As we are coping with climate anxiety, I’d like to offer a little glimmer of hope. Here is an ongoing example of the world coming together both socially and politically with a sucessful policy outcome AND positive climate change. This video from Vox highlights it - - “Why you don’t hear about the ozone layer anymore”
And it’s important to push for politicians who can corral businesses to go along with changes like this. With many politicians on business payrolls ( i.e thank u to lobbying), it will be a hard slog I must admit.
In mars i watched a documentary on NETFLIX about “planetary limits”, and when they showed burning alife koala in Australia, i realised that “that’s enough, i can’t no more participate and contribute to this disaster by my way of life”
So i divorced, quit my job and about to become a monk, because it is, i suppose, the last opportunity and the most low foot print lifestyle as well.
Why there is no future?
Now we are on the tragectory of attaining +5°C of awarage global warming ant the end of the century. It can seem not so much. But when we know that when awarage temperature was -5°C and England was under 2 km of glass - it is no more the same story…
Each +1°C make the soil dry for about 10%, -50% of hunidity of soils is a desert
With +2°C all coralls are dead
With +5°C all tropical zones (India, SE Asia, South Amerca, Africa etc) will be mortal for the humain body. Why? Because humidity of the air at that time will be 100% and more than 250 day a year temperature will be abowe 40°C - body can not refresh itself with evaporation, and dies within 5-6 hours… Where all these people will go? If they go somewhere, will other nations accept them? War? Famine? Ilnessess?..
The inertia of climate is really big, about 30 years between emission and result, so even if all humanity disapear tomorrow, temperature will increase for 30 years at least… What we live today is the result of what we had emitted in 90s…
CO2 is an oxyde, and all oxydes are very very stable, once it is emited into the atmosphere - it’s there for a hundred of thouthands of years…
Before oil gave humanity all necessary conditions to grow, world population in 1800 was about 900 millions. If there is no more oil what conditions will support the life of the left 7.1 billions?..
Oil is everywhere around us, every object aroud us was conditioned by the presence of the oil. Our civilisation is an oil civilisation. (transport, plastic, food, clothes, fertilizers, medecines etc etc)
Oil+Gas+coal is about 70% of world energetic mix, it means that 70% of world energy is made out of these things. Nuclear is about 5%, and “green” energy is about 1-2%
If we want to build solar pannels and wind machines ( going from 1-2% to 70% in 40 years is quite ambitous projetc) , we must understand that they need a lot of space, 1m2 of a solar pannel is only about 100-200W - only enough for some light and only when there is sun or wind, because if there is no sun and no wind doctor couldn’t heal us, train will be waiting, etc). So there will be a choice : food or electricity.
Also if we remplace 70% of energetic mis with sollar pannels and wind mashines - we will extract enourmous quantity of resourses… Remplacing one disaster with another.
If we want to build batteries from all resources we have, the storage capacity will suffuse only for 5-8h of todays world consuption…
Concentration of metals in the ground is ridiculous. Copper is one of the most common metals and his concentraion is about 6%, it means that for 100kg of ore, there is 6kg of copper, but other metