An uneducated child understands that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible. Yet economic growth is the top priority for every leader in the world and the majority of citizens.
The short-term solution to our problems is the long-term cause of our problems: economic growth. The long-term solution to our problems is the short-term cause of our problems: reduced consumption. Why do we not discuss this obvious and rather important paradox?
The key resource (oil) that created and maintains our civilization will be mostly gone in 15 years. There is not one country or political party anywhere in the world that has this at the top of their priority list.
In addition to climate change and its sea level rise and ocean acidification offspring, we have many other serious overshoot problems such as species extinction, fisheries collapse, resource depletion, nitrogen imbalance, and ozone pollution harming trees and other plants. We don’t acknowledge, discuss, or act on any of them. Overshoot issues are not even whispered about in elections.
Most parents consider care of their offspring a priority. Yet the actions of most parents that impact overshoot are not consistent with caring for their offspring.
There is not one leader, from any country, on any continent, that discusses what is actually going on and what we should be doing at this time. Not even after they leave office.
Climate scientists are a highly educated group of professionals with a good understanding of our peril. Most have not yet given up and call for aggressive reductions in carbon emissions. Yet the majority of climate scientists do not set good examples by living low-carbon lifestyles.
Leaders who seem to be genuinely concerned about climate change, like Obama, do not set good lifestyle examples.
Climate models used to predict the future consider different scenarios to reflect different possible human responses. None of these models consider economic collapse, despite collapse being the most probable outcome, even if you do not believe low-cost oil and other resource depletions are problems, because history shows that our current debt to GDP ratio always ends in collapse. Why do climate scientists not focus on the most probable scenario? It’s an important question because living with a permanent economic depression may be preferable to the climate trajectory we are currently on.
Despite overwhelming scientific and common sense evidence, the richest and most powerful country in the world elected someone who denies climate change.
At the last climate change conference our leaders and climate scientists changed the goal from a dangerous and already impossible 2 degrees to a still dangerous and more impossible 1.5 degrees (denial of where we are), and never discussed the only thing that might make climate change less bad: shrinking the economy (denial of what we must do).
A powerful brain with an extended theory of mind is clearly a useful adaptation for an intelligent social species because it has permitted humans to take over the planet. What has prevented other intelligent social species like chimpanzees, elephants, crows, and dolphins from evolving brains similar to humans? Varki explains that denial of reality is required.
Every known human society and tribe has had a religion. There are good and easy to understand evolutionary reasons for the success of religion. What is not easy to explain is why does every religion have a life after death story? And why are humans the only species that have religions? Belief in life after death originates from an adaptation to deny mortality, and this improbable adaptation has occurred so far in only one species.
2 thoughts on “Observations”
After working for 5 years I realized I’d made enough money to stop work, I could clearly see the world was going to run out of resources and while I had no solution I had no intention of making things worse. That was 1975.
The moment I did that I no longer had anything in common with anyone, anywhere, I was immediately utterly alone, in the most profound way I had died. The ego needs to take part in order to exist, no taking part and “you” whatever you mean by that concept has nothing to graspa a “world” which is good or bad, right or wrong no longer exists. The problem is most folk are terrified of non-existence which, as you say,is why religions are so popular!!
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I understand that, having decided to live a low wage income level (below the income tax threshold). The concept of not being ambitious or seeking better paid work, but instead choosing to do what I like, which sometimes I get paid for, is alien to most people, and disenfranchises you socially.
What I have found though, is that there are indeed like minded people out there, with differing levels of awareness of our species’ predicaments, with whom you can have these conversations. In effect apocalypse can be a social event. It just takes more effort to find them. There is probably a correlation, but most I’ve found (outside of the internet) are whilst volunteering at local community gardening projects.
An example very recently, randomly bumped into someone I vaguely knew from decades ago, voluntarily doing a litter pick. I use a subtle method of ‘sounding’ doomers out by slipping in an odd anecdote about climate catastrophe or soild degredation or whatever, whenever the conversation gives you the chance. Eg talking about the weather, just say “Yeah, it was 18*C in the Artic circle the other day.” And see what response you get. Those that are aware will shine through. Turns out this person was very aware, and it was a relief for both of us to have the conversations that you just can’t with most people. Currently anway.
Funny moment of today whilst doing this person’s garden, I was asked if a just grew veggies, and I replied quite firmly “No, I have lots of flowers. You can have all the apocalypse you want, but I still want it to look pretty,” which got a good laugh.
The sixth stage of grieving for the planet, as someone recently quipped, gallows humour.
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