It’s Humanity vs Extinction — And the Clock is Ticking
How will the 2020s be remembered? We’re living through a time that I think history will recall as the Great Deafness. What do I mean by that? Take a hard look around the world.
Beginning with the picture above. That’s the World Heat Map. And it shows a planet on fire. Heatwaves of immense proportions stretch from America to China and across Europe. What do you call it when a heatwave engulfs most of a planet? A mega-heatwave, maybe, just like now we have megastorms and megafires.
“Climate change” — a term invented by a far right wing lobbyist who helped start the war in Iraq, to make the death of a planet seem innocuous — used to be something abstract. It was going to arrive in the future. So what? Let’s party! But now? Every day of every summer, you can literally feel the planet getting hotter. Feel it on your skin. In your sweat. You can see it in the strange, surreal, flaming sunsets.
You are living through the Age of Extinction now. “Climate change” is finally here, to a level we can all viscerally experience just by stepping outside. It’s going to be 35 degrees Celsius in London. 40 in Spain. 38 in Paris. It’s 50 in the Indian Subcontinent. The killing heat is here. Our civilization is being boiled alive.
So. The Great Deafness. What does it mean? It’s pretty simple.
How many wake up calls is it going to take?
We’re beginning to live at the end of a civilization. It feels “a lot like that” because that’s what it is. This isn’t a joke or a drill. Not anymore. It’s on your doorstep. Our doorsteps.
The killing heat. What do I mean by that? Being boiled alive. Exaggeration? Let’s think about the consequences.
In America, energy grids are stressed. Utilities are already practically begging people to cut power consumption. But of course how can they? The hotter it gets, the higher and more you need to run the air conditioning. Europe’s not too far behind. Westerners don’t understand that in the Indian Subcontinent, the future is already here — people experience killing heat with hours of power cuts per day.
The future is already here, and they’re living it. Who’s they? Well, the global poor, really. Westerners don’t fully understand that as our civilization continues to implode around us, we’re all on the way to becoming the global poor. Think about it: in a place like India and Pakistan, it’s not just tampons and baby formula that are in shortage, like in America, but even more basic necessities. Water, energy, food.
Go ahead and imagine living through this kind of accelerating heat — without power. Without enough water. Without enough food, money, shelter. What do you do?
That’s the future.
The killing heat destroys everything. Everything. It roars, and the fundamental systems of our civilization incinerate, like a supernova setting fire to a forest. Power grids fail. Water runs out. Harvests wither. The soil turns to dust and the rivers and lakes run dry.
How many wake up calls is it going to take?
In the American West, there are already predictions that water will begin running out — seriously running out, as in, it’s gone for good — in 2025. 2025 used to seem like the future. It’s two and a half years away. Reservoirs like Lake Mead supply water to tens of millions of people. They form the basis of the water system of half a continent. They’re now running dry, and when they do, the game is over. Good luck living out there in the desert — and pretending it’s a green, tropical paradise. The illusion shatters.
The American West also illustrates the interconnected problem of megasystem failure. The system of reservoirs it depends on doesn’t just supply water, it supplies electricity, through hydropower, too. As the water runs out, the lights go out. Nice. This is how collapse happens. Dominoes fall. One systems falling down and failing hits another, and they both go down.
So here we have not one but three wake up calls all in one. Water, electricity, and of course agriculture, because the American West’s water ends up in California, where it nourishes the crops which feed much of a continent. What happens when the choice in California is water for agriculture or to live on?
That choice might seem like it’s in some distant future — but it’s not. It’s going to begin to happen within this decade. It already is, slowly.
The key word is slowly.
What’s happening to us is…let me tell you how I wake up. I bet you do it too. I’m very lucky. Most days I don’t have to wake up at any particular time. I can just wake up…whenever. Phew. Lovely. But on those days I do? I took my amazing singer to test mics just the other day, and she’s a morning person, people. I had to wake up at 9AM. It took every ounce of strength in my whiny little man-child body.
When I have to wake up early, man, I get grumpy. And I know I’m going to struggle to do it, so I do what you probably do. I set the alarm earlier than that. And then…like most of us…I hit the snooze button every six minutes…four minutes…whatever it is…for an hour…tossing and turning irritably…trying to stave off the inevitable.
I know I have to get up. And I always leave it till the very last…snooze button. You know the one. Ah Jesus — it’s six minutes to 9AM? I’ve been hitting the goddamned snooze button every four minutes for an hour? What even is that, like four thousand times?
Now, that’s not the worst part. The worst part? I used to do this at hotels. Back when I was a high-flying corporate master of the universe, jetting from one capital to another, I’d book a wake up call. And when I got the wake up call, grumpily, I’d say, as politely as I could, through my sleep…”could you call me back in ten minutes”? Now, these were nice places. They weren’t going to say no. But man, what an a-hole I used to be. Because these kind people would be calling me every ten minutes for like two hours. Just because I didn’t want to get up.
