Climate breakdown - happening now
Updated: Feb 5, 2019
After decades of warning about climate change comes the bad news: it's here.
There's an inherent problem with trying to communicate the enormity of climate breakdown. Which words can you possibly use to describe the simultaneous and inter-locking collapsing of multiple, unknowably vast systems that extend across the entire planet? 'Climate change' doesn't really do it justice. What's more, the issue is something that isn't predictable in the usual way. The changes beginning to take place in the biosphere are unprecedented and can be modelled in a scientific sense, but not understood in an intuitive one.
Few people are motivated to take action, to alter their life, because of an abstract concept they don't understand. Yet if we wait for the disaster to unfold in order to believe it is true, then it's likely it will already be too late. The alteration to the climate systems driven by the increase in carbon dioxide have a decades long lag between causes now, and effect later, when the very worst of the results will be felt. In addition, the different aspects of the crisis - some of which are seemingly unrelated - have mutually reinforcing effects. Once we realise we are on a runaway train heading downhill it will already be (already is?) too late.
The issue of whether or not action can be taken at this stage is a debate for another time. Here I want to summarise some stories that begin to bring home some of the reality of a changing climate, and a collapsing biosphere. As humans, we communicate in stories. Even the most abstract of notions are founded on comprehensible narratives. Perhaps if, through stories, we can begin to understand the enormity of the task, we can start to also tell those stories that will bring people to make the changes we so urgently need.
Over a series of posts I'll be writing about the state of the earth, what might happen in the near future and what hope there is for averting the coming collapse.