of New Zealand which hosted New Zealand’s multiple unique bird species.
In 25 years of pine tree growth, some birdlife and insect life will have returned, but that is immediately destroyed in the levelling of the pine forest when logging occurs . The tree trunks are hauled away in huge logging trucks to the ports for export but usually the branches and other remnants of the trees are left on the hillsides.
When heavy rains comes, the rains pulverise the denuded soil, washing the topsoil into streams and sending the branches (the ‘slash’) pouring down the streams into the rivers to then smash into bridges on their way to the sea and to finally coat beaches with their broken branches and the mud.
Are we then going to change our ways in New Zealand about this massively environmentally destructive, but lucrative logging ‘business’? You bet your life we are not!
The business of pine forest logging is just one example among many of a world where business rules are pre-eminent (i.e .money trumps everything).
Our politicians and businessmen will talk about the tragedy of people losing their jobs and of small communities imploding if we don’t continue ‘business as usual”.
They will argue it will be impossible to construct a sustainable way of life and no longer continue to destroy our world in the way we have learnt to in the last 200 years with our business farming methods (dairy, sheep and other monoculture farming).
Their ‘normal’ is the destruction by human ‘development’ of our living world that once sustained so many species in the past in New Zealand.
Options for the development of self- sustainable rural communities, where exports and big business become a thing of the past, are simply not an option! That is, until the damage to infrastructure and insurance costs make it no longer a business option!
So, rather than planning for the changes that need to happen now to mitigate climate change, we will experience sudden and dramatic dislocation at some point (not so far away in the future) when even bigger storms wash away our current livelihoods!
The fact that there were at least 36 private jets which flew participants into the COP27 conference, spewing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is one small demonstration of what these conferences are about- looking good and taking no action while our living planet dies.
While there were many indigenous peoples attending the COP27 who were able to voice their concerns about the current state of the earth and make suggestions for change, their voice had absolutely no weight in the final decisions made by the big power-brokers ( who depend on a CO2 producing economy to keep the electoral money rolling in).
Those indigenous groups talked not only about climate change, but more importantly, about the loss of biodiversity and our dis-connection with the rest of nature which industrialization and commodification has done to our beautiful living world in the last 200 years. Without our fellow living things on this planet ; we are done .
The idea that giving some money to a poor country to compensate for a now unsolvable problem of environmental destruction is frankly bizarre, and amply demonstrates that mental vacuity of those rich and powerful people.
No doubt the money will be useful and may help poorer countries mitigate the losses to their local ecosystems and help humans survive in their devastated environment a little longer, but in many cases that money will simply be spent on more ‘development’ and ‘progress’ and thus more environmental destruction.
And as we can already begin to see, many of the global ‘rich’ countries are already struggling to cope with the environmental ‘costs’ to their own economies, so their capacity to pay anybody else for their own stupidity is soon going to be substantially diminished.
Everywhere we see the powerful and the media portraying climate change as some little problem we can solve- at some stage- but lets get on with the business of despoiling the planet now -while there’s money to be made!
I see sublime examples of this on my local state television news channel, who in one news segment show how our magnificent government has made some new pledge to reduce carbon emissions and the next news segment extols the virtues of that same government encouraging tourists from half way round the world to travel to New Zealand.(and home again). Those enormous jet plane carbon emissions (about 5 tonnes of Co2 each way) will of course not be counted in New Zealand’s carbon emissions but to the tourist’s home country, so naturally everything is ok!
We will undoubtedly exceed 1.5C increases in global temperatures in the not so distant future , and will also certainly reach 3.5C increases if we do not dramatically reduce our consumption of energy globally. Green energy solutions; solar, wind and wave can make that transition a little easier, but they cannot ever replace the quantity of energy from oil gas and coal we continue to consume at ever increasing rates.
We all need to come to terms with consuming less and helping to recreate the natural world .
If we don’t, and very soon, Nature will decide for us in not so pleasant ways.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has it seems irrevocably pinned her flag to the mast of the ‘dark side’- the U.S. ‘rule based order’ ( not to be confused with the UN charter of human rights or anything silly like that, but with the right of the YS to do anything it damn well likes to any country and people it pleases. (bombing an allies’ gas pipeline is just one of so many examples)
Whil insisting there is only one truth in regard to world conflicts (no room for peace negotiations there!) she also insisted there could only be one view about climate change. As one who does not deny the reality of climate change, I find it astonishing that Ardern suggests we can legislate climate impacts away by saying we will not allow the world to increase global temperatures by 1.5C.
