Healthcare is making phenomenal strides. Your heart could go bad, and we could still save you. Your lungs could get diseased, and we might still save you. Your brain might get a tumor, and there’s a shot at saving you. But if you have a cancer that goes from localized to regional to systemic—making it to stage 4 (spreading through all of these organs), that’s it. You’re terminal.
In the 1980s, we passed some irreversible thresholds for climate. Passed them—meaning now the world WILL be different than it would have been, in fact worse than it would have been. In fact, there will be more starvation, disease, war, loss of species, draught, resource crises, and overall destruction because we passed said threshold. Then we passed another. In fact, we’re busting through the roadblocks, scattering the signs, and kicking up dust as we accelerate.
Yes, accelerate. See, we didn’t calculate correctly back when we first started talking about this. We anticipated we’d have far longer than we do, because those doing the numbers didn’t factor in rate of acceleration. Guess what’s happening to acceleration? It’s not holding steady, affording us a simple math correction. Ding! Thank you for playing anyway. The rate of acceleration is accelerating.
So now you have this fast-moving, rapidly accelerating “disease”, to follow our metaphor. And it hasn’t confined itself to local or regional devastation. If it were just the ice in Greenland, we had a shot at saving us. If it was just the honeybee die off (and lots of other species, and the shifting balance to more aggressive insects, water species, etc), we might have done something about that. If it were just the rebirth of fascism, just the reemergence of nearly extinct disease and the rise of anti-vaxxers, just any one of the major alterations to our ecology, we’d at least have a simple target. But when all the systems that support healthy ecosystems are damaged—social, economic, cultural, political, medical, meteorological, and so on—well, we have to acknowledge it’s the end game.
And it seems that when the world dies, an emotional and intellectual death precedes it, like a sign in the heavens. This takes the form of our retreat from reason—more to the point, the logic that points to our demise. It’s further padded with a salving…