Want to know where we are as a civilization? That’s where we are.
We’re getting wake up call after wake up call. And we keep hitting the goddamned snooze button. Bzzzzzzztttttttttt. The godforsaken alarm goes off. And we roll over, grumpily, and slam the button, thinking, “Jesus, man, it’s only 8:30. I don’t have a meeting until 9! Just give me another five minutes! Please!”
But the relentless bastard — the alarm — just keeps on going off, every four minutes, until, at last, we’re forced to give in.
This is where we are. Sleepers hitting the snooze button.
Only we’re not on the way to some kind of corporate meeting. The house is on fire. Burglars dressed in Donald Trump masks are downstairs rummaging through our stuff. Someone just stole the air conditioning, and someone else is prying apart the pipes. Another guy is smiling while he grabs all our bank account details from the laptop on the coffee table.
The situation is serious.
And there we are, hitting the goddamned snooze button over and over.
Maybe you see my point.
It’s time for us to wake up, my friends. I don’t mean you, gentle reader, particularly. I mean us as a civilization, in the Big Sense of the Word. It’s not OK to keep hitting the snooze button at a time like this. It’s just…I don’t know, what comes two levels past reckless? When the house is burning down and being robbed all at the same time, and you’re like, man, can I just get some sleep?
If “climate change” isn’t a good enough example — enjoying the heat? — then here’s another, and then another.
Summer. YACW. Yet Another Covid Wave. By now, Covid’s mutated into something that can reinfect us…over and over…and over and over…again…seemingly forever. Escaping our vaccines and natural immunity both. Surprise? It shouldn’t have been. Not to anyone seriously thinking about it, anyways. If you read me regularly, we discussed many times how Coronaviruses are some of the most recombinogenic which exist, meaning they mutate at super high rates. Combine that with a nonexistent public health policy which amounted to “Covid is over! Yay!! — remember those days, they were just like three months ago — meaning that Covid was just allowed to spread unchecked into those at risk, which is precisely how new variants form…and you had a recipe for imminent, total, absolute, idiot-disaster.
And here we all are. Thanks, leaders, and thanks idiots who let them get away with this. Now we’re all going to be reinfected forever.
Yay, I guess.
How many more wake up calls do we need?
We cannot let our future be defined this way anymore. What do I mean by “this way”?
It’s easy enough to understand how we ended up here. I mean just think of how “climate change” became the innocuous and inaccurate way we describe the actual thing — which is our planet dying and taking our civilization with it. It happened because this dude, this d*ckhead, made the term precisely to seem non-threatening. Then it became a “debate,” in the way that propagandists disguised as “think tanks” and pundits make reality itself a “debate.” Our leaders, easily corrupted, bought into this, so they could kick the bucket down the road forever. The idiots — the Trumpistts, the Brexiters, the nationalists, fanatics, lunatics, theocrats — all fell into line behind them, snarling and screaming and raging. Climate change? Not a thing! No evidence! It doesn’t even exist! So what? Maybe that’s what God wants!
That’s how we ended up here. How Australia, for example, had a climate change denier as Prime Minister while it convulsed in what’s now called its Black Summer, when megafires ripped through it. How rich nations can pretend “net zero” means anything when they’re not doing a damned thing to help actually protect the world’s great ecosystems, which are mostly in poor countries, like the Amazon, or in no countries at all, like the ocean currents.
The same thing happened with Covid. Pundits made it a debate, supported by the kinds of scientists and doctors who put fame and power and money before truth and the Hippocratic Oath. Hey! You don’t know for sure that Covid is going to mutate! It’s just a guess! No, you idiot, they’re called “viruses,” it’s what they exist to do. Haven’t you ever read a goddamned book? Ah no, you’re too busy banning them. What’s that? Oh, at least you’re not burning them yet. Great, good. Excellent work, everyone.
We cannot let this cycle of idiocy define our future anymore. Inept leaders and lunatic idiots, in a suicide pact with each other, happy to see the planet die and civilization crumple like a beer can in the hands of a spring breaker…and all of us are just along for the ride.
Imagine a…clown car. It’s driving on a narrow, scary switchback way, way up a mountain. There’s roughly the distance of a razor’s edge between the left wheel of the clown car, and fourteen thousand feet of air.
In the drivers seat are our leaders, and in the passengers seat…well…there’s a) pundits b) propagandists of the “thinktank” style, paid by billionaires to trot out comfortable lies that nothing much has to change and c) all the fanatics, theocrats, lunatics, and idiots who believe them. They’re all crammed into that one goddamned passenger seat like it was the First Class Lounge at Satan’s Airport.
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