Climate emergency

2019 the year I started facing a torrent of depressing knowledge

I’ve had a tough start to the year, really tough. I’m usually not one to get down and stay down, and I’ve been trying to reach out to people to talk too, but find myself holding back, because I don’t want to burden anyone. The other side is, I honestly don’t know who can help me get clarity here.
I’ve cancelled catching up with people too, because I’m just not in the right mind to be around others (sorry if I cancelled on you) and well, it makes me bad company. This is not me. I’m usually happy and hopeful.
So, what has me so blue? Simple, the environmental crisis facing us all.
And I am down because I have heard the message, yet I don’t think the message is getting through. And it’s especially not getting through to those who need to hear it – those that can make the big changes that will result in the biggest impacts to address this enormous challenge.

It started in October 2018

When the IPCC report came out in October 2018 (there’s a problem on the IPCC site, so here’s the Facebook page as back-up), I decided it was time to dig deeper. And I’ve looked hard for information. Really hard. I’ve read all sorts of crap, read brilliant research, and I’ve read content from those who think it’s all bullshit. It’s important to ingest all sides.

So, I’ve read everything I could find, seeking trends, threads that link ideas together, working out what was hysteria, and working out what was ignorance. Have I read everything? Not possible. But I’ve read a lot (here’s my pre-Christmas reading list) and I continue reading… some included below.

Facing this has been hard, because when you dig deep, you don’t find a lot of good news. And I am getting more and more despondent as I observe we’re just not paying attention – at all – because right now, everyone counts. Everyone. We all have to do this together, because no one is going to do it for us. No one can.

Are there good things happening in the world? Too right there are

  1. India and China are leading the greening of our planet
  2. UK experiences hottest winter day ever as 21.2C is recorded in London
  3. The rejuvenation of Maya Beach in Thailand
  4. Beer rings that marine animals can eat
  5. Climate strike: Schoolchildren protest over climate change – go kids!
  6. Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
  7. ‘We won’: Landmark climate ruling as NSW court rejects coal mine – bravo
  8. Grocery bags and takeout containers aren’t enough. It’s time to phase out all single-use plastic

STOP THE BURNING – 30 global leaders send a collective message to end deforestation

 

And then there’s the other side….

  1. We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years
  2. Insects are dying off at record rates — an ominous sign we’re in the middle of a 6th mass extinction
  3. Is climate change far worse than we realise?
  4. Water dangers loom for South Asia
  5. Early spring rain boosts methane from thawing permafrost by 30 percent – BTW I read recently that if the methane dragon is released due to the permafrost thawing, the earth’s temperature will increase by 8%. That = human extinction
  6. A third of Himalayan ice cap doomed, finds report
  7. Iceberg twice the size of New York City is set to break away from Antarctica
  8. Don’t Save The Planet For The Planet. Do It For The Beer – maybe this is the inspiration needed?
  9. In the world of sustainability, colonialism is not dead
  10. How Quickly Climate Change Is Accelerating, In 167 Maps
  11. ‘There Will Be An Increase In Deforestation’: Brazil’s New President Signs Order Endangering Amazon And Indigenous Rights
  12. Japan will start whaling What? Why?? Why now?
  13. Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals
  14. Why disaster capitalists are praying for a no-deal Brexit – who are these people!!
  15. Great Barrier Reef: One million tonnes of sludge to be dumped
  16. What happens if all the coral reefs die?
  17. Coles Releases New Plastic Collectables Despite Public Outrage
  18. Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us
  19. These are the economic, social and environmental impacts of fast fashion
  20. The World Might Actually Run Out Of People
  21. UN: Growing threat to food from decline in biodiversity
Big Oil Knew: The Confusion Memo

Useful sites to follow

Follow the World Economic Forum. Check out Prevent Year Zero. Understand Ecological economics. Check out End Plastic Waste. Also CO2.Earth where they have weekly updates on emissions – hint, it keeps going up!
 

And then you see articles like this…

 
 
You do a bit of a search for the cost of inaction?
  1. Inaction on climate change risks leaving future generations $530 trillion in debt
  2. James Downie: The fierce urgency of climate change
  3. Don’t look now, but the House just woke up to the cost of climate inaction
  4. We can pay for pollution now or later—and the price is lower now
Year Zero: The Year When Wild Animals Are Gone
 

