Apologies if this gets long and rambly. It’s partly a post-BristolCon What Will Joey Do Next, and partly a kind of mental splurge at the way things appear to be moving in the world, which is not the way that I would hope to see them going…
So, we’re Post-Brexit here in the UK, whatever that means. Our Glorious Leaders keep telling us that “Brexit Means Brexit”, which is about as illuminating as saying “Cornflakes mean cornflakes” or “lethargy means lethargy”. Tells us nothing about what Brexit actually is or what’s going to happen because, frankly, no one has a fucking clue. Not the people who voted for it, not the people who implemented it. So… yay?
So fuck Brexit. I’m a proud European who wants to stay in Europe, and if that makes me a traitor in the eyes of the Daily Mail, so be it.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic… oh Sweet Jesus, what have you done? Not so much Trump, Trump is a blustering buffoon who is never going to build his stupid wall or ban all Muslims. But what he stands for, for hate and division and bigotry and bullying… that’s deeply upsetting. We tell our children to be kind, to be gentle, that cheats never prosper and bullies don’t win. Well, that’s been exposed for the lie we all knew it was, so what sort of climate are we fostering now? Grab girls by the pussy, accuse Mexicans of being racist and hey, you too could grow up to be President! And Mike Pence scares the shit out of me… He’s the puppetmaster, the man behind the curtain, likely to be the next President when Trump inevitably gets himself impeached, and he has some seriously messed-up opinions on women and LGBT people.
And Trump is a climate change denier, which IMO is a bit like denying the existence of cheese. Climate change is something we simply can’t afford to ignore any more. The planet is already in deep trouble and at some point in the next few years we’re going to start paying for that, and paying hard. I really do believe we are in for some apocalyptically bad shit, and standing on the lawn of the White House with your fingers in your ears going “Lalala, I blame the Mexicans!” is going to help precisely no-one. There needs to be a coherent policy for dealing with the impact of climate change (I’m talking globally, not just in the US) and it’s not going to be implemented by someone who thinks the whole thing is, and I quote, “A hoax invented by the Chinese.” (Seriously, if I made this shit up it would be dismissed as implausible).
So, our current crop of politicians are useless, short-term thinkers / isolationist idiots / gibbering TV hosts, for the most part. We’re basically on our own, kids. We’re going to have to learn to live within our means again.
What I think will happen (and I hope it doesn’t, I hope we can pull ourselves out of the mire by our suspenders) is that over the next 100-250 years we will see massive die-offs in humanity, caused by diseases and natural disasters and, lets face it, probably wars over diminishing resources. We’re going to see a massive loss of food security due to the changing climate, more famines, more extreme weather destroying crops. I think, to survive, there’s going to have to be a reversion to living more pastorally, to growing our own crops, to making things and relying on renewable power rather than oil, because oil is a finite resource and it’s not going to be around forever. And it’s going to be hard, and we’re going to have to learn a lot of skills that we’ve forgotten. But I think it’s something a lot of us will have to do.
And if you’re thinking, oh, we won’t go back to how we lived 100 years ago, just think of the massive speed of progress and how it changed the world in the 20th Century. In my great grandfather’s lifetime alone we moved from horse-drawn transport to walking on the moon, from half-penny postcards to the dawn of the internet. Think how much the world can change in 100 years and it’s quite frightening. And for hundreds of years before that, most people lived off the land. We can’t carry on the way we are, in a throwaway society, expecting things to be this good for ever. In terms of human history, the last 100 years or so have been a blip. We have literally never had it so good, and anyone who thinks it’s going to last forever is being a bit naive.
So, that’s my pessimistic view of the future. That’s why I (and a bunch of my friends, so I’m not alone in my insanity) have decided to pool our resources and buy a smallholding, so we can learn to live more ecologically before it all goes tits up. That means growing quite a lot of our own food, generating our own electricity, learning to live in a way that has less impact on the planet. It might only be a small thing, but it’s something. I’m tired of sitting around feeling helpless while the world goes to hell in a handbasket. We have a chance to do something really amazing, a life-changing opportunity, and I’m simultaneously really excited and a little bit terrified!
That’s what’s happening here. Watch this space for meltdowns, panics, triumphs and disasters!
Great article, Joanne.
I think the most upsetting thing of all is that we may not have as much time as stated in the article. Already in 2009 China used more energy than the USA and since they are heavily reliant on coal, we can imagine what impact this has had on global warming, and India is estimated to surpass Japan and become the 3rd greatest importer of oil and gas soon after 2020, which is just around the corner.
The developed countries have had their turn at improving their industries and creating massive manufacturing bases which have already cost the planet. Now the emerging economies are having their turn and there’s nobody to stop them. Global warming and C02 emissions are here to stay and the shift to renewable resources is slow and proves inadequate to keep up with our ever increasing consumer thirst and demand for energy.
Since the industrial revolution from 1760 to about 1840, when new manufacturing processes were introduced and factories switched from manpower to machine driven methods, the world’s carbon dioxide levels have been steadily rising. In September 2016 we surpassed the 400ppm (parts per million) threshold, which is the point at which vegetation globally (trees of the world) can absorb the CO2 in the atmosphere. ie. plants are no longer able to cope, in which case, even if we were to stop all CO2 emissions right now, the effects would linger for decades. Our generation will probably never experience CO2 levels below 400ppm again!
Our planet has already heated up from the pre-industrial era by about 1.0 C and is estimated to reach 1.5 C in the next decade. The effects? Since 1990, devastating weather-related events: floods (Philippines), drought, more intense storms (Europe), heatwaves, desertification of Mediterranean countries such as my own (Cyprus), and wild fires (USA, Australia). 2.0 C is considered a dangerous threshold for global warming and we are currently set to surpass it, at current CO2 emission levels, by 2050. At 3.0 C we lose Greenland and the coral reefs.
You say Trump is denying global change? It’s effects are already felt in his own country by freak hurricanes, storms, floods, and fires. And it means he is in direct opposition of the EU countries and most of the world. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC dealing with greenhouse emission mitigation, adaptation and finance starting 2020 saw the Paris agreement signed by 195 countries at the World Convention on 12 December 2015 and has set a target of less than 2.0 C, 1.5 C if possible.
Let’s hope the effects of economic recession, which have brought about an increased shift towards hard-lined far right policies in many countries including the States, can be turned around sooner rather than later so we can bring in more socialism and give this world the respite it needs, with attention on helping people, helping each other, helping the world we live in so we can all heal the wounds together. This is a time when unity is required more than ever. We need to fight back against extreme regimes and policies that promote hate and greed any way we can, each in our own unique way, to the best of our abilities.
If this means taking to the streets to shout NO, then so be it. But we need to implement change NOW.
Sophie E Tallis said:
I am so so excited for you honey, yay!!!!!!! 😀 And a definite yes to sustainable living and less impact on the environment. We grow a few fruits and veggies but want to do more, with 8 glorious acres all you need is a polytunnel for all year round food! YAY!!! 😀 xxxx I’ll definitely be a frequent visitor (with my trusty hammer, chainsaw and tools!) 😉
Sophie E Tallis said:
Lol, sorry for the jubilant reply above but as for the meat of the post, yeap, couldn’t have said it better. The whole situation is fucked. The ignorant and corrupt have taken over and we as a nation are in a sorry state. Now, with the orange fascist moron coming to power, things are even more dire and in environmental terms, we are about to be pushed into the abyss. 😦 Great post honey (and yes, I’m still wildly excited for you plans!)