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This Earth will grow cold,
A star among stars
and one of the smallest,
A gilded mote on blue velvet-
I mean this, one great Earth.
This Earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut
It will roll along
In pitch-black space.
You must grieve for this right now –
You have to feel this sorrow now –
For the world must be loved this much
If you’re going to say “I lived”
Nazim Hikmet (Excerpt poem “On Living” Feb, 1948
I’m not one for making dramatic statements at all but for the last few years I’ve been reading various (non-sugar coated) scientific reports on climate change, and in view of the dire reports on methane emissions escaping the East Siberian Arctic shelf (I’ll get to that shortly), as well as the sixth mass extinction which is currently underway — I think it’s pretty clear that our brief time as a species on this planet is coming to an end and soon. I think some of my friends probably think I’m far too pessimistic when it comes to what I -and some others- see as near-term human extinction but that’s OK. I don’t really mention it much any more because I don’t think most people want to hear it or think about it. Most of us know on some level something terrible is going to befall us as a species but most think it’s going happen toward the end of the century. On the rare occasion I have raised the issue of near-term human extinction to anyone, they either go quiet, glaze over and it goes into a black hole, or they say to me: “No I think it’s going to be very bad for our children and their children.” Have you had that experience? Some people just don’t want to think about it and that’s understandable. But at the same time if we had a terminal disease, wouldn’t we want to know? I would. I think it’s important that we are at least given the information. Of course we are all terminal because we are organic organisms and we are all impermanent 😉 but what’s been happening in the Arctic in recent years puts a different light on everything. What it means is that most likely none of us will get to live out our natural lives – however long that might have been for each of us individually. What it means is that everything, the “history”, music, books and so forth, every trace of humans will vanish. Even the huge pile of swirling plastic in the ocean will vanish eventually. Eventually the pyramids will vanish, Stonehenge will vanish, there will be very little trace of us. There will be no one left to remember, or to tell.
If one looks at the most recent (non-sugar-coated) scientific information coming out in recent years about METHANE emissions, particularly research on methane emissions from the EAST SIBERIAN ARCTIC SHELF, one really has to be in some kind of major denial to think this is not going to be apocalyptic for all species on the planet including ours. One has to be in some kind of major denial to believe scientists will be able to “fix it”, or that corporate-dominated government has any intention of addressing it let alone being able to “fix it”. I think we’ve just seen too many Hollywood films, too many Hollywood heroes saving the day. Sadly there will no miracle fix. There will be no miracle geo-engineering that will save us. There will be no Rapture. There will be no time or the capability of colonising another planet. There will be no bunker big enough or resourced enough to last over a few 1000 years or more. There will be no extra-terrestrial intervention on our behalf. Jesus will not be returning to save us. There will be no hero. There will be no one who will be able to save us from ourselves and what is –in all likelihood — going to happen. And even if all GHG emissions stopped tomorrow, it is literally too late. It was too late in 2000. Sadly it’s true as Pulitzer prize recipient and (ethical) vegan Chris Hedges said in his essay “This time we’re taking the whole planet with us.” We have managed to do what the inhabitants of Easter Island did before their civilisation collapsed except we have done it on a global scale. Of course the planet will still go on without us. New, diverse and different species will evolve once again in a few million years and the planet will thrive once more, but just *without us*. And I suppose that’s where the silver lining is. Let’s be honest, our human species as a whole (I’m sure some would agree) is clearly dysfunctional and inherently violent. Putting aside how appallingly we treat one another (perpetual wars, rape, incest, paedophilia, stealing each other’s resources, imprisoning, oppressing the vulnerable based on race, sexual orientation, gender etc, murdering each other and so forth), look at what we have been doing to 100s of billions of nonhuman individuals each year whom we have bred into existence for totally trivial reasons to be used as food, clothing, entertainment etc. And those we haven’t domesticated, we hunt, torture, imprison or murder. But as I said there’s a silver lining, even when talking about our own species extinction. When we are gone, future nonhumans will not have to experience our violence anymore.
About these vids I’m sharing (please watch here) :
Climate Change: Have We Reached the Point of No Return?
The first is from the Lima Peru climate conference. It talks about the millions of square miles under the East Siberian Arctic shelf which is CURRENTLY releasing large amounts of methane due to the melting of the ice. There’s 500 to 5000 GIGATONS of methane under the shelf. (A gigaton is one billion tons). Even if only 1 to 2% of the #methane under the East Siberian #Arctic shelf was released – which can easily occur as the sea continues to warm – we will see a catastrophic increase in global temperatures e.g 5 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius. That would be an increase from 440ppm (as it is now I believe) to 800 – 1000ppm which is untenable for life. Sadly the vid also contains some unrealistic “hopium” toward the end on how we can possibly prevent this. Of course they say it would require global co-operation and a cessation of fossil fuel use, but since drives to increase fossil fuel exploration and drilling are increasing continually, any cessation is unlikely, not to mention that most of us continue to consume animal products (I’ll address that issue later).
