A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
What’s needed instead, as the United States stumbles toward its fourth great existential crisis, is the broadest possible selection of options that have been shown to work. This is where local communities and community groups can play a critical role, for it’s precisely on the local scale that options can be tested, problems identified and fixed, and possibilities explored most easily.
While most people are paying attention to Europe’s financial woes—and they are serious—there’s a lot of instability in other places…places you might think don’t matter much, but they do. In a world of global finance, global industry, global climate, and global instability, it all matters, as all of these systems are interconnected and inter-related. It’s been called “a perfect storm of catastrophic confluences.”
I understand wanting to promote empowerment, creativity, and hopefulness. I cannot understand promoting these attributes in the absence of — or at the expense of — factual information supported by extensive, rational analyses.
This presentation exposes all that we are not being told about climate change and the necessity of economic collapse as the only viable means of slowing it down.
Still, you can’t always get what you want. In the end, all that’s left is what you need. And we know that, unconsciously. It’s just that in the meantime we like to be sitting pretty. And not think about the fact that this very attitude of ours will hasten and worsen the end. We’re creatures bent on instant gratification. Which is, come to think of it, precisely why we have our optimism bias in the first place.
We Are All From New Orleans Now: Climate Change, Hurricanes, And The Fate Of America's Coastal Cities, By Mike Tidwell
The presidential candidates decided not to speak about climate change, but climate change has decided to speak to them. And what is a thousand-mile-wide storm pushing eleven feet of water toward our country’s biggest population center saying just days before the election? It is this: we are all from New Orleans now. Climate change—through the measurable rise of sea levels and a documented increase in the intensity of Atlantic storms—has made 100 million Americans virtually as vulnerable to catastrophe as the victims of Hurricane Katrina were seven years ago.
Only in crisis do human beings actually change anything. If there is any demarcation with profound implications going forward, it isn’t the line between the 1% and the 99% or the line dividing the Status Quo into two safely complicit ideological camps: it is the divide between those who squarely face the burden of knowing the present is unsustainable and those who flee into the comforts of denial. Those who accept the burden of knowing are part of the solution, those who cling to denial are part of the problem.
Evolution can be ruthless at eliminating the unfit. “Red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson memorably described it, Nature routinely sacrifices billions of individual organisms and sometimes entire species in the course of its adaptive progression.
We humans have been able to blunt Nature’s fangs. We take care of individuals who would not be able to survive on their own—the elderly, the sick, the wounded—and we’ve been doing so for a long time, perhaps tens of thousands of years. In recent decades more and more of us have leapt aboard the raft of societally ensured survival—though in ways that often have little to do with compassion: today even most hale and hearty individuals would be hard pressed to stay alive for more than a few days or weeks if cut adrift from supermarkets, ATMs, and the rest of the infrastructure of modern industrialism.