Only the most uninformed or dense person will deny that the worldwide climate is changing. Some will argue about the causes. The battle lines are drawn, regarding whether climate change is anthropogenic vs. astronomogenic. Regardless, the trend is there, the early effects are seen, and the trajectory is awe inspiring.
If I was on the Titanic, and passengers were arguing about whether the ice berg was sent by the hands of a vengeful God, or a random glacier calving a new floating hazard, or whether it's the captain's fault for failing to see the iceberg, I would wonder about the sanity of the passengers. I would do what I could to make sure that lifeboats were available to the largest number of possible passengers, and find whatever other floatation options for the others, even if there were none.
Fortunately, we have much more time to prepare. We see the coming storm. We see the warnings, have seen them for years, and they are not changing. If anything, the challenges will be more than we ever anticipated, and possible happen faster.
Who can we depend on to guide is in the coming challenges.
Politicians? They spend their resources being political. They ignore the future. They demonize each other, scramble over each other to show who is the most christian, wallow in vast piles of dollars like Scrooge McDuck, and do nothing. Politicians can't even maintain current infrastructure. They will not do anything to prepare us for the future.
Universities? Again, academics do nothing. Professors, like politicians, scramble for their dollars. They defraud the students into paying vast sums of borrowed money, to buy futures that the universities are incapable of providing to all but the most privileged and lucky, connected, or unusually savvy. What is coming out universities for this challenge? So far, documentation about effects. I see nothing about learning to live with climate change.
Corporations? Really? The source of vast tsunamis of gold and silver, buying elections and directing the politicians and university administrators in their pursuit of dollars? If there is a domain most responsible for climate change, and our lack of meaningful response, it's corporate. Somehow, something in the corporate mindset, destroys ethics, distributes the grape Koolaid, and keeps the minions thinking only about the short term back stabbing scramble for the top of individual work groups and teams. There is nothing in the current experience of corporations that suggests there will ever be long term consideration.
There is also the 4th horsemen's batallion of our Apocalypse: the cleric. Leading them are the Christian Dominionists and Apocalyptics, who feed politicians and the people with desire for Earthly destruction: It will speed the end times, and ultimately bring God's paradise. Or they are so busy with internecine wars, scrambling to the top of their heaps of bodies, there is no thought at all for the long term future of Homo sapiens and the other species and ecosystems of planet that we occupy.
Certainly, none of the puppet masters who run our world, is inclined to do anything to change the trajectory of our climate change, and even less inclined to do anything to prepare our societies, communities, or species for the changes to come.
So what do we do? Is there no hope from any quarter? Are all future generations doomed to scrambles for the last scraps of dead civilizations in the deserts of tomorrow?
Homo sapiens is the sole species in the history of the planet Earth, to dominate and transform the planet. We have reformulated our environment. As for ecosystems, we have scrambled and re-mixed species that were separated by millions of years of continental drift, or evolved separately, to create new ecosystems and hybrids that did not exist in the past. We have re-channeled vast rivers, creating megalopolises from desert. Even if you don't accept that we are the cause of the climate change currently underway, it is obvious that our planet is a very different place than it was before we came along, in a blink of an eye of geologic history. We proved that we can change the planet to our benefit and to our harm. We can adapt ourselves, our systems, our societies, our infrastructures, our agriculture, horticulture, diets, and mind sets, to the world to come.
How do we do that?
The first steps are, to know that we can, know that it is needed, and know that the change will come from the ingenuity of the people, not those corrupt beings at the top of the heap, who we falsely trust to lead us while using our resources for short-sighted internecine scrambles. The future will have to be crowd-sourced. It will depend on the individual efforts and learnings of countless people, each their own talents, temperaments, and experiences across very different domains of life. We will need to experiment, and accept failure as well as success. Some domains will be more amenable to adaptation than others. Individuals can not build buildings, or dams, or bridges. But we can experiment with our own ways of looking at life.
How will people be fed? In the current petrochemical, extractive industrial agricultural model, vast lands are flattened, sprayed with chemicals, denuded of what is considered undesirable life, often watered with inland seas of diverted rivers and mined groundwater, and planted with engineered plants that survive in such conditions to produce the most narrow definition of a food-like product. The corporations, universities, and governments, depend on individual ignorance to prevent people from competing with this vast system. I derive inspiration from the permaculture movement. Across the nation, and many places around the world, interested people experiment with ways on much smaller scale, to feed themselves and replenish their land while deriving nutrition from it. Permaculture continually evolves. Permaculture depends on feeding the soils and environment, replacing and building ecosystems at every scale, rather than mining it like there is no tomorrow. Knowledge builds without corporate input and control, and is spread via many routes. We may find that species formerly considered "invasive" are part of the answer, rather than the problem. We may find that species, and new hybrids, will stabilize soils, provide food and fiber, and construction materials, and create new ecosystems where the old ones can no longer survive or have been removed. We may see forests of bamboo, fields of hemp and tough grasses, opuntia cactus trees grown for fruit - as done in Mexico - as well as vegetable - nopales. The future will depend on creativity, and attitude.
How will we be housed? How will we do the activities of daily living that we are accustomed to? We need to think about infrastructure changes in our activities. Useless, shoddily built devices need to go, and no longer be made. Corporations won't like that. We need to think about making our homes into places that recycle water, generate energy, and create food. Grey water - nontoxic water from washing and other activites - should not go into sewers in desert cities. It should go into feeding the soil and plants to regenerate local ecosystems and grow foods. Our own bodies produce products needed to grow food, to the point where the amount of nitrogen needed to grow food for an individual, is almost entirely met by what we send to the sewer. That potential needs to be tapped. People need to think differently, realizing that "waste" is called that because it is wasted. Instead, it needs to be considered resource. This will mean changing our collective temperament, and the processes and products built around not thinking about our place in the world, while still promoting health, sanitation, and economy.
