I’m the handsome guy circled in red wearing a green polyester suit.
Since graduating in 1976 we chose to celebrate our good fortune like yeast in sugar by doubling our population from 4 to 8 billion and increasing our total consumption and excretions by over 500%.
To our grandchildren we will leave depleted oil wells, mines, aquifers, and soils, a dangerous climate, forests displaced by agriculture and sickened by ozone, many fewer species, oceans filled with plastic instead of fish, epidemics of opioids and obesity, and over $300,000,000,000,000 of debt not counting unfunded liabilities like pensions.
1976 graduation motto: “You are a child of the universe.”
2018 reunion motto: “Mission accomplished: We had a great time and left nothing of value for future generations.”
Some old friends from my high school class of ’76 are having a reunion to celebrate turning 60 this year.
I offered to give a talk at the dinner party on how climate change is spinning out of control and may kill our grandchildren, but my offer was not warmly received.
I clearly made a faux pas because climate change has become a little too sensitive to discuss in polite company given how obvious the trends are.
In hindsight, I should have offered to speak on our denial of the collapse of civilization that is underway due to human overshoot and fossil energy depletion, and how our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities is intimately linked to our uniquely powerful brain, and its wacky belief in gods and life after death.
That would have been a much more interesting after-dinner topic that most people haven’t seen in the news, and I could imagine a lively Q&A when I explained that the only “solution” is a global one-child policy, severe government austerity, and a forced contraction of the economy.
Despite the depressing subject, I’m sure there would have been some genuine happiness in the room as old girlfriends breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t marry me.