First, let me say that the title to this post is imperfect, but it’s the best I could do. Clearly, not all ‘conservatives’ decry the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing, or that it is because of human activity that those changes are occurring. Further, ‘global warming’ is somewhat imprecise, as the climate changes make some areas warmer and others cooler. Be that as it may, this post is addressed to our environmentally right of center acquaintances, those folks who either don’t believe in the science, don’t think it’s a big issue, or plain don’t give a damn.


For those of you who missed the news last week, an international body of scientists issued a report that determined for the first time that global warming is no longer a question, but a certainty and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950. That’s pretty damn clear to just about everyone who isn’t heavily vested in the fossil fuel business, heavy logging industry, mining industry, or corporate ranching. (Hell, these folks know it too, they just fall into the ‘don’t give a damn category.) The question isn’t now what is happening, but rather what to do about it. And their answers aren’t easy or pretty. Or cheap.

One would think that if presented with an equation such as this- change nothing and risk certain environmental breakdown and possibly species extinction or change as much as possible to ensure a hospitable planet for your progeny- the answer would be a no brainer. But the people who actually have the power to move our societies in the right direction, the direction that moves towards mitigating and reversing the damage we’ve done, are also the people who are most resistant to doing so. They are the people controlling billions upon billions of dollars that could be thrown at this problem but they hold tight the purse strings, because they are too invested in the status quo, too content to bring in every last dime from their obsolete technologies while they ignore the consequences of them. They are the people whispering into the ears of lawmakers and filling their campaign chests to assure that nothing too drastic takes place too quickly. They are putting their own personal wealth and comfort above that of the entire human population. (I bet these same bastards get real pissy about second hand smoke though.)

Sadly, if the projections regarding our degrading climate are even partially right, the changes in just the next 40 years will be significant, including everything from severe droughts to excessive flooding. Polar ice melts and higher sea levels. But there’s more to the picture than just having to duke it out with Mother Nature. The cataclysmic changes brought on by severe, but localized and faily short weather problems will be traumatic to say the least, but it is the endemic, longer-term climate changes that will wreak the most havoc on humanity.

Humans are creatures of habit, but also a creature of our environment. For tens of thousands of years, our species has evolved under fairly static environmental conditions. We have adapted to a variety of climes, to be sure, and even adapted to multi-year weather shifts. But by and large, our climate has not varied significantly. Our social systems, our governmental systems, even our religious systems to a degree, have been created around particular geographic and environmental locations. To some extent, who we are is based on where we are. So what happens when where you are changes so dramatically that who you are is no longer applicable?
Consider the drought in Indonesia in the late 1990’s. Lasting over a decade, this drought did more than just starve people and animals of drinking water. It led to social unrest, famine, and strife that toppled an entire government. I wonder how those folks at the top of that social food chain ended up? I wonder how their money helped them? Did they flee and set up shop somewhere else? The Indonesian drought is just one example of how an entire social system can fall due to harsh environmental conditions in one place.

Now imagine that kind of drought spanning half the globe, or more specifically, the great ‘bread basket’ regions of the globe. Think our country would stay afloat and intact very long if we not only couldn’t feed half the world, but couldn’t feed ourselves either?

Sure, we’re not Indonesia…we’re more civilized here in the Western World, right? Try living for a few days without water and see how civilized you feel.

At the other end of the spectrum will be the flooding. Half of the population of this country is clustered along the coastlines. What will rising ocean levels do to the economy if those places are lost? Think our country will stay civil if that occurs? Think we’ll still be a ‘super-power’ then?
The science says that we are at a point where it will get worse than it is now regardless of what we do. For some, that is enough to throw up their hands and say, “Screw it. I won’t be here anyway when the shit really gets bad.” It’s amazing how little regard these people have for their children and grandchildren. Real bastards, right?

The science also says that we can take steps to lessen the damage and hasten a reversal. We can’t fix it for ourselves maybe, but likely we can fix it for the next generation or the one after that. But only if we begin now.

This goes beyond filling our recycle bins at the curbside. It goes beyond carpooling to work. These are individual efforts, and they do help. But the will not be enough. We need to pressure government and business to quit dicking around now. The future is here, and quite frankly, their money will be useless in a lawless world filled with brutish humans fighting for a drop of water or a raft to stay afloat.

I’m not worried so much about the ability of mankind to adapt to climate change. Humans are very adaptable creatures. But I am worried about society being able to adapt. And the longer we wait to start changing, the worse we will be for it.

Along with bringing out new technologies rapidly, we need to plan for contingencies like flooding metropolises or waterless regions. We need a plan on all fronts, and we need it yesterday. It seems that the average person gets all this. It’s the ‘leadership’ that is in denial.

Conservatives and corporatists have only one choice if they want to cling to their mighty empires of wealth and power (or even imagined wealth and power)- join the fight today. For as society dies due to climate change, so does your power and money. Think of it as an investment in your own future, and as a gamble you can’t afford not to take.

(Oh- and for the naysayers still afloat-yes, global climate has shifted over the Earth’s 4 billion years. It is natural too. But not like this, not this fast. Could the sun play a part? Maybe, but again, not this drastic, not this fast. What about when the dino’s died? That was a weather shift too, right? So climate is out of man’s control! Sure, super-volcano or asteroid or too many farting dino’s. So what? That was then, this is now. We made the mess, we need to clean it up.)

So there it is- what is the future of mankind in light of this new scientific report? Will we slowly fade ourselves away or will we vigorously fight to fix our fuck-ups?

Or maybe Bush will just declare War on Iran, spark WWIII, light up the nukes, and we’ll be extinct before any of this nasty weather stuff comes up.

(originally posted at Bring It On! )