Closer than we think

The truth about the climate crisis is hard to hear and harder to fully accept. I can’t claim to be there yet – I am nowhere close to accepting the reality of our future, my kids futures. 

Because the truth we need to accept is that over the next few years (whether we are talking 5, 10 or 30 years, we can’t say for certain), environmental and ecological collapse, in the form of extreme weather and crop failures, will have a catastrophic, impossible-to-ignore impact on our lives. 

More quickly than you might imagine, we will experience food shortages, spiralling food prices, hunger, water shortages, flooding, rising unemployment, deep recession… It’s likely that all this will lead to rising division, desperation on our streets, violence, and ultimately societal collapse.  It’s also likely that governments and corporations will resort to authoritarianism to re-assert control.

“I am often asked what frightens me most about climate change, whether I lie awake at night thinking about ocean hypoxia or arctic permafrost or other feedback processes that could turn a bad thing into a catastrophe. I am scared of the physical changes that await us on a warming planet, but the most important feedback process is the least well understood. The scariest thing about climate change is what it will make us do to each other.”   Kate Marvel on July 29, 2019

At the same time we will be dealing with the awful, brutalising, dehumanizing experience of bearing witness to the deaths of millions of people around the world. We – and our children – will have to find a way to live with the knowledge that millions are dying and will die, on a scale unimaginably greater than we have so far experienced.  If we are now devastated by thinking about migrant children being killed at sea, or Mexican toddlers being imprisoned in America, how will our humanity bear what is to come? 

And how close to home will the deaths and desperation come? Will people in our own communities starve? Will our own desperation and fear turn us all against each other?

The truth about ecological and environmental collapse, and the associated economic, political and societal consequences – is terrifying to contemplate. It feels more like the premise for an apocalyptic action movie, than a real possibility for our own lives, kids and communities.

Let’s just think about that.

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