How will we accommodate uncountable numbers of migrants? How will we be safe? How will we handle loss of shorelines, the movement of metropolises whose land is under water - Miami, Manhattan, coastal Los Angeles, San Francisco? How will people make a living? What changes will happen in political systems? What infrastructure changes are needed, on a macro and micro scale? These problems will require forward thinking, not political blinders and fear mongering. It's going to happen. We are responsible to think about it in proactive ways, and create opportunity instead of dread.
We know it's going to happen. Now we need to prepare the way for the best tomorrow that we can create. It won't be done for us by the already vested, short-sided, narcissistic privileged interests. It will have to be the most wide reaching, creative, optimistic process that we can devise.
(Some public domain images via searches from http://www.ukrivers.net/climatechangephotos.html, others via searches with term "public domain")
THIS EXACTLY EXPRESSES MY GOAL. NOW, MY TASK IS TO DISCOVER MY MEANS.
"If I was on the Titanic, and passengers were arguing about whether the ice berg was sent by the hands of a vengeful God, or a random glacier calving a new floating hazard, or whether it's the captain's fault for failing to see the iceberg, I would wonder about the sanity of the passengers. I would do what I could to make sure that lifeboats were available to the largest number of possible passengers, and find whatever other floatation options for the others, even if there were none."
Joan, a significant part of the flavor of this post is influenced by your philosophy. I don't have the words in my mind, which is bad - but part of it is cultivated optimism, and part of it is your approach to problem solving.
A piece of that is the acronym used by nurses in hospitals - SBAR - Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation. Before that approach happened, communications were much more chaotic and dysfunctional. In the setting of preparing for changed world and local climates, we know the situation - climate change is happening. Change will affect everyone, but probably those in challenging economic and social circumstances the most. The background is that some effects can be ameliorated or decreased if we work on contributors to climate change, but to a greater or lesser extent it will happen regardless of what is done now, and there is not enough effective will - political, corporate, academic, or religious - to mobilize for a better future. I do acknowledge international agreements, but so far they are too limited and I think most contributors to the problem are not cooperative. However, every person everywhere has potential talents and abilities to create change. The assessment is that giving the skills to the next generations depends on the creative, purposeful efforts of those currently living, and my recommendation is that we expect less of corporations and their minions - which include government and academia - and more about what each of us can contribute. The recommendation is to continuously seek every day creative solutions where ever we can find them, searching libraries and the internet, solving problems, looking for opportunities that move us to a less passive, dependent, extractive life and toward solving problems, communicating ideas and findings, encouraging, rewarding, and embracing useful creativity, and fostering a can-do attitude. You do those things by example and by mentoring your family and for those of us who read your words here.
I'm convinced that one part of any successful adaptation will have to be transitioning to a greatly reduced population... we'll have to make it much easier to enjoy (female-male) sex without making babies -- since "just say no" has always been a dismal failure -- and make it much less "necessary" and acceptable to have lots of children.
Oh! Yes, Grinning Cat.
"make it much easier to enjoy (female-male) sex without making babies"
The religious imperative to create children for the Lord, or for whatever reason may have been a benefit to humanity in the early development of Homo sapiens, but it is not beneficial now. Why the Roman Catholic and other religious principles don't change their positions is outright obscene. Just one of the BIG reasons to hold religions in low regard. .
"Après nous le déluge!" ("After us, the deluge").
SBAR - Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation.
SBAR is a perfect example of how to approach a situation. Easy to learn, transparent in the process, and natural to think flexibly; If Assessment A does not work, try Assessment B, etc. Same with Recommendations.
We need to start training leaders!
"The first steps are, to know that we can, know that it is needed, and know that the change will come from the ingenuity of the people,"
Important elements of problem-solving and conflict resolution, include communication, assertiveness, active listening, negotiation, persuasion, and other skills.
Leaders need to know how to follow, as well. A poor follower can screw up the best leadership. The first conflict will undoubtedly be over who is to lead; anticipate that and train for it.
It takes people who know how to follow, effectively. How to do the many skills needed presents a formidable task and everything can be learned, just as in a medical situation, many principles can attack many challenges.
Doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel learn protocols. My adult family members spent Saturday learning how to handle medical emergencies even though they are not qualified to do some procedures. They learned what to do and not to do.
Are there members of Atheist Nexus qualified to train others in leadership, following directions, communication, negotiation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and procedures in first aid?
This situation is grim but not hopeless. If one falls into hopelessness, depression and anxiety follow what could be an effective and efficient team. Keep thinking positively.
"We know it's going to happen. Now we need to prepare the way for the best tomorrow that we can create. It won't be done for us by the already vested, short-sided, narcissistic privileged interests. It will have to be the most wide reaching, creative, optimistic process that we can devise."
~ Daniel W.
Leadership is about community development in the broadest sense. It begins with the largest communities to which we all belong, the communities of the human family. Leaders look at how we increase, inspire, and adjust individual, social, and cultural lines of development, in order that we become increasingly wise, effective, and efficient.
We need to learn how to live on a planet with limitations of food, water, and natural resources. Individual and cultural behaviors need to change in response to the changing demands of the changing environments. Learning involves learning how to adjust our capacities to exist and thrive in the face of global changes and challenges in the environment.
This is the warp and woof of leadership, of the essential edge of climate change, and of the survival of life as we know it. Effective leadership works toward working through the natural changes that occur and that are beyond our control.
1. identify the most critical challenges facing us
2. prepare people to participate to effectively meet those challenges
"A Brief History of Homo Sapiens".