Here’s a cheery little post for a Sunday evening!
We often hear people talking about what we can do to “save the planet”. Really though, what is meant is “Save Civilisation”. If the nations of the Earth continue in the way they are currently, then we will see a collapse in the incredible civilisation that has built up over the last few hundred years. To the planet, the period of industrialisation, fossil-fuel burning and waste will be just a blip on a billion-year history. The planet has coped before with catastrophes and will cope with what humankind has done to it. Life will go on, but human civilisation as we know it won’t survive.
We know that human action has led to climate change. We know what we have to do to counter this and how urgently, but nothing is happening fast enough. The nations of the world bicker about internal politics like Brexit in the UK and the Wall in the USA and worry about “threats” from each other for dominance in the markets but ignore the impending disaster brought on by our actions.
It is wonderful then to see children across the world reacting to this threat and showing they have a voice through marches and school strikes. Like many others, they realise that if urgent action is not taken to tackle climate change then it is their generation that will live through the depravations brought on by the neglect of the current rulers.
As ecological change hits, then whole populations will become unsustainable where they are. It will be harder to provide water and food for millions of people and we will see migration on a huge scale. This will lead to humanitarian crises and conflict over resources and lands where water and good crop growing conditions still exist. In the worst case this will lead to all-out war, with increasing desperation leading to the use of nuclear weapons by smaller nations threatened by those such as the USA with massive armies.
This won’t just be a crisis for developing nations. Rich countries will need to cope with hugely increased demands from migrants, but within rich countries like the USA there will be critical resource issues in areas affected by drought and the loss of biodiversity. This will lead to massive migration and starvation within the country as regions become unsustainable for crop growing and human existence.
Rich countries around the world are currently reacting to perceived threats from increasing immigration, but these are nothing compared to what will come with ecological changes that will happen over the next 50 years. In my lifetime, I am sad to say, I will witness the breakdown of the great global civilisation that has built up over the last few hundred years as increasingly desperate groups look to preserve and protect what they have, rather than work cooperatively to find the best solutions for the majority of the world.
The sad fact is that we are already seeing this inward-looking protectionism in Europe and the USA. Couple this with a “head in the sand” attitude to the unequivocal scientific data about climate change that has been building for decades and we are doomed.
It is very sad to think that this apocalyptic future is all avoidable, but we seem powerless to act fast enough to have any real effect. I’m sure that ancient civilisations had the same problems, vested interests in locations and ways of life blinded those in power to the impending disasters of drought or sea level rise. Civilisations fall, it seems likely ours will too, but the planet will be fine.