by Wade Rathke
Pearl River There was a day, long ago, when Betsey Ross sewing the flag was a symbol of America. Now, if we just knew what Debbie Downer really looked like, she might be the new picture of America. If you think I’m just talking about the current multi-pronged horrors of the pandemic, the depression, and the White House, you’re only thinking about today.
I’m really talking about the inundation of stories now, that essentially say, “hey, you don’t like the pandemic? This is nothing. This is bad, but worse is coming!” These reports with scientific foundation are looking at temperatures rising, seas swamping us, food shortages, and millions, perhaps billions, of people forced to migrate or die because of these coming horrors.
I read a review by Bill McKibben, the Middlebury professor and longtime climate change Cassandra in the New York Review of Books recently. He posed the question now as not whether or not we meet the challenge of climate change, but whether we are already almost past the point of no return, and the question really is whether people and civilization as we know it can survive the certainty of climate change. He notes that scientists, who have been warning all of us of the effects of climate change, as scientists are being conservative, and what we are already finding is worse that what many predicted. McKibben quotes Mark Lynas from his new book, that…
“If we stay on the current business-as-usual trajectory, we could see two degrees as soon as the early 2030s, three degrees around mid-century, and four degrees by 2075 or so. If we’re unlucky with positive feedbacks…from thawing permafrost in the Artic or collapsing tropical rainforests, then we could be in for five or six degrees by century’s end.”
Wow! Think about it. The 2030s are tomorrow. Our adult children will be alive, though it seems not well, in 2075. For those of us lucky enough to have grandchildren, they will be trying to make it somehow in 2100. Oh, and don’t forget famine comes with all of this as crops fry in the fields. A New York Times Magazine special report said that for every one degree of temperature rise, one billion people will have to move. That may not be them, but us!
If the heat doesn’t get you, the other shoe is dropping water up to our knees. Heads we lose. Tails we lose.
I could go on, but here’s the point that perplexes me. Is there any place really safe? Where could anyone run and hide to know that 10, 20, 30 years from now, you and yours could make it? Once I thought the West, but heat, fires, and no water in many areas could make some of my favorite spots as much “islands in the storm,” as New Orleans where I live.
See what I mean? Once you start wrapping your mind around all of this, it’s a deep dive into the darkness. Might be easier if we all forced some real action everywhere to deal with the hella-messes coming quickly around the corner.
Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International