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It’s Civilization, Stupid!

Abrupt Climate Change Will Remove Humans and other Life Forms From The Planet in The Very Near Future.

The technology exists to combat climate change, but what will it take to get our leaders to act? Nothing can or will get them to act because most of them know we have passed the point of no return. Obama knew it. Trump knows it. Maybe technology could have helped, say thirty years ago. Maybe had Mobil Exxon and the rest told the truth about what they have known for decades. Maybe had the media investigated and run this story over and over, rather than pit scientists against each other, or hiding it deep within the paper. Maybe if scientists were not being funded by the fossil fuel industry, the Pentagon, and various government agencies and universities.

The unpleasant news is we are in the final stages of the Sixth Mass Extinction. “We” being humans, along with most other life forms on the planet. The root cause of mass extinction is not industry, Capitalism, Obama, Trump or the Russians. The real culprit is civilization itself. With the advent of civilization some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, homo sapiens discovered large scale agriculture and with that humans began to orchestrate their own demise. For thousands of years, civilization did not radically heat the planet, but with the advent of industrial civilization, the process of global warming has accelerated exponentially to the extent that many scientists today are talking about abrupt climate change/global warming with average global temperatures rising rapidly to 3, 4, and 5 degrees Centigrade. Humans have never existed and cannot survive with temperatures that high. The main reason being the inability to grow food.

One of the most harmful myths that have led to where we are today as a species is the myth that civilization is a good thing. 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, humans abandoned a self-sustaining lifestyle, a lifestyle embodied in and preserved by the Original Peoples. A complimentary myth that has infused all of Western thinking, religion, science and culture is the Creation Myth found in the Book of Genesis and dating back six to seven thousand years ago.

The idea that god created humans to be like himself, and put them over and in charge of everything else in creation is the fundamental and seminal belief that humans are above nature, an animal more important and exceptional than others. Homo sapiens!

26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild,[d] large and small.” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. 29 I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; 30 but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food”—and it was done. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day. (I capitalize “God” here because it is a quote from the Book of Genesis)

This myth is powerful, as are all myths. Even the portrayal of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden strongly suggests that the first couple were white. It is somewhat debatable just where the Garden of Eden was. It seems to be that it was either in Ethiopia or the Middle East, but for sure, the first couple wasn’t white! The belief that has led “westerners” to believe they are exceptional, more intelligent, and more important than anything else in creation and therefore gives them “dominion” over it is the fundamental belief that explains where humanity and “creation” are today…on the very brink of extinction. To be clear, the planet will survive a sixth mass extinction as it has the previous five!

Civilization: cities large and small; large scale agriculture; industry and large scale production; consumption; the extraction of finite resources; electricity; the dependence on fossil fuels for energy; billions of automobiles; deforestation; the pollution of our oceans, lakes and rivers; and the epitome of arrogance – the belief that we are above nature and not just another part of nature. Humans have committed the greatest act of blasphemy ever – believing and acting as if they were god, all the while destroying the environment upon which we need to survive.

This bring me to what civilization has done to dramatically alter the habitat, the cause of all five previous massive extinctions. The signs are everywhere, and obvious to most. Surely people around the world have witnessed unprecedented, violent weather events from typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, and raging wildfires. Many surely have noticed the not so subtle changes in the weather, for example 100 degree F in the West and Pacific Northwest, and changes in their regional growing seasons. More and more people know that the Polar Ice and Greenland Ice Shelf are melting and causing sea level rise.

Others who have done their own research know that with the melting of ice and permafrost, as well as ocean warming, massive releases of Methane gas have been released into the atmosphere. Methane is a far more powerful and dangerous greenhouse gas than CO2 and one of the main causes of abrupt global warming.

Many people know that the Great Barrier Reef is nearly dead, and that hundreds of species, maybe thousands have gone extinct in their lifetimes. Countless others have witnessed the absence of birds, bees and other pollinators.

There are many other pillars of our environment that point to abrupt climate change, each working as a reinforcing feedback loop in the entire system. I list only a few of the more well-known: ocean acidification; the poisoning of the Pacific by the catastrophe that is Fukushima; warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic which will double the rate of warming of the planet as a whole; Ozone, a powerful greenhouse gas contributes to the mortality of trees; Greenland ice and Polar ice are darkening and instead of reflecting solar energy, they are absorbing it; forest and bog fires in Russia, Canada, America, Portugal are the new normal – unprecedented over the last 10,000 years; major Methane release from permafrost in Alaska; drought induced mortality of trees contributes to increased decomposition of CO2 into the atmosphere; earthquakes trigger Methane release. (For more on these feedback loops and abrupt climate change: Guy McPherson – )

I’ve been communicating with Professor Guy McPherson for several weeks now. In a recent email he predicted the “… collapse of civilization due to the inability to grow grains at scale. That happens in September 2018 or, less likely, 2019. We’re all going together, more or less, as collapse causes an abrupt global-average temperature rise to 4.5 C or so above baseline from the consequent absence of global dimming. I’m ignoring financial issues, which could trigger collapse any day. Brace for imminent impact.” See also his latest prediction for mass extinction: and  wherein he says extinction is now weeks or months, not ten to fifteen years.

I don’t know if Professor McPherson is right about when, but I am certain that it just might be in my lifetime. Bill McKibben told me in an interview that we had passed the point of no return, and unless we “got off oil, coal and gas right away, then we are headed for 4 to 7 degree C above normal global temperature.” (McKibben is funded by the Rockefeller (Standard Oil) Foundation. Hmmmmm

This is what I do know will result from either the collapse of civilization from abrupt climate change or the collapse of the entire Western capitalist system: massive shortages of food will cause chaos, panic, violence, mass migrations, and starvation. The end of the human experiment isn’t going to be pretty. For the few who initially do survive, they’ll wish they hadn’t. The Road with Viggo Mortensen is a realistic portrayal of what it will be like.

If this scenario is real, what would you do? Would it make any difference?

My next article: How To Live Life With Death In Mind.

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Copyright © 2018 Regis Tremblay.