Either she is amazing badly informed by her science advisors about climate change, or she is simply posturing. The reality is that it is now inevitable that the world will experience much more than 1.5C warming. Governments across the world (including her own) have talked a lot about climate change impacts and what should be done- but have in fact done nothing more than pretend to their voters they are doing something. Co2 global production continues to increase, not decrease.
And in fact Ardern’s government has continued to push for more international tourism (which in New Zealand results in massive production of Co2 from the passenger jets winging their way around the world to the South Pacific from the Northern hemisphere), more extensive dairy and agribusiness farming which continues to destroy our environment in multiple ways and generally more ‘progress’ (which means more businesses which inevitably destroy more of the environment and induces more consumption of goods people don’t need.
Ardern and her Labour are like her National Party opposition and all the other New Zealand political parties, locked into requiring financial support from businesses- and ‘more business’ and ‘progress’ are simply euphemisms for making money from environmental destruction.
But, to return to the earlier argument about there being simple single truths about the Ukraine war; that a democratic Ukraine with ‘European’ values of tolerance and freedom is fighting against a relentless ruthless behemoth of Putin’s Russian Empire, we might put forward a counter ‘truth’. That Ukraine is in fact a brutal single party white supremacist state whose only reason for Western support is to defang the Russian bear so that Western corporations can once again (as in the Yeltsin years) begin to appropriate Russian assets at bargain prices.
As the Scrum notes: Incited by Western powers, Poland, Lithuania, and the Habsburg Empire, the key to Ukrainian nationalism was that it was Western, and thus superior. Since Ukrainians and Russians stem from the same population, pro-Western Ukrainian ultra-nationalism was built on imaginary myths of racial differences: Ukrainians were the true Western whatever-it-was, whereas Russians were mixed with “Mongols” and thus an inferior race. Banderist Ukrainian nationalists have openly called for elimination of Russians as such, as inferior beings.
These Ukrainian ultra-nationalists have also been enthusiastically supported by strong Nazi elements in the Baltic States, Germany, Poland and the Ukrainian post WW2 diaspora, particularly in Canada.
So, naturally, any compromise in the grand Western agenda, not to mention a reduction in the Western PR media effort to discredit Russia (and now China) in any way possible how ever implausible, is completely impossible- peace negotiations are not an option. Nuclear war with Russia is also being promoted in Western media as also an option, deliberately misrepresenting (as Scott Ritter-former UN weapons inspector notes)the Russian position on first use of nuclear weapons.
The ‘perhaps’ unintended consequence of this glorification of the ultra-nationalist agenda, along with the self-destruction of European economies causing poverty and anger and demonstrations on the street, is the resurrection of the white supremacist ultranationalist movements, like Zelensky’s, across Europe.
These far-right groups not only celebrate intolerance of minorities, but also any dissent of the view that the state is pre-eminent in all things, that the corporations should rule in tandem with government (as in the US), and that consequently any collective view of humanity outside of the state apparatus is a threat to be stamped out.
However the far-right’s biggest threat to humanity is their denial of the climate change disaster. How can the state become strong in their view, without industrial ‘progress’ and a strong war-machine?
We can already see that view reflected in those European ‘moderate’ parties who currently control the EU. They’ll talk about mitigating climate change and green energy and all those cute things, as long as it doesn’t impact on the economy and the money that rolls into party coffers from the corporations-‘fire up the coal boilers for electricity again ‘cos we need to destroy Russia first!’
We are, after all, talking about Jacinda Ardern’s favourite ‘international rule-based order’ here!
Let’s get our priorities straight with the one true Truth!
All wars are, without doubt, pointless, tragic and foolish affairs that also play a significant part in destroying the remainder of our natural environment and a future for our children.
Western media are continuously playing a looped recording that Ukraine and its president Zelensky are defending the ‘free world’ – democratic ‘white” nations- against the evil Russian hordes. What is most interesting is that the language used in this messaging is consistent right across the Western media, regardless of the country you live in .
That the Kiev armies are undoubtedly shelling the former Ukrainian nuclear power plant near Zaporizhzhia: presumably to create more support for more weapons from the ‘white’ world.
That the Kiev government and its Western government supporters have been deliberately shelling civilian areas of the Donbass held by Russian speaking Ukrainians since 2014 , with over 14,000 deaths from shelling, and more recently with illegal ‘butterfly’ or ‘petal’ anti-personnel mines.
