Out of the hotel
I opened the door of my room and walk out of this very exclusive hotel, no more long hot baths, no more towers of food from the “all you can eat” buffet; no more some magic invisible person cleaning my towels, doing my bed, vacuuming the floors, no more air conditioner, no more comfort, no more social classes, no more symbols of luxury and status. It’s all over.
We are millions and millions migrating, fighting for water, food, survival…
I used to be worried for my daughter watching brain damaging Walt Disney stories like Cinderella. Now I’m holding her hand. We are walking to the unknown, waiting to be accepted by some other country that can afford us. Only a little percentage of us will make it. She lost her entire world, her existence is under threat and I guess we have better problems to deal with rather than the Cinderella complex.
It’s hard to blame someone: The laws of thermodynamics would explain how life takes the shortcuts to get the maximum benefit with the minimum effort. Nothing in nature avoids it, why wouldn’t us be comfortable? Why walking to the TV to change the channel instead of using the remote control? It was there so available, why not to take it?
Despite the advises that we were living as individuals and not as a group, nothing could be changed because individuals do not change epocs, do not change societies.
No one to blame, we all did it. Well, all the wealthy ones. The others just didn’t have the opportunity.
Gross domestic product (GDP) was a figure used by economists to explain the economic status of a country. There was some correlation between the amount of GDP and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (emissions by country). Like some sort of parallel lines: the more GDP, the more CO2. Our societies apparently needed circulation of money to keep their economical systems running, the energy to produce those movements required the creation of needs for consumption of goods and services. The energy used for this mainly came from carbon based fuels. The more societies consumed, the more circulation of goods and services and the more use of carbon fuels, locally or in the country where the goods were produced.
Emissions Responsibility per capita
There were few countries with incredible life standards. Comfort was easily accessible and it felt really good. No one wanted to sacrifice this due to the “laws of thermodynamics”. Although, there was a sense of guilt, some vague idea that the good life was polluting. Unless you were the unlucky one living in the dangerous zones, the pollution was hard to see, here it was always so tidy and clean, so organised.
For decades, politicians around the world expressed no intentions on reducing carbon emissions (CO2) at all. The argument went always around the same endless loop: “keeping the jobs and economy going”. Two simple words that were effective as the fear of God imposed in medieval religious empires. Because jobs and economy meant comfort.
It was very obvious that the solution to the problem was to replace carbon fuels by some non-pollutant fuels, but the transition was too slow and even if would managed to make it quicker it would take several generations to restore the damage: Water, amazing as it is, had been storing all the energy from the sun, rising its temperature. With no more ice in the poles, a century would take to cool down.
The last romantics
The individual actions had absolutely no effects on the global context. It did not matter how many hipsters and hippies we were: Recycling, growing and consuming organic products did not change the amount of CO2 there in the atmosphere. This was mainly because romanticism were turn into a new product of consumption. The pattern was unstoppable. Even Che Guevara was in the stock market with the “SWATCH revolution” watch.
All environmental campaigns did their best to put the focus on to the individual or in the collective force of many individuals against polluting industries or corporations who abused the resources of the planet. But the communication should had been at a social level, the exact area of the politicians. We only needed better regulations, automatic mechanisms to cut energy use when nobody was in the room. But this wasn’t easy:
The structure of power
Politicians were forced to play very complex games to kept ruling powers in place. There was no room for heroes, probably since the invention of the atomic bomb. The industries of CO2 energy were the most powerful in the world due to its economic power. Destabilising those powers would destabilised the countries it selves, and proven by history, all attempts had failed. Everything was done in order to kept the status quo. There was interests that could not be altered.
There was a time in history when we thought we could have changed the structures of power and make a more fair world. But powerful dehumanised corporations through puppet politicians imposed their force: I remember the case of Chile, when the government house was simply bombarded by General Augusto Pinochet killing the democratically elected president Salvador Allende in order to install a criminal regime that ensure profits for these private mining companies.
Anyway, who cares now. It does not matter any more how much energy and time we wasted trying to find justice for all those crimes. It’s all over now and I’m walking to find subsistence.
Our social class demands, our meaningless and useless existentialist explanations and any of those complex political philosophies. None of that matters at all. The reality is one and it is overwhelming. Soon, if we survive, we will see our religious debates on money and jobs as the most primitive stage on human history. Mayor current political conflicts like Egypt and the Syrian crisis were directly related to environmental issues: a draught here and there reduced the amount of wheat that could be exported to those countries. Egypt, who base its diet on wheat struggled to feed its people due to the impossibility of wheat imports. Syria suffers another natural resource problem after many years of droughts. What appears to be political conflicts had deep roots in Global Warming.
The last shall be the last
And as usual “the last shall be the last” and not the first. The good life of the countries that lived in comfort was not related to geographical luck or smarter civilisations, it was just a game of bullies taking resources. And while we debated what was good for each individual economy, the planet was warming and the sea level rising. Unfortunately, one of the poorest countries in the world, Bangladesh, and also one of the less pollutant, was the one to pay the price first: its land, very close to sea level, was being submerged slowly. A constant migration towards the higher areas was happening everyday due to the constant advance of the sea into its land. They were too poor and irrelevant to be considered by the news. Desperate people tried to find somewhere to live by crossing illegally to India, where the border controls were free to murder them shooting from invisible far distances.
Yemen was another one in the list of thirsty and unstable countries. We were starting to see global destabilisation due to the constant collapse of individual countries. These collapses were originated on the scarcity of resources which begins with global warming. The first one was Greece. Its collapse was a threat to Europe’s economies. Now we are living the effects of billions of Global Warming refugees and its associated political disasters. The whole thing is a Mad Max movie.
If only we have had better education and less dumb bogan tv, we would avoid turning these apparently political conflicts into ideological conflicts. Science was the only way to put the focus where it should have been. Global Warming was there and there is no way back, as expressed by Dr. Joshua Willis from NASA in its amazing lecture on his studies based on the very accurate data from the Jason satellite:
Now we have to learn to leave with a warmer planet. Through scientific evidence we can help to anticipate the upcoming problems. This way, we do not have to rely on politicians talking about economies and jobs because the rules are clear: the bullies will take the resources and the poor people of the world will loose. Although we are all losers.
We can now rely on publicly available information about soil moisture from the SMAP satellite and open the door to all current and new refugees instead of putting them in jail or limbo. I wish there were more Germanies right now.
If the responsibility is for the individuals and not to the leaders of societies, we could take a collective effort of education, so we overcome ideologies to demand collaboration instead of competition.
And we will walk and do our best to stay alive. I am afraid. I am very afraid because the more people we are, the more desensitised we become. It is a survival mechanism. No one can cope with all this pain. But I have hope that collaboration will get us out of this. Perhaps we will wake up to a new epoch and perhaps climate change was the only way to overcome the current structures of powers.