Published on August 9th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan0
Societal Collapse Isn’t A Good Choice From Essentially Every Angle
August 9th, 2016 by Zachary Shahan
CleanTechnica is in business for some obvious reasons: to help stop global warming, to cut air and water pollution, to help more of society gain correct and useful information, and to cut our addiction to limited resources buried under the ground long, long ago.
To me, and to many of you, these just seem like obvious goals. Yes, of course we want a pleasant climate, clean air and water, longer lives and more enjoyable lives (conducted outside of hospital rooms), democracy-boosting information, and energy independence (from other countries as well as other eras).
However, there are “competing” arguments out there regarding the economics of quick technology shifts, job losses in certain industries, whether “better” is good enough even though it isn’t “perfect,” and whether democratic media is pointless or super cool.
The point that repeatedly comes back to me when presented with such arguments, which is what inspired the title of this article ~1 year ago (yes, I’ve been meaning to write this one for a little while), is so obvious that I sometimes can’t believe humans can be so reckless: If society collapses, your arguments for a slow transition to clean technology don’t freakin’ matter — we’re screwed!
I know many of our readers are well aware of this. In fact, I’d assume this is what drives most of you to read CleanTechnica on a regular basis. However, it seems that most people simply aren’t aware that we’re steering society toward unprecedented collapse; that we’re conducting one of the most idiotic experiments in human history (maybe the most idiotic experiment); that $100 is rather worthless when our planet is on fire, our cities are crushed, our coastlines are ocean floors for the lucky fish who have survived ocean acidification, etc.
Here are a few points that, to me, make it rather obvious that it’s better to push harder for a quick shift in societal direction (rather than lead ourselves to societal collapse or hope that the problem gets solved at the last minute):
- Remember Superstorm Sandy? We could call that “normal storm” or “mild storm” Sandy in the future if we don’t cut the fossil fuel addiction fast.
- The thing about “fast” is that, if we don’t make the change in such a manner, we could completely lose control of our ability to stop society-crushing global warming.
- Severe storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires averaged ~$10.8 billion in damage per year in the USA from 2011–2015. That’s up from an average of ~$5.2 billion from 1980–2005 (adjusted for inflation, of course). But we ain’t seen nothin’ yet….
- Crop failures and extinction of massive numbers of species could be some other global warming wrenches thrown into our current “societal equilibrium.”
- Mix all of that with some unmanageable diseases, mass migration, and increasing war for a bit more fun.
- The world could actually get so hot, if we let this get out of control, that humans wouldn’t be able to survive outside in approximately half the world.
- Below is a chart from Tesla/Elon Musk showing the rise of CO2 emissions globally. This is — without doubt — what is causing society-threatening global warming.
This metaphor isn’t perfect, but think of it like this:
We are small organisms in an oven. The door is closed and someone has turned on the heat. Sitting in the oven with us are something like popcorn kernels … but they are kernels made of a variety of diseases, bombs, and “Steve Buscemi clones gone wild.”
We have basically two options: 1) Work together to push the door open and escape with as little damage as possible, or 2) get increasingly destroyed by the rising heat, these exploding Buscemi/bomb/disease kernels. (Of course, if some humans are lucky, they could escape to
Mars the fridge.)
Is it really that hard to choose the best option here?
Is it really so hard to realize that spending $2 trillion now to save $20 trillion by 2100 and $40 trillion by 2200 — and to protect ourselves against societal collapse further down the road — is a good idea?
Think about it, and share the obvious — it isn’t obvious to everyone.