In the last few days we have also heard about the killing of the daughter of the ‘ultra-nationalist” Alexander Dugin. Dugin is, in my opinion, an obnoxious idealogue who has for many years promoted a Russia first meme. However nobody deserves to die because of their beliefs, (let alone their children) – be they Russian, Ukrainian or any other nationality.
What is however scary, is the identical use of language by Western media in describing Dugin as an ‘ultra-nationalist” – what exactly an ‘ultra-nationalist’ is, as opposed to simply being a ‘nationalist’, is somewhat unclear- but one is left with the clear understanding that only Russians can be ‘ultranationalists’ (or for that matter ‘oligarchs’) and never of course those Americans who have the ludicrous belief in the United States as the ‘exceptional nation’ who wanders the world doing good deeds for the benefit of those of us who are less enlightened.
Patriotism is one of the scourges of humanity; an absurd belief in the superiority of the culture and land to which you were accidentally born into. A scourge that blights and distorts the mind into believing that any action ; however intrinsically evil it is, is good as long as it benefits the country you were born in.
We see that evil in the blue and gold banners that enswathes everything in Ukraine, the United State’s ‘Stars and Stripes’, and the blue white and red flag of Russia, to name but three.
So now, as Westerners, we are told to hate all Russians, all Chinese, because they are a threat to our expensive lifestyles….And as true patriots, we should consume more, build more and destroy more , because we are the epitome of ‘civilisation’.
And all the while, we move ever faster into a new world where the climate is already more unpredictable and dangerous, where global warming and sea-levels continue to rise and rise for the next hundred, maybe thousand years, and where we ever more rapidly, destroy what is left of our living world.
And why?- because their media profit margins and their sponsors depend on more economic ‘growth’.
So it becomes clear that the only path to ‘de-growth’, and retaining some semblance of a live-able world for humans and other species, is one where Gaia herself creates that economic destruction.
When hurricanes, huge storms, enormous amounts of rainfall, oppressive high temperatures and sea level rise ( among many other ‘natural’ impacts), result in it being impossible to buy insurance for industry to sell your products or to have a market where people can no longer afford to buy your useless junk; only then will we start to see a return to a sustainable (but hotter) world where all species can live in harmony, and even some contentment!
Media have indoctrinated us all to believe that we need to consume more, do more, travel more – that we cannot live lives of contentment without all those things we need to buy and consume..
While Russia and the United States fight it out by proxy in Ukraine for the spoils of war, or the 70+ year old war against Palestine and the war in Yemen to name just a few, the world continues, at an ever faster rate, to descend into climate and natural disintegration.
This is not to denigrate the appalling suffering and damage to the living world that wars bring- or to deny that there are evil people in the world (but not always the people that you consider are evil )
However, the recent IPPC 6th report of 2022 clearly articulates that the world is now in a perilous state. Climate change is now and will increasingly devastatingly impact on human’s lives and the other living things on this planet.
‘The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.‘
Despite all the hype and speeches from ‘important global people’ at the COP26 climate change conference in Edinburgh in 2021 , the rate of global CO2 emissions continues to increase, not decrease. The natural world of indigenous forest is increasingly rapidly being hacked to oblivion for quick bucks for agribusiness, and along with it’s demise- all the species that depend on that living world.
The use of chemical pesticides and herbicides (poisons) that eliminate the insects and birds that provide life for the rest of us on our planet, is not being reduced. Even our supermarkets and hardware stores continue to be lined with rows of poisons to ‘tame nature’.
It is abundantly clear that politicians around the world have absolutely no intent to eliminate the ongoing destruction of our planet, let alone begin to restore it to a sustainable living world.
The current bizarre and mythical obsession with “growth” and “progress” constantly spewed out by planners, politicians and the media provides humanity with a completely flawed sense that we are ‘going somewhere’, ever upwards! We are in reality not going anywhere (unless to oblivion if we continue our current tack); we simply exist as safely and comfortably as we can for as long we can, as part of our living planet-nothing more-or less. Psychotic illusions of human ‘progress’ will damn us all to oblivion.
We need to take both individual and collective action to save our planet from human greed and undeniable human stupidity.
The destructive changes human activity has wrought on this world in the past 40 years; let alone from the start of the Industrial Revolution and earlier, are horrendous in magnitude and depravity. And, as ‘State of the Planet’ notes, those changes are not just temporary blips in our march towards ‘progress’ . Many of those devastating environmental changes will be with the planet (and maybe humans ) for thousands if not tens of thousands of years from now.
