It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine:
Why We Shouldn’t Give In to the Doom and Gloom of Climate Change Alarmism
By Gary Null, PhD and Richard Gale
Progressive Radio Network, May 22, 2013
As far as climate change predictions threatening human life on earth are concerned, none have sounded more dire than those suggested by Guy McPherson, a professor emeritus of natural resources and the environment at the University of Arizona. According to his calculations, and other climate change scientists, humanity has until 2030 before witnessing massive die-off of human life from extreme conditions.
While this news will upset people—even seducing some to a nihilistic and even hedonistic passivity in their lives—this impasse is not unrelated to the cause and effects of many other issues people live in denial about. The verdict is becoming increasingly unanimous among climate scientists that humans are a major contributor to global warming and extreme climate conditions mounting around the globe. There were over 100,000 extreme weather events in 2012 and over 11,000 in the US alone. Fifty percent of the US, through 16 states, has encountered drought conditions and devastating wildfires as a result.
Recently over a dozen tornados reaching 200 mile per hour descended upon Western Texas, and California is witnessing forest fires four months earlier than expected. Daily new extremes in temperature are being felt somewhere around the planet. Sandy caused the loss of hundreds and hundreds of homes and property at a cost of $75 billion, and that was only a Category 1 storm when it hit the northeastern seaboard. Imagine the cost and loss of the coming Category 2 and 3 hurricanes.
If humanity is in fact greatly responsible for the rise in harsher, more extreme climate, then our denial of this fact is further contributing to humanity’s demise when a truly catastrophic tipping point is reached, by 2030, according Prof McPherson’s estimates or a couple decades later according many other scientists such as Clive Hamilton, Frank Fenner, Andrew Glikson and James Hansen.
What is denialism but neglecting to heed warnings that our actions are not sustainable and will have dire consequences in the future? The blowback from society’s denial, in fact the core of our civilization’s denial, is met when a tipping point is reached. Placing blame upon a cabal of political oligarchs and corporate and Wall Street elites, while providing some psychological relief from guilt and shame, will not reduce the speed of climate-related feedback loops driving the earth to be uninhabitable to humans and many other forms of life. Even faced with the warnings, we continue to allow the environment to be desecrated. We are the fattest nation in the world and don’t stop to consider the carbon footprint of knowing that billions of animals are slaughtered to keep our junk-food chains operative and children nice and plump.
Today America is the land of the emotionally enslaved. Our denial of freedom, of democratic principles, of history, of the economy, of health and our own bodies is collectively leading to tipping points, all triggering a cascade of other intangible and detrimental effects yet to be predicted. How far do we permit the White House to ignore the Constitution, increase domestic spying, and pass even more undemocratic bills such as the National Defense Authorization Act, before we careen into a fascist state? How much more money does the Treasury need to print before the American economy crashes to Third World status and the dollar is no longer the reserve currency that keeps the country competitive? How many more economic failures await before Detroit becomes the new normal for our cities?
Already, we have encountered and passed many political, social and economic tipping points. Our national world view tipped in 2001 as the Bush regime militarized over 160 countries to establish our military footprint on their soil. We created wars that didn’t need to happen in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now in Syria, Mali and other countries. Our hundreds of tons of depleted uranium explosives have left these environments in the Middle East wastelands for centuries ahead.
Democracy tipped long before the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United. Corporations and private interests have been buying politicians and elections for years. Corporate-hood, not personhood, has been a norm in Washington for several decades now. Obama is rapidly charging towards a tipping point for a nation run by corporate internationalists, not Americans, by appointing billionaire, real-estate mogul, Penny Pritzker, to head Commerce, and Monsanto attorney and insider Michael Taylor to govern our nation’s food safety.
Long ago, conventional medical practice and pharmaceutical drugs became the nation’s leading cause of death. Yet there has been no systematic review of our medical genocide by our legislators and there are no constructive efforts being made to turn the tide of iatrogenic deaths. Obamacare doesn’t prevent a single disease and funds nothing that will reduce Americans’ declining quality of health. The only beneficiaries to Obamacare are the private insurance sector and drug companies.
American education tipped 20 years ago. A curriculum to create a nation of young educated critical thinkers has been usurped by private interests. And we now have only a manifesto to educate children to earn higher scores instead of learning how to function in life.
Fifty-eight thousand factories closed and jobs off-shored and manufacturing plants greatly downsized. As if this was not sufficient for corporate executives to increase revenues and pay themselves higher bonuses, we now have visa laws enabling companies to import trained workers from other countries—India, South Korea, Taiwan and others—to replace highly skilled and educated American workers Eight million families lost their homes, accounting for 40 million Americans.
There are 1 million abandoned and forgotten veterans now homeless and living in forests and under bridges.
Eighteen million hungry children and an additional 40 million are facing food insecurity, receiving food stamps, even though many hold a full time job.
America’s relationship to eating healthy food tipped when the majority of Californians succumbed to Monsanto and DuPont lies and rejected the labeling of genetically modified food.
Americans remain in cultural stupor as 100,000 gas hydrofracking wells and 104 decrepit nuclear reactors threaten the health of themselves and their families. There is no massive popular outcry to put a halt to this corporate insanity.