What many of us don’t realise is that what we are experiencing now in relation to global warming was put in place around 40 years ago. That’s the lag time. In 2000, it was – to be frank – all over for us. Some serious action needed to be taken in the mid ’70s, early ’80s. In 2007 the Clathrate gun was fired ( read Malcolm Light’s 2013 report). Now we are in a state of RUNAWAY GLOBAL WARMING. And thanks to government and mainstream media ( both owned by corporations) we won’t be talking about this much or doing much at all. Just token gestures, future promises, meagre efforts, more protests, unending futile conferences held by bloated environmental organisations (also funded by corporations). And this is why we will most likely be extinct in the next 2 or 3 decades because as a species we are unable to work together, or grasp what is occurring. I mean people in my own state can’t even stop using plastic bags when asked, even though they understand the consequences. As a species we are unable to act as a group. On the whole we are inherently selfish animals. And we are clearly ruled by an oligarchy whom – in their hubris – very mistakenly think they will be immune to the collapse.
We think in a blinkered way about global warming. We often hear the prediction that it will be our children and their children who will suffer greatly, but no, it will be much sooner than that if we pay attention to the science and what is happening *right now*. And what is particularly sad for me as a vegan is that we are not even really all that concerned over nonhuman extinction, except in relation to how it effects us and that we won’t have these animals to look at for our own entertainment. That’s how dysfunctional we are. Most of us don’t even care about the 99.99% of the planet’s population who are nonhuman and that their lives and their home is being destroyed.
In any event, human extinction (and most other species extinction) will most likely occur as early as the next 3 decades and the lead up to total industrial civilisation collapse will be apocalyptic: more resource wars, widespread food and water shortages (already happening now), widespread severe and unending drought (already happening now), plagues, more catastrophic climate events, prolonged extreme temperatures (already happening now), till eventually toward the end temperatures will be so severe that plant life will not be able to survive it and we (humans and non-humans) will starve.
Did you ever think when you were young, that you would be here to witness the end of our species?
I have to mention the failing which accompanies any climate change presentation — the elephant in the room — and that is the omission of the issue of animal agriculture and human overpopulation. Animal agriculture contributes at least 51% of greenhouse gases. Let’s consider that “a person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain and at least one sentient animal’s life every day” (from Hedges’ essay “Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time”). So if we stopped consuming animal products we would not only be reducing our tremendous contribution to climate change, but we would end our participation in the tremendous violence against non-human animals, that latter being more important. So although we won’t see any real action any time soon (if ever) from corporate-dominated government, there is something we can all personally do right now. Our actions will not prevent the inevitable, but becoming vegan (not only adopting a plant-based diet, but eschewing all forms of animal use) certainly is the morally right thing to do for other sentient beings. ( Please read this Hedges essay “Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time” and “Apocalyptic Capitalism)
The other elephant in the room is human overpopulation. We are in overshoot and collapse. No matter what is done to mitigate climate change, if human populations keep increasing as they do (362,000 babies born per day according the UN), then it will make no difference what is done. And it doesn’t look like anything at all is being done to even discuss the issue of human overpopulation, let alone address it. In fact we just continue breeding and it’s business as usual.
Finally it’s our choice if we want to ingest the “hopium” put out by media, governments, conservative and corporate funded scientists and even those who present this video. I guess if we need to have hope that it won’t go as badly as is described here, then that’s what we need to do. We all deal with these issues differently. We can either decide to cruise along and ignore it or downplay it, or we can face it, think about what it means, and adjust our life accordingly. If we haven’t already we can find what’s meaningful in our lives, enjoy each and every moment, do our best to be kind to others and continue to push for justice.
I’ll share three other videos on this topic which are quite good. The first presentation
explains the science for the everyday person. It’s a year or so old now. You can skip the first 5 minutes.
Here’s Part 2 of The Arctic Methane Monster’s Rapid Rise
And here’s one more from a couple of years ago which is very thorough
Please watch to the end including Q&A. Here’s the report by scientist Malcolm Light “The Non-Disclosed Extreme Arctic Methane Threat” Dec 2013
Anyway, I don’t know how many of you have been made aware of this information over time, but I felt like sharing this little spiel.
For more information:
Watch here “The Paris Agreement Will See the Planet Burn”: Former Bolivian Climate Negotiator Pablo Solón”
Watch here “The myth of human progress” by Chris Hedges
Here’s another : Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It
If you’re not vegan, please consider becoming vegan. It’s much easier than you think. It’s better for us and for the planet and if we truly claim that we want to lead a nonviolent life, then it’s the least we can be. Please start here.
Disclaimer: Please note I do not necessarily endorse opinions, links or ads on external sites or by persons presented in this blog
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