There’s a lot to read

A powerful article I recommend is this: Noam Chomsky: ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive.’One of the greatest minds of our time, he makes sense of how the media, government, business, etc… all link together and ignore what is going on.
I know this is a painful reality to face. I get it, because it has frightened the shit out of me too. I read these articles/research papers, look at my boys and think SHIT, what future will we leave for you? I mean, we’re moving to a new house in June and we’ll be up a hill. Do you know how relieved I feel about that? Getting away from the ocean, which is only 100 metres away??!!
I am not hysterical. I read all variations of information, I am careful, and I try very hard not to get wrapped up in bullshit, because I want to know the truth. If we get to the truth, we can do something.
My conclusion is the climate catastrophe we’re facing is not bullshit, it’s just the timing that’s up in the air. I think it’s really close, within the next decade, but even if it’s further away, I am subjecting my children to that future. How can any of us do that?
To understand why so many are not seeing it or not believing it, the best way to understand is to read threads on social media below environment articles. That’s where you find comments like:
  1. Al Gore said we were doomed 10 years ago, and you expect us to believe that we have 10 years to act?
  2. You libtards are trying to destroy the economy.
  3. We need bills that are actually capable of passing the Senate…
  4. Being a child raised in the 60s and 70s, I remember scientists talking about the coming ice age… A FACT we were told that hasn’t happened.
  5. Too much AOC and not enough reality.
  6. Why in the world should we be taking political advice from children.
  7. The kids fighting climate change are being used as political pawns for their parents.
  8. Brainwashing children is an immorality.

Specifically for Greta Thunberg – the criticism this young lady is facing…

  1. An example of indoctrination not education
  2. Sorry but I find her to be quite naive and unhealthily obsessed.
There is a frightening lack of belief in the science behind the research that has come out in the last year. It feels like we’re facing a bit of a boy who cried wolf scenario… the problem is, the proof is before our eyes. But it’s a situation that has been politicised, and honestly, we have to go well above politics here.

My husband gets the brunt of my despair

I also asked my husband why he thinks so many people are missing this.
My poor husband obviously has to deal with all of my concerns and yesterday I had to say to him: I am sorry I’ve been such a misery guts, buthow do I do this? How do I face up to the enormity of this problem we’re all facing and somehow care about normal stuff and live a normal life? I mean so much seems meaningless now? Top 10 tips to… who gives a shit!!
He is a patient man and said people just aren’t reading about it yet, because it’s all too overwhelming. He also said there is just too much BS/contradictory opinions/hearsay/etc… out there. Too much to sort through, too much information that doesn’t help. And he’s right. He has the benefit of me sorting through it, but we all have to do that. The information is there if we work hard to find it. And truly, it’s not that hard to find. I’m trying to do it for anyone who’s interested.
I feel it is an obligation on all of us to read and understand the severe warnings the scientists are providing to us. We are stupid to ignore them.
From what I’ve read, I do believe we are facing a global economic collapse of unprecedented levels if we don’t take this seriously. Societal collapse could follow. Nature is already collapsing – more than 60% of wildlife is gone in less than 50 years. Shameful.
I do believe we will face epic catastrophes where millions, if not billions, will die. I think about the potential of moving back to Australia one of these days, but have you seen the information on the drought going on? ‘A Harbinger of Things to Come’: Farmers in Australia Struggle With Its Hottest Drought Ever. What is the future for my home country?

Phuket in drought? It’s close

Today I live in Phuket. Water rations were brought in a few weeks ago, because the dams are close to dry – unheard of in the tropics. We haven’t been impacted by this yet, but it hasn’t rained since Christmas and the grass in brown. This is the second time I’ve seen extensive browning in the tropics. The last was in Singapore a couple of years ago. Brown and tropics don’t go together.
But I barely noticed it going brown, and Steve, who came back from two weeks away, couldn’t believe his eyes. You can miss it when it’s gradual.
And there is so much development going on here, with 30 brand new hotels opening between 2018/19 – being built, from scratch – and apparently a Convention centre is coming too. We have a massive new shopping mall, and another is being built close to where we live. Convenient for us, yet, can Phuket cope? The landfill is already full, the incinerators can’t keep up, and the damns are dry – will the tourist industry invest in this infrastructure to support this growth? I think they should!
Equally, it makes you doubt, because you look at the possibility of a climate crisis and think, is it real, when that level of investment is going on?
But we have to go deeper than that. How does Phuket (and other popular destinations) cope with that many more tourists? You read stories that 77% of the coral is dead in the area – which happened over just 10 years – and still, more tourists are coming. This story of regeneration on Maya Island can tell you what’s possible, but we’ve got to create a new tourism model now – one that regenerates all of the islands and beautiful parts of this world. That means we don’t get access to this nature, because if we keep going, it will be 100% dead soon.

The tropics face unique impacts and this quotestruck me: “By 2070, tropical regions that now get one day of truly oppressive humid heat a year can expect between a hundred and two hundred and fifty days, if the current levels of greenhouse-gas emissions continue.”

We experienced this heat last year. It was definitely more than a day, but it was limited within the April/May time frame that those who’d be living here longer told us to expect.
The heat has started earlier this year, in February. It’s very unpleasant walking out into that wall of heat, but I have aircon. The construction workers here live under corrugated steel.