To have a sustainable nation and planet, its residents must honor compassionate thoughts, actions and values. The past 50 decades of transition from a country identified with freedom of speech, democratic values, respect for the vote of the people, to a militarized and intelligence police state, would make the Spanish Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada proud. America’s foreign policy to bully, invade, threaten, and infiltrate with malevolent intentions should not be a surprise. The collapse of higher moral and spiritual values has already tipped in favor of violence, narcissism and psychopathology. Rather than the earlier generation’s best and brightest joining the Peace Corps to relieve suffering in impoverished nations, now the best and brightest roar each summer upon graduation and gallop off to Wall Street to plunder not only the wealth and resources of developing nations but also of our own citizens. But the average American doesn’t mind because they are too enthralled with the sociopathic rantings of Hell’s Kitchen megalomaniac host Gordon Ramsay humiliating and degrading restaurant staffs.
Guy McPherson is not the lone voice to be speaking out. There are thousands of conscientious scientists and scholars who have warned about specific pieces of the big view. When we gather all the warnings and paint a large mural of our future, we are still faced with a very dire and gloomy future that is fundamentally being ignored across the political and social strata of American society.
Certainly there is a great deal we can do. The most dire predictions are based upon our unwillingness to make dramatic changes in our consumption, our efforts and contribution to our communities, our voting patterns, our methods of protest and demonstration and how we invest our money. Even McPherson holds out a sliver of hope and recommends changes. But we must agree that any true transition away from America’s and our industrial economy’s destructive trajectory will be painful. We will need to learn to discover and create consolation in the suffering ahead and the radical changes to be made to restore any semblance of equilibrium between humanity and the planet. Yet denial and phantasmagoria flows deep in the veins of American politics, economy and social culture, and our oligarchic elite are all too elated to keep it that way. We are beyond the point when technology will promise with certainty salvation. Civilization as we know it is now fully committed to serving the destructive impulse that resides in all of us.
For a growing number of environmentalists, scientists, journalists and philosophers struggling with the ethical issues of good and evil in our present technological and corporate paradigm, the greatest moral act might just be the collapse of industrial civilization and the start of a new beginning. What will be necessary for creating a new sustainable future after the demise of the free market capitalist system and our top-down political governance, are also solutions that people can devote themselves to now, even on a small local scale. For McPherson, this includes fundamental changes in our infrastructure, the way we produce food, the manner we conserve resources, how transportation moves goods, the ways in which populations inhabit the land, the localization of politics and our socio-economic dynamics of doing business, a complete transformation of our education and the way children are prepared for the future. None of these are simple changes to greet with open arms. However, the saying, “the pull of the future is greater than the push from the past,” is an avoidable truth and depends upon whether we are pulled forward kicking and screaming, or willingly enter the future with the integrity, dedication and empathy to ease the transition for others.
Each of us can contribute something that will improve the quality of life and remove ourselves further from the control of the ruling elite. For example, if each person simply voted upon higher ideals, and with an awareness of the dire threats ahead, we would clean out the temples of Washington and rid government of its culture of corruption, deceit, power and non-democratic influence that has been an enemy of the nation for so long.
Among the many individual acts people can make, we have offered some that can make a big difference if enough act upon them:
18 Points to Escape the Corporate Matrix and Contribute to a Planet in Danger
- Avoid purchasing any clothing manufactured outside of the United States to increase industry at home.
- Support only local produce, goods and services (eg., farmers markets) and transition to buying organic only.
- Boycott purchasing food from the major super market chains, especially Walmart, and support smaller local food markets
- Boycott all genetically modified foods by demanding that food be properly labeled for containing genetically modified ingredients and for having been irradiated.
- Shift savings and checking to local Savings and Loan Banks and/or credit unions that do not engage in rampant derivatives and exotic investment instruments. Most important is remove all funds from major large banking institutions such as Citi, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.
- Become a socially responsible investor, and divest yourself from any corporate and financial institutional activities that exploit labor and the environment and contributes in any way to the military industrial complex, including those nations that are the largest clients to the arms industry, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Taiwan and Israel.
- Green your home and apartment, which can include re-insulating to minimize temperature fluctuations, installing exhaust systems for more efficient cooling
- Adopt alternative forms of transportation that might include more walking and bicycling to curtail excessive and unnecessary use of cars and vehicles.
- Become socially engaged by protesting mandatory vaccinations, demand GMO labeling and subscribe to progressive watch organizations devoted to mobilizing citizens to protest congressional and state bills that only benefit corporations and not citizens
- Vote with your conscience not your fears. Get complete voting records and corporate funding histories of any politician in any election to become aware of what he or she is likely to do when in office and why. And sponsor progressive candidates for all offices.
- Become engaged in your communities to organize and support anti-foreclosure referendums and support the reform and improvement of rental policies for those who have fallen behind in their mortgages due to the economic recession.
- Help initiate and support community barter services where individuals can sign up and provide their talents and time when available to share on a non-currency based exchange model.
- Donate whatever is not necessary to your life such as unused clothing and home items to the poor.
- Become engaged with those in need of kindness and compassion in your communities. This might be acting as a big brother or big sister for orphans or parentally deprived children. It might be helping senior citizens, helping with their shopping, banking, transportation, and taxes.
- Support cooperative community projects, such as the rent-a-couch movement, and help create proper screening for people to live temporarily in converted, unused spaces until they can get back on their feet. These can be converted garages, basements or attics and adjacent buildings on a property for a modest rent or barter arrangement.
- Support and/or initiate referendums that would convert abandoned buildings or lots to the public commons. These can be used as community spaces for organizing or community gardens.