I tend to lean toward catastrophic thinking and I think part of that is my Borderline Personality Disorder. Add in a fair dose of leaned mistrust and paranoia and you have a big part of my personality.
So it’s probably no surprise that, when it comes to climate prediction, I tend to lean toward the doomsayers like Dr. Guy McPherson. Not McPherson specifically, but doomsayers like him. I have looked at his stats and justification and continue to look at those of other climate scientists and, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, I think it will be amazing if civilization, as we currently experience it, still functions at 2050.
There are middle position people like Dr. Rupert Read and his defense of Extinction Rebellion (UK). Dr. Read believes that society “will go to shit” and its too late to mitigate the damage from climate change. He talks about transforming society into something different but I can never quite put my finger on what ‘transformative adaptation’ will look like. He mentions creating natural wetlands or mangrove swamps as a flood defense rather than constructing seawalls.
This is where my cynicism comes in. Such things are simply not going to happen. I do not share any of Dr. Read’s hopefulness in the ability of human society to adapt. A ‘mass transformation of consciousness’ is not in the cards. Perhaps in the UK where Extinction Rebellion operates but not in the United States where I live. Americans don’t give a flying fuck about creating swamps where development cannot occur and money cannot be made.
Look at the government. Look at what people are driving, living. We are locked in to a fossil fuel society an it’s the only thing we’ve known; the only way of living. Not to mention that a large percentage of Americans believe the whole thing is a hoax.
Americans are emphatically NOT into sacrifice. I would also mention I don’t think most of the Western world, despite protestations to the contrary in the European Parliament, is ready for this as well. France without air conditioning is bad enough but France having to pay more for petrol sends mobs into the streets for weeks.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
I’m going to make a number of predictions in the course of the next few years here on the blog and on my upcoming podcast but this one you can take to the bank: when the shit really hits the fan, Americans will not turn into community organizing altruists. They will go for their guns.
As many as 15 years ago when people would ask me what I envisioned the future of America I would say, “imagine a world where you shoot your neighbor for the food left in their refrigerator.”
I would then offer to put money down (in a safety deposit box) with people who doubted this could ever happen. You will never lose money betting against the baser instincts of human nature especially in times of crisis. The nicer version of what I said above is the adage that we are three meals away from anarchy.
So there you have a bit of my philosophy, dark as it is. I will leave you with one more example of my ability to predict the future. The day Donald Trump came down the escalator to announce his candidacy for President, I listened to him and told my wife “if he’s serious, he’s the next President.”
Why? he was the right person at the right time for all the disaffected in America. Also: I know my people (Americans). I know what they say when they are among a small group of friends. I know what they tell each other when they think no one is listening. I know what they think in private is much different than what they will say in public.
I know my people. And I am terrified.