Sunday, February 16, 2020

Let's call a disaster a disaster - then we can roll up our sleeves and start facing it

Let's call a disaster a disaster - then we can roll up our sleeves and start facing it


 A doctor doesn't begin to help cure a patient until he or she identifies the specific illness.  

There is little hope we can deal with the huge threat to life and health, prosperity and human rights, posed by our rapidly intensifying climatic disturbances - worldwide - if we keep talking politely of "climate change". 

It is quite clear now that the correct over-all term is "climate disaster". 

The foremost factor in the disaster is climatic events are intensifying, occurring in multiple ways (many of these unforeseen)  and moving too fast for economies and people to easily adjust to. This will, at minimum, significantly divert spending and/or impoverish areas and individuals, depress economies - and at maximum will lead to mass starvation, societal breakdowns and conflicts, and disease spread on levels beyond anything in previous human history.  

On a local scale; how many major weather bombs need to hit South Westland before land-based tourist traffic becomes impossible? How many times can massive slips and flood damage be cleared, before this whole southern tourist loop becomes no longer financially viable? 

Compounding this problem is the fact that Franz Joseph straddles the largest earthquake fault-line in New Zealand, with a geological history of regular giant earthquakes. The latest is now "overdue", and when it strikes is sure to rupture the Westland roads in a thousand places including multiple bridge abutments, if not indeed tilting many of the hundreds of bridges themselves. 

And - not least - another climate factor; the retreat into the far distance of the glacier itself, once the primary tourist attraction. All this and yet the direct local resident beneficiaries of such spending are small in number, the regional population barely equivalent to that of one city suburb.

And of course, most of the international tourist trade, other (I believe) than cruise ships, is based upon generating huge amounts of carbon per passenger in every flight. 

To describe this, politely, as "climate change" is actually a recipe for madness! It will itself create, in the long run, panic and mass hysteria and untold suffering. 

Humans have, in effect, made war on the environment in multiple ways and the only way forward now is to accept as fast as possible we are already in the early stages of a massive world-wide climate disaster. 

This is not hysteria, this is the courage to "man up" (and "woman up") to face the fire ahead. Not least we need a  "war economy" where we accept the old casual consumerism is no longer viable, we have to find new ways of being human and re-structure accordingly. 

There will be huge lobby groups trying to block this, but in truth, once people readjust their lives, there will be no less satisfaction and fulfillment than before - possibly more. 

There are many different ways of living life and nothing sacred in the present high-consumption/throw away packaging based model.

The bold truth is whatever "costs the environment" must start costing the consumer more; whatever benefits and repairs the environment, must cost the consumer less."  Some aspects may have to be banned outright, 

Consumption and other practices that are "costing us the world" need to start paying their real price. Consumer products that can not be recycled or do not meet reasonable standards of durability should not be allowed licence. Sensible capitalists will start shifting their investments accordingly. 

The South Westland potential devastation model is tiny, a minute example, just one of the millions of such dilemmas now happening around the globe. 

An example of a larger problem is the 45 million people in Southern Africa suffering potential starvation through lack of rain and crop failure. If not this year, then next year, etc. Based on TV news, these people are still looking healthy but with the chance of being reduced to living skeletons, if not, more horrible, real ones. Their traditional weather cycles and growing cycles have been altered through the effect of gases created by the wealthy consumer lifestyles of the "advanced" nations. 

At the end of the 1960s classic movie "Judgement at Nuremberg" about the War Crimes tribunal about German atrocities during World War Two - as remembered - one of the defendants in jail pleads to a member of the legal team "But we didn't know". The legal representative's emphatic response - the essence of the movie - was "Because you didn't want to know".  

That was easier said that done when living in a murderous police state, but we have no such excuse. 

Let us call a spade a spade. Let us call it "climate disaster" right from the start.

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