We can and must therefore do what we can to stop the continued and accelerating destruction of our living world, and begin to reverse that damage through dramatic reductions in consumerism, through tree planting and through simply acknowledging that we as humans are interconnected with the rest of this living world we inhabit.
Every human child needs to be taught now and forever, to respect and cherish every other living thing on this planet– not just their human neighbours; to learn that they don’t need to consume the ‘stuff’ that’s ‘pushed’ at them by media, and to consider what each and every one of their actions will have on the living things around them.
A study by the University of Bath last year found that climate change is causing severe mental health concerns among people aged 16–25 years. It found that nearly 60% were “extremely worried” about climate change and that the concerns were exacerbated by governments’ lack of action.
We no longer, and never again, will have the option of disregarding the rest of our natural world- there are now simply too many of this human species on this small planet to pretend that each one of our actions do not matter !
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the subsequent explosion of sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas, wheat and other products by Western nations, is likely to result in a substantial long-term economic downturn in both the West and Russia because of rapidly escalating oil, natural gas and nickel and paladium prices, consequent substantial increases in global transport costs, supply chain disruptions and inflation.
Food costs will also rise from shortages of chemical fertilizers, increased wheat prices and transport costs for many in the West and the third world , and this will have the most impact on those who are already struggling.
The only upside from all this chaos is that consumption in the West is likely to substantially diminish in the short to medium to…… Given that, per head of population, the West is by far the biggest producer of CO2 and the cause of much of the deforestation, species loss and environmental destruction in non Western countries, Gaia will be smiling.
Along with the impacts on consumption because of COVID- (less air travel, less conspicuous consumption because of lockdowns etc), we are likely to see a significant reduction in the production of CO2 into the atmosphere with a higher proportion of renewable energy sources, and a higher proportion of more organic fertlizers .
Of course the actual measurable processes and outcomes are much more complex than the above simplistic outline. Just two examples ; possibly coal production will increase significantly in Europe to cope with the reductions of access to natural gas and oil resulting in, at best, a status quo level of CO2 production, and/or commodity prices in the West increase to such an extent that revolutions on the street occur, and result in even more violent and extremist governments than we already have…
One of the biggest likely impacts will be on the confidence of European and U.S. populations that this current way of life of excessive consumption is both realistic, sustainable or even possible.
Combine that with the predicted but certain dire impacts on climate and global livability by the recent IPCC report on climate change, and we have an existential crisis of confidence in the Western way of ‘life’- ( or should that be ‘way of consumption’?)
Of course the other option for Gaia is nuclear war- not an impossibility given Vladimir Putin’s insistence that there can be no world without Russia, and Washington’s neoliberal and media blood-lusting for ‘no flight zones’ over Ukraine and their wish for dismemberment of Russia. Human beings have some significant cognitive problems with resolving conflict issues in reasonable ways.
Gaia may well be calculating that human beings were an unfortunate and highly destructive anomaly, and we need to start from scratch again…
when our New Zealand government announces its fully supportive of measures to reduce climate change impact and reduce biodiversity loss (except not quite right now), and then announces a one billion dollar free trade deal with the United Kingdom, we sense there is a little mismatch!-or perhaps, dare we say it? -even a little smattering of psychosis?
The ‘environment’ is everything on this planet; its not some separate piece of work or concept that we can occasionally pull out and look at and say, ‘well we achieved this climate or biodiversity goal, now we can get back to the real work of human progress’..
That billion dollar deal will result in more dairy production in New Zealand (more polluted and depleted water sources, more natural environment destroyed for more dairy farmland, and more processing infrastructure like roads and factories), more vineyards using prodigious amounts of poisons to keep nature at bay from their precious grapes, and more sheep and cows being brutally killed in our slaughterhouses. And that’s just the start!
When are we going to see governments across the world really accept that every bit of ‘progress’ they encourage in connivance with their business allies, is destroying the planet?
A steady state economy in every country around the world is literally not going to be the end of the world – (but more ‘progress’ will be). The desperate, futile and farcical arguments that we can somehow escape global climate change and loss of diversity with more technology, is simply fiction. Every new piece of ‘alternate’ industrial production, whether it be lithium batteries, hydrogen production or carbon capture is simply sleight of hand- robbing the environment to pay for more ‘progress’.
