Blog 2023

Acclimatized Change

               Are we doomed?

               Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, dystopian fiction was often present in every genre.  Fantasy, sci-fi, anime, video games, comics, there was always some ‘dark future’ story near to whatever your favorites were.  Going into the 2000s and a post-Inconvenient Truth world, it became less fiction and more speculative.

But as climate change ramps up its effects and the predictors meant for a decade from now are surpassed last year, I find myself wondering just how bad is it going to get.  And are we really doomed?

There’s a lot of science establishing how bad things will get if the current trajectory isn’t stymied.  But most of those projections are fifty and a hundred years off.  Which doesn’t make them any less scary, but it does make them a little hard to really wrap my head around.  Likewise, warnings of ‘a ten degree temperature change’.  Like, that doesn’t mean a lot to me.  It WILL when it happens, but tangibly, it’s harder to grasp.

The thing is, a ten degree temperature change, in and of itself, won’t be the problem.  It won’t be ‘its so much hotter’.  It’ll be ‘these crops will no longer grow’.  It’ll be ‘electricity can no longer be used during daylight hours because the power lines will fry’, that sort of thing.  And I feel like a lot of that is still, well, speculative.  Or at the very least, it’s hard to imagine what it will really be like.

I remember in 2003, reading a very well-researched and very serious article about how the rising price of gasoline and oil was going to fundamentally alter society.  How we were years – not even decades, years – away from travel farther than 50 miles being largely unheard of and the cities resorting to a form of feudalism.  This wasn’t some crackpot; this was an established sociologist (whose name I really wish I could remember).  But then…it…didn’t?

I think about my nephews and nieces and the world they’ll be inhabiting.  How similar, or different, will it be from the world I know?  Will they even live to see it?  Does humanity have a hundreds years left?  Does it have ten?  Will I die as society crumbles?  Or will I live out my last few years as an extra in the Book of Eli and the Road Warrior?

Will I die in my seventies of heart disease, as I am statistically likely to?  Or will I pass in my fifties due to heat stroke?

This isn’t to be a downer or to be dour, and it certainly isn’t to naysay climate change.  But these are things I feel we, personally and as a society, need to start considering.  Climate change isn’t coming; it’s here.  It’s happening.  It isn’t a future scenario; it is the present.  And the absolute best case scenarios of mitigating it and even trying to reverse it show years and decades ahead of life and lifestyle changes (if just that).

Ten years ago, we were talking about what a job looked like in a post-scarcity world.  Ten years from now, will we be talking about how great we had it to have running water in every house?  Or will we even be around to talk?

If you aren’t considering these questions, I strongly encourage you to.

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