Wednesday, April 09, 2014
A Voice From The Future
I write to you from the future. I think it is necessary for me to do so considering that many living in your present 2014 still do not comprehend the true urgency of what is now taking place due to mankind's insistence that it either has little to no effect on the systems of the Earth that sustain it or that what is occurring is not going to come to full catastrophe in its lifetime so it just doesn't care. As a voice from the future I am writing to tell you how so very wrong and immoral that assumption is.
I am writing from a place where water is now not something we see everyday though it was once flowing. We once had prosperity here which allowed us to grow a number of crops that brought us great wealth. However, we truly did not understand the definition of true wealth until the drought of 2020. We had thought the drought of 2014 was bad but it was nothing like the one to follow six years later and by then we had drilled so far down into the ground that most of the water had already been used with little being replenished due to changing rain patterns and snow melt that left us next to nothing. It was only then that we realized where our wealth was and that we had squandered it.
Many people left after that and moved inland, though it wasn't much better there as the main aquifer as well was running too low to sustain the huge thirst and hunger of a growing population. Many of us now are doing what we can to adapt (tapping the declining table of the Great Lakes in a tenuous agreement with Canada) and asking this question: Where were you all in 2014?
If you recall, in 2014 and in all the years before it back to the 1950s (which is about one hundred years ago now) scientists warned that if humans continued on the path they were on there would be a time when they would push Earth's systems to a place they had never been before. As more scientific data came forward and these effects began manifesting themselves at a greater pace it was obvious these warnings were correct. Yet, people continued to place power in the hands of the very entities and governments of the world proliferating the crisis and continued to burn fossil fuels, deforest land and pollute the water and air denying that the cumulative effects would do much if any harm. Even countries that signed that so called climate treaty in Paris in 2015 signed in name only because they knew that even in 2015 it was too late- that they had waited too long- perhaps by design.
Well, I now ask you from the future: Is this not harm?
Our oceans are acidic, our marinelife dying. A combination of climate change with other human factors as well as erosion and sea level rise are now laying waste to many low lying areas of the world. Some species of fish are no more because they were all fished out of the ocean with areas of the Atlantic and Pacific now cordoned off and designated as no entry zones due to the amount of waste and pollutants.
We now have seen the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Maldives, the Carteret Islands, Vanuatu, much of Bangladesh and many other island nations under the rising waters as continued logging and oil excavation also led to greater subsidence in concert with sea level rise due to anthropogenic climate change. Many were evacuated years ago yet still suffer from the injustice of being given no citizenship and no place to call their own. Many indigenous people were pushed off their land to make way for mega-dams that did nothing but provide limited power to the rich while ignoring the plight of the poor as their lands were flooded, their agriculture destroyed and their cultures decimated. This led to conflict in concert with the effects of climate change with many dying.
On the continents, heatwaves have increased in severity and global food output has decreased. North America has become much like a desert in the Southwest US with many species dying due to drought. The Midwest as I mentioned before is not faring too much better as people moving inland from both coasts now fight over remaining water supplies and resources to sustain a growing population. Sea level rise on the East Coast is now encroaching on many shore areas and salt water intrusion also affecting agriculture. The East Coast also was lulled into a false sense of security after Hurricane Sandy when it had not seen another storm for the next couple of years. However, the hurricane that hit the coast in 2019 was even stronger than Sandy as many shore areas were totally taken by the sea. The huge storm caused great economic turmoil and the emotional and psychological effects are still being felt today. Yet, fossil fuels continued to be burned.
There was a great insurgence started in 2014 to bring about an end to what was called "fracking" in order to save water with more civil disobedience leading to a renewed hope. Then the KXL pipeline was approved and that started massive resistance but to no avail. I visited the memorial dedicated to those who fought and died in fighting to stop it. Brave people. It was however, the administration in place at the time like all before it that bowed to the fossil fuel industry instead of putting principle first even in light of these warnings that precipitated all this by continuing to allow tarsands.
Their "All Of The Above" policy did little to help solve anything as continued forcing and feedbacks on the system made the increases in renewable energy though promising not enough to stave off the effects of what was happening in the Arctic which was virtually all but ignored except for a few who rang the alarm bell.
Then the Arctic War began in 2025 as governments of the world continued to loot the planet of its fossil fuel resources in order to control the energy markets thus leading to more casualties once again of our young people fighting for a false choice that has done nothing but lead us to more conflict. It was the people in Congress then who denied all this because it brought them oil money as well who have much blood on their hands.
South America is in what seems to be perpetual drought and flood stages with much of its wildlife suffering as many more have died and resource wars rage there. It is a constant struggle to keep the Amazon from being totally deforested as illegal loggers and crime lords wage war against indigenous people to land grab. Monoculture as well has not lent to prosperity for anyone but industrial agriculture/biotech companies with effects manifesting themselves across the environmental sphere with great losses to biodiversity.
In Europe, Asia and Africa there were great uprisings by the people as well, however the effects of climate change now overtake many poor areas of the world with constant conflict over resources raging with military control of many areas. Australia has seen the worst effects as the Great Barrier Reef is dying and coal and oil exploration has brought Australia to the point of being the focal point of climate change effects. This once again due to government apathy to principle.
While some good has come from all this in that many more people have awakened and mobilized it has been too late in many places to forge a real change as the Anthropocene era is bringing us full circle regarding our species. We are now in a stage called "peak oil" as we see the end of the carbon age upon us as we now have no choice but to transition, but now knowing it will not help stop what has already been put into motion. Since we collectively did not heed the warnings of those voices from the past regarding the consequences of our addiction nor answer the call with our moral voices we in this world now in 2050 face the turning point of our existence as a civilization as we see our cherished places being lost to us forever. It could all have been avoided if only those living in 2014 and before had put aside their pettiness, hubris, selfishness, political hatred, pride and greed to understand that what they did then effected now.
Therefore, while you still live in 2014, heed the warnings of my voice from the future: Water is your wealth. It is your life. Unless you see that in concert with finding your humanity the events described because you did not will play out.
It is your time now to save what you can and to prepare to adapt to the world you have the power to make. Use it wisely.
I don't think this is even half of what we will experience by 2050. However, I think sometimes people need to see a glimpse into the future which is really now in order to appreciate the time we have in the present to make the right choices, because time is running out... and believe me, it took great restraint on my part to not be more emotional in writing this. Our children do not deserve this!
Perspective is now imperative and we can no longer claim ignorance.
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