This article was written about 2 weeks before COVID-19^. Within this article, “Beware the falling empire” is of particular interest to the current situation. Please read this extra carefully. To say that COVID-19 is a game-changer is an understatement. COVID-19 will get its own article soon.
It doesn’t matter if you believe that humans are contributing to global warming or not. Doesn’t matter if you believe the current scientific consensus or not. What matters is that Earth is getting hotter. Some of the major consequences are:
- Weather patterns will become more chaotic, with extreme weather to become increasingly common.
- Some areas of Earth will become harder to live in. Yet, it’s to also important to be aware that others areas will become easier to live in. This reshaping of the ecosystem will make and break societies, turn farming upside down and remake transport networks.
- Oceans will rise, risking to cause major conflicts over coastline loss.
- Acceleration of global warming. Sadly, as average temperatures increase around the globe, there will be a number of elements that will further contribute to global warming. For example forest fires (much worse than the ones Australia just experienced^) and, much worse^, the release of methane from permafrost^.
Oh, and a solar maximum is on its way too, currently scheduled between 2023 and 2026^.
Sure, if our civilization finally reaches consensus on doing something about global warming, we may be able to slow or even reverse the process. But, given the current political outlook and economic dogmas, it doesn’t seem that we’ll see any serious measures being taken in the coming years. So, let’s get ready for what may be coming and let’s meet it with the best we’ve got.
Tipping the scales
While it may be discouraging to see that the large polluters seem stuck in the wrong millennium (or worse, they know exactly what’s going to happen), this doesn’t mean small changes won’t help. In fact, it is exactly these small changes that may eventually convince/force corporations & governments to do something more meaningful about global warming.
A powerful intent changes everything. If we set our mind to it, we, the people, can build any world we wish, because we are the civilization. Small changes gather into trends, trends break new ground and, at last, fundamental change follows.
Here are just a few of the changes any individual can participate with:
- The market for ecological and ethical products is growing. Buy healthy and/or local products.
- Choose jobs that benefit society or see how you can improve your current job and/or do what you can to improve your company’s social responsibility.
- Remember that up until last century, before the emergence of monstrous industrial fast-food chains, meat consumption was much lower. It is easy to adjust to a lower meat consumption, focusing on higher quality meat.
- If you own a house, invest in clean energy such as solar panels and heat pumps. You will get your money back while also improving your carbon footprint.
- Consider ethical consumerism^. It’s an interesting instrument for change.
- Do not underestimate the power of grassroots activism. Walk the talk, but also talk the walk: show friends and family what can be done. Some of these people may end up in places of power where they will build a sustainable future.
- Consider ethical economy^ and what can be done to get us there.
There is a (pretty good) chance that enough people make enough changes to start tipping the scales and trigger a chain reaction towards the evolution of our civilization. If not, in time, the change will have to happen anyway. However…
Beware the falling empire
Endless economic growth cannot continue with finite resources. Either our growth will halt and then crash into an unprecedented recession, or the resources we prize (and how we consume them) will have to change, refocusing our economy on growing in other areas. Imagine an economy that focuses on producing quality products that last a lifetime. In any case, the current civilization will at one point go into decline. Global warming will probably accelerate this downfall.
If we don’t invent a better civilization in time, the forced modification of the current world order may be, at times, violent. Like an epileptic seizure, the old structures will thrash and convulse before they finally succumb to their inevitable fate, rendered obsolete by the civilization that has adapted to a new ecosystem. Hopefully, we’ll have something better in place by then. And if not…
It’s wise to plan ahead and make sure that we and our families don’t get in the way of the crumbling titan. Here are some things to watch out for, most of which are already happening:
- Failing public services (particularly healthcare and pensions).
- Conflict caused by societies fractured by inequality and extreme political/ideological polarization.
- Vulnerable geographic areas when it comes to food growing capabilities and food&water supply.
- Military conflicts between nation states stuck in our tribal past.
Consider the long-term outlook of geographical locations on Earth. Coastal, polluted, crowded or already hot areas may not be suitable to live in long-term. Northern latitudes, however, are well positioned to flourish thanks to the warming climate. Consider possible conflicts for land, especially in water-deprived areas or countries that may lose important territory due to flooding and/or raising temperatures.
Indeed, there are countless variables to keep track of if a “survival of the fittest” chaos ensues. Luckily, we now have some pretty amazing technology and communication methods. Well-prepared networks of individuals will weather whatever storm follows.
“Evolution cannot be stopped. It can only be embraced.”