The American Association for the Advancement of Science wants you to know that
The world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate..."
... we consider it our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risks and costs of taking action.
...in the coming decades,... An 8°F rise – among the most likely scenarios could make once rare extreme weather events – 100-year floods, droughts and heat waves – almost annual occurrences, the scientists said.
Other sudden systemic changes could lie ahead – such as large scale collapse of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, collapse of part of the Gulf Stream, loss of the Amazon rain forest, die-off of coral reefs, and mass extinctions.
“There is a risk of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes in the earth’s climate system with massively disruptive impacts,” the report said.
As parents you need to realize that these risks to your and your family are not in the far future. While the climate is destabilizing, other risks are converging at the same time. Rising income inequality is just as serious a concern as the resource depletion of climate change. You know, where the rich get richer and you get poorer. A NASA study predicts the collapse of industrial civilization within decades unless systemic changes are made.
According to a new study sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, we only have a few decades left before everything we know and hold dear collapses.
The report, written by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center along with a team of natural and social scientists, explains that modern civilization is doomed. And there's not just one particular group to blame, but the entire fundamental structure and nature of our society.
Analyzing five risk factors for societal collapse (population, climate, water, agriculture and energy), the report says that the sudden downfall of complicated societal structures can follow when these factors converge to form two important criteria. Motesharrei's report says that all societal collapses over the past 5,000 years have involved both "the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity" and "the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or "Commoners") [poor]." The so-called Elite population restricts the flow of resources accessible to the Masses, accumulating a surplus for themselves that is high enough to strain natural resources. Eventually this situation will inevitably result in the destruction of society.
Elite power, the report suggests, will buffer "detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners," allowing the privileged to "continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe."
The worst-case scenarios predicted by Motesharrei are pretty dire, involving sudden collapse due to famine or a drawn-out breakdown of society due to the over-consumption of natural resources.
The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.
And that's not even counting the spectre of global climate change, which could be a looming "instant planetary emergency." According to Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Neil Dawe:
Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us ... Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things.
Writes Nafeez Ahmed at The Guardian: "Although the [NASA] study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies - by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance - have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative." [emphasis mine]
One way to fight growing inequality is to insist that your politicians support a financial transaction tax. See
Another way to fight for a liveable world is to end anonymous companies. It's a movement to require all companies to disclose who owns them.
There's a page on Facebook.
Corruption using shell companies to hide from the public is a systemic weakness contributing to our civilization's demise. This is based on a TED talk prize. You have a right to know!
See also the Global Witness site.
This would take away a key tool used by those who sacrifice your children's future for their short term profits.
Agreed! We need to know where the money resides, where it goes, who benefits. Just plain old open business and government.
Business and government know all about me and have laws to access my information. I borrowed money for a new furnace last month and found out I have top notch credit. Well, I should, I pay all my bills on time and don't try to hide anything from anyone.