I just want to add an addendum to my previous post – The Climate Action Follies – penned late at night, which declared climate change action as worse than useless but didn’t offer any specific ideas about what might be done, as opposed to thumb-twiddling or blind panic. That was an oversight or perhaps I was in need of sleep.
So, if we are to accept that there is nothing we can do to create a positive effect that will in any way negate a century or more, perhaps two, of unmitigated atmospheric, ground and oceanic pollution and degradation, perpetrated solely so we can live like we do today, and we should accept that – nothing else is the truth – then what should we do? I could just say “nothing”, but that is not going to work for a great many people. Nor should it. And doing nothing is still ‘doing’, which from the premise we have just accepted will also not create any positive effect for our future.
The only answer that will keep us, well, some of us – those with an interest in seeing what the future brings and a desire to overcome whatever difficulties it presents, whether that is feasible or not – fully occupied while it comes to pass in the fullness of time, is… to stop doing the things that we do right now. That means stopping everything that we do, absolutely everything. Why? Because those are the things that have brought us to this impasse and it would be a no-brainer to realise that to keep doing them is only making things worse for ourselves. Can you do that? Can you stop working at whatever job or jobs you now attend? Can you cease going to school? Travelling? Endlessly and meaninglessly communicating with each other? Shopping? There would be no point in shopping anyway because there would be no-one to serve you or even let you in or money (card or cash) to buy things with. When I said stop everything I actually meant exactly that.
Do I expect you to do that? Well, no. I would like you to do that, but do I think it would happen? No I don’t. Not in my wildest dream. We couldn’t, even if we sort of, kind of, wanted to.
But what if we did? What if nobody turned up for work or school tomorrow and all tomorrows, at least for as long as it took for civilisation and all its commercial interests to grind to a halt? I am not talking about destroying the infrastructure of civilisation, tearing down factories, destroying databases, arsenals, ports, airports, transport hubs and even cities. Just abandoning them. Leaving them to nature to deal with. Allowing ships, aircraft, trains and trucks to dock and land, discharge their cargoes but never to be used to transport anything ever again – including all private and military vehicles of course.
That is what climate change action advocates should be, well, advocating I suppose. But even such drastic non-action, globally spread, will not stop the kind of climate mayhem that is lined up for us to endure. Yes, if it all happened, all at once, everywhere, it might just mean the difference between a 5°C warmed and devastated world – virtually impossible for humans to exist in – and a 6°C or more totally uninhabitable and, to all intents and purposes, lifeless world. Instead, we are still arguing over a 1.5 or 2 degree world. A world that it will be impossible to now engineer.
Also, if we did somehow manage to accomplish the impossible task I have just outlined, by doing so we would have opened up for ourselves the opportunity and the time required to engage in those pursuits that could stand us in good stead to survive the catastrophic (I kind of promised myself I would not use that word here but, you know, it kind of goes with the territory) years that those of us who make it through the initial period of mayhem in which nothing works, nothing is provided, and only the strong in mind, will, and body will survive. I am talking about the basics of survival – Shelter, water, fire and food, in that order. And none of those things comes easy – without the preparation or the tools.
I think that is more or less what I wanted to say here, but if you have read this far you have probably already concluded that we are not, as a group, as a people, as a species, voluntarily going to engage in any of this. So the only alternative, because it is going to happen, is that we will be dragged kicking and screaming into a maelstrom of chaos for which we are totally unprepared.
For what it is worth, I wish you good luck.