I’m very into science fiction. It’s a genre that allows people to explore political and social topics that a lot of times many people may feel uncomfortable exploring because they seem radical until you frame the ideas as things that take place in space or the future, or the future in space.
I’ve seen and read some great science fiction pieces that discuss hopeful ideas for humanity, and ones that have words of warning for us if we don’t change. Whatever our personal opinions, we still tend to think of these outcomes as distant, in the future.
I’m here to tell you, the future is here. I’m not alone. Scientists have been warning us lately that not only is climate change real, but we’ve reached the point where we can no longer stop at least some impact from it. We have predictions that if we continue on the course of consumption that we’re on we will begin to lose hundreds of thousands of lives due to climate change and its surrounding issues. How soon? 2050. What other issues? Rise of disease, loss of food, rise of illness as people’s bodies are unable to adjust to pollution, pollen, and new climates. People freezing, people overheating, more frequent, stronger, storms which also breed disease, destroy homes and communities and create chaos.
All of that is bad enough, but as we refuse to fight consumerism and instead chose to fight the very nature of out planet, we can look already at some of the instances of how that has turned out for Ypeople. In Nepal in 2014, 16 Sherpas were crushed to death after unseasonable melting caused a massive avalanche. Later the Sherpas as well as climate Scientists put out a statement saying that every year it gets more dangerous to climb Mount Everest. We can look at the victims of Hurricane’s Katrina, Rita, or Sandy to name just a few. Or even Hurricane Odie which was particularly strange because it hit the West Coast of the United States, and Baja Mexico, places not usually hit by hurricanes, especially hurricanes of that strength, and did extensive damage. All of these are examples of storms that were created by humans pumping fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere, melting the ice caps, allowing the ocean to absorb more heat that usual, and throwing off the natural way storms normally work.
Today Allepo fell, civilians were murdered en masse in the streets as others fled and posted goodbye videos to family and friends online. Many people don’t realize however that the prolonged and messy conflict in Syria was also created by climate change. Now Syria’s conflict is escalating with guns from Russia, who has their eye on oil in the region, and is also accused of hacking the US election. Many of people who have been appointed or elected to US Leadership are in the fossil fuel industry, and are open about their climate change denial. We watch as genocide is committed, very likely, so that another country, can swoop in and take those resources for what very well may be lean times ahead. The responsibility for that falls on us as well. Do we want to be predators? Do we want to commit or allow genocide to keep up our current levels of consumption? Or do we want to get serious about living a lower scale life, and electing people with those same values.
It’s too late to keep our heads in the sand any longer. We can no longer think of environmentalism as a to-do item for future us. It’s a need-to-do item for now. If we want to avoid the Max Max futures where water is currency, we need to get serious about protecting the earth. Human-made disasters are a serious concern, and if we care about life, if we have any humanity inside of us, we need to address it at home, address it with our consumption habits, and address it with our votes.
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