Is our Society Committing Suicide?
As I sit in smoke from Quebec’s forest fires it seems that the suicide warning signs are clear and also unheeded
Suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem
We have a temporary problem: a way of life that demands exponential growth.
We have a permanent suicidal solution: burn fossil fuels & increase our population/material consumption as long as possible
What are we to do?
Get ready for the revolution.
What form will it take? I have no idea.
Will it be violent? Not necessarily.
Will it come soon? Anybody who predicts exact timelines is a fool & I try not to be a fool.
But one thing is sure: if we keep on consciously, knowingly, deliberately committing suicide someone is going to die.
In an average year, only 247 hectares (a square mile) of area would be burned by June 5, according to Quebec’s fire prevention agency (SOPFEU). But so far this year, 160,000 hectares (600 square miles) have burned.
Warnings before Suicide:
Obsessed with Death
Feeling hopeless and having no purpose
Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
Feeling like a burden to others
Increased use of alcohol, drugs or other addictions like gambling
Anxious or reckless
Rage and seeking revenge
Extreme mood swings – emotions dominate of intellect
The more signs a person shows the greater the risk.
The above list sure sounds like our society. Opioid overdoses. Mental health crisis. Increasing income inequality. Toxic food. Water shortages. Political instability. Oceans heating. Boreal forest on fire. Etc. Etc. The warning signs are clear.
Are we going to let ourselves commit suicide without a sincere effort to avoid death?
So far it doesn’t look like.
But I for one am not about to give up.
But it might take a revolution to do that
According to the WTO in June 2019 arctic wildfires emitted 50 megatonnes (55 million short tons; 49 million long tons) of CO2. This was more than between 2010 and 2018 combined. Most carbon release was from Alaska and Siberia, but also included other arctic areas e.g., in Canada. In Siberia the temperature was about 10 °C (18 °F) higher in June 2019 than the average. In Anchorage, Alaska, on 4 July 2019, the temperature was 32 °C (90 °F), setting a new all-time record high temperature for the town.
Here is a recent article, based on ideas from 2011, [a warning!] talking about the inevitability of revolution in some shape or form as we, meaning those who hold the power and money, have been shown to be incapable of making the necessary changes to ensure survival of most of us and most species. http://www.climatecodered.org/2023/05/why-markets-fail-on-fossil-fuel.html
In 2011, Paul Gilding concluded that it was an illusion to think the contradictions can be resolved within the current economic frame and that disruption and chaos was now inevitable as system failure occurs. Five years earlier, Nicholas Stern had said that “paths requiring very rapid emissions cuts are unlikely to be economically viable” and disruptive because “it is difficult to secure emission cuts faster than about 1% per year except in instances of recession.”Analyst Alex Steffen concludes that: It is no longer possible to achieve [an] orderly transition, to combine action at the scale and speed we need with a smooth transition and a minimum of disruption […] We are not now capable of designing a future that works in continuity with our existing systems and practices while producing emissions reductions and sustainability gains fast enough to avoid truly dire ecological harm. This is an option that no longer exists. And the risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft assesses that “there is ‘no longer any realistic chance’ for an orderly transition for global financial markets because political leaders will be forced to rely on ‘handbrake’ policy interventions to cut emissions.” So, when all is said and done, the choice is social collapse and economic disruption due to the failure to act fast enough, or economic disruption as a necessary consequence of emergency-level fast change. There is no third way. Yet climate policymaking has been built on two foundational pillars: a bedrock assumption that change should be slow and incremental in a manner that not does disrupt growth or inhibit the market, or leave capital stranded; and that levers for change should be market-focused, thus the emphasis on such mechanisms as carbon prices, tradeable offsets, tax credits, new markets for carbon capture and storage with or without bioenergy, and even commodifying nature. This is reflected in IPCC reports and the preferred net-zero-2050 scenarios of central bankers and the fossil fuel industry.”
This is from Environment Canada June 25. A warning. There are so many warnings. Time to listen. Time to change.
In other words the rules of “peace time” cannot possibly cope with the this challenge: it is war. But this is not a war against the environment, it is a war for the environment. If there is an “enemy” it is us. This requires mobilization as done during WWII – the government commandeering the private sector. In WWII GM switched from making car to tanks and jeeps within months. The ship building switched over to making an aircraft carrier every MONTH! We have the ability. All we lack is the political will. When that changes – that will be our revolution. Here is a quote from the same write as above:
” Climate change is not a market optimisation problem, it’s a risk problem — the risk of the loss of capitalism — says Spencer Glendon. He also notes that the economics of climate change “will be seen as one of the worst mistakes humans have made.” Thus the current, market-dominated approaches to managing climate risks are not efficacious, and another approach — that of state-led mobilisation — is necessary but barely on the agenda.”
So, what can you do? Vote for leaders who do try to continue the status quo. Vote and live your life as if your choices really matter to the survival of a reasonable quality of life for those living in the future. Never forget that hard rocks are eventually worn away by water, 1 drop at a time. Be one of those drops of water. Join the revolution. And hang on as the disruptions to our “normal” lives accelerate because soon there will be no more normal. Be abnormal. Hope and work for better – because together, but only together, is a better future possible.