Taking responsibility

I know this isn’t a happy post. I know it’s hard to read this stuff. I know. I know. I know. But I knew I had to face up to what we’re dealing with, no matter the cost to my sense of well-being. I needed to do that for my boys, and now I need to speak to them in a way that doesn’t scare the shit out of them.
But us grown-ups should be scared. We did this. Our generation and our parents, people who’ve been adults in the last 50 years. And the West did this. We are responsible.
We have built a world that is out of balance with the natural world and the natural world is not coping. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Mother Nature will reclaim the earth when she’s done with us, because she couldn’t give two shits about us. We don’t seem to understand that? We don’t need to protect her, we need to protect our own ability to live here.
All of this means the onus is on us to work out how-to live-in balance with all of nature. We used to know how to do it, and now we must remember those old skills, so all prosper. That’s the commitment that needs to be made, and you don’t even have to believe in climate change to want to do that.
Just look at the extinction numbers or spend a week with me cleaning up the filth of the beach here in Phuket and you’ll change your mind…. New trash, every day, washed onto shore!!

Let’s get politics and separation out of the conversation

I have to believe we can still fix it, but we can’t do it if we make it us versus them. This is not labour and liberal, republicans and democrats. This is all of humanity, needing to come together, to face our future and do everything we can to fix it.
Some of the things predicted are going to happen, but not everything predicted is certain yet. The longer we delay, the more certain they will be.
Unfortunately, politicians have no desire to tackle this. Businesses still need to give their shareholders profits. And many of us are still not doing our own part in changing how we live drastically, everywhere, to cut emissions and get the world back on track.
However, more than taking individual responsibility – which isn’t enough – we have to fight for governments, businesses and the media to TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. We must. We have no time to lose. Please vote in governments that understand this.

The EU is taking the lead, but it’s fragile. Check out this coverage:

But the populist right is putting it at risk – who are these people? Europe’s Populist Right Threatens to Erode Climate Consensus. There are 25 million refugees in the world at the moment. Climate change refugees are estimated at well over 100 million when they arrive – and based on all of the above, I think that’s conservative. The populist right will create a much bigger refugee problem by pushing this agenda… it’s mind blowing stupidity. I mean, look how well we’re coping with 25 million refugees?

Changes to be made

Eventually we will all be faced with making massive changes in lifestyle. Massive. Just the food we’ll be able to eat based on what can grow in a warmer earth!!?? Many changes are required.

Here’s one blog I wrote and another blog, where I list out actions we can all do.

For me, I’m going to start composting and growing vegetables. Yes me! I haven’t been known to do stuff like that.
We got rid of our car in Singapore, but we can’t do it here, because we really need a car. But I hope to car-share more with my community.
Reducing meat – check. Especially red meat. That’s a commitment. We’re hunting for good vegetarian recipes we all like.
Less plastic, less crap, less everything. That is our goal. Everywhere we can, do what we can. Be aware of our individual impact and do what we can in our environment to make it better.
Spend money with businesses doing good. Book holidays with hotel chains committed to the environment. Bank with banks investing in sustainable businesses.
Flying? Impossible to stop that. Steve and I are from two different countries living in a third country. We need to fly. Perhaps one day we won’t be able to fly, but we’ll do what we can where we can to cut our footprint.
We’ll also keep cleaning the beach, but hopefully, everyone will start reducing their contributions to the garbage patch that keeps growing in the oceans. My word it’s depressing facing that rubbish deluge, which is just around the corner again. I can’t tell you the impact seeing the trash first hand has had on me since we moved to Phuket. So much trash!! So so much.
Let’s believe in cleaning up the planet if nothing else.

I mean, how can I get rid of this? I’m not strong enough to pull it out

Please join me. Spend time reading the information I’ve linked too. Dig deeper into the research reports in this content if it captures your interest. We can’t know what’s happening if we don’t face it. But we must so we can get serious and put pressure where it’s needed to make change happen.
Because we are running out of time. If you read nothing else, read this article from The New Yorker: “in the past thirty years we’ve seen all twenty of the hottest years ever recorded. The melting of ice caps and glaciers and the rising levels of our oceans and seas, initially predicted for the end of the century, have occurred decades early.”
I beg you. Read. Form your own opinion. I don’t even care if you agree with me, but I hope this inspires some to learn a little more. Sorry if it makes you depressed. But it is depressing.
Signing off on a longy, but I had to write this. We can do this, but we all need to do it together and I’m hoping to recruit others who are ready to take it seriously. Now I need to work out how to stay positive and hopeful. That is my best setting for living life, because in that mindset, I can be part of the solution.
Yours, without the bollocks
Andrea
PS: you’re welcome to share different points of view and help me see a different perspective, but please, don’t be awful. I’m not here to do harm. I believe in the point of view I’m sharing, but I’m always willing to intelligently discuss other ways of looking at things. Always. Also, I’ve tried to reference everything, but I know I’ve missed things and probably got things wrong too. I’ve spent a few days putting this together and researching it deeply. Feel free to highlight what I got wrong. Happy to learn.
Let’s connect
 
Thank you for reading my ramblings. My brain and heart are a work in progress, always. I’d love a comment if it stirred any thoughts or feelings and of course, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do. If you want to connect, I’m on Twitter here, Google+ here, Instagram here, YouTube here, and Facebooktoo. I share loads of stuff, not just my own xxxxx
 

1 thought on “2019 the year I started facing a torrent of depressing knowledge”

  1. Pingback: Knowledge is power. My reading list from the last few months - Uncommon Courage - An Invitation

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