We need to start consuming less- a lot less: Eat more local food, grow our own where we can, repair broken items, buy second hand when we need something different, stop the fiction of a housing crisis in the Western world and ensure housing bought by speculators (because of low bank rates) is occupied affordably stopping the unnecessary building of houses over land and nature, get rid of the expectation that we need that overseas holiday, or that we need to kill other species for fun and relaxation…lower our expectations that we ‘need’ this or that, and more of it- we don’t.
As the climate rapidly evolves globally into some new unknowable and unpredictable chaotic pattern, we will see more drought, more floods, more storms, more climate extremes of every kind- becoming more and more intense as we rapidly, and seemingly inevitably, head towards a 3C warmer world.
In consequence, large scale human activity; industrial farming, mining and goods production is becoming more at risk- supply chain problems are escalating, production costs are rising, transport costs are ballooning, and insurance premiums will go through the roof to cover that increasing wild unpredictability. We will have to move towards smaller and more localised production; we will not have a choice.
Curiously, the equally important U.N Conference on biodiversity this October 2021 in China, received almost no media attention. Yet retaining as much as we can of the remaining species now left on this planet, is vital to humans and every other species’ survival- just as much, if not more so, than climate change. The difference of course is that species loss doesn’t, apparently for now at least, impact on human economies, so its not worthy of the same attention. However, almost every aspect of human ‘progress’ requires the depletion of natural environments for other species and species’ death. The level of destruction of sentient organisms in the world via human ‘progress’ is phenomenal, and has already potentially reached a tipping point of no return for the remaining species- including humans.
We are told that if we do not change our ways, reduce carbon emissions, ‘soon’ it will be too late.
If we haven’t guessed by now , that ‘soon’ is right now. We are already in a climate crisis- of massive fires out of control in the United States, in coastal Mediterranean areas, in Siberia to name just a few. Of “Once in a 100” or 200 year floods, of temperatures in parts of the world that are close to killing any living thing.. We are there – right now…and its not going to get better any time soon- no matter what we do.
This is not a ‘crisis’ that will go away if we just behave ourselves.
This is a crisis that will be with those who survive on this planet for at least the next thousand years- and many more years than that, if we cannot reduce our carbon consumption and start planting trillions of trees.
Even if we were to stop creating more carbon dioxide right now, the planet will continue to warm, the climate will become more unpredictable and unstable. And of course our great politicians are not talking about anything as radical as eliminating our carbon footprint any time soon!- no!- they want us to reduce the ‘rate of increase’ of carbon by 2030 or 2050 or – some other target date far away…that doesn’t impact on their corporate ‘sponsorship’.
But somehow many of us continue to believe that those great human minds will save us with some new technology -perhaps detonating some nuclear bombs to provide a nuclear winter for us, or sending dust particles into the atmosphere!
Are we consuming more and more to cope with our fears for the apocalyptic future?- bigger and bigger cars, more and more tinsel and useless consumption, more and more glorification of killing of defenseless animals for pleasure- hunting and fishing ?
But the answer , while not immediate, is simple.
We have to adjust to a world where the climate is warming rapidly- first by accepting that infinite ‘growth’ on a finite world is just plain stupidity. We need to rapidly traverse to global no-growth economies.
We need to try and reverse our rapid destruction of nature around us- encourage insect, bird and other non human populations to rebuild in the face of a rapidly warming world- create new perpetual habitats for other species, stop the chemical spraying, return habitats to their natural states as much and as quickly as possible .. and most importantly, plant more indigenous forest- not for forestry- but for life!
We need to acknowledge that technology is not going to ‘save’ us from the climate crisis- in fact it is one of the significant causes of species loss and habitat destruction that is killing our planet.
We need to acknowledge that humans simply need to support nature to get back to doing its job of making this planet a living world for every remaining species here – there’s nothing fancy about it, it won’t create many new jobs, and it wont seem like ‘progress’ – but it will save us.
We need to encourage politicians to stop lying about what they intend to do about the environment and the climate. There’s no money in it from their company ‘sponsors”, and its not going to boost their fragile egos.
Saving the planet from global heating and species loss is not a side issue to any decisions any of us make. Every bit of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ we make as humans must now put the cost to the climate and species loss at the forefront of EVERY decision. In most cases, human ‘progress’ is not worth the cost to the planet.
We need to accept that we don’t need ‘more’. Teaching people how to be thankful and at peace with what they have and how to re-build their connection with nature – along with a respect for all living things.-that we don’t have a God-given right to treat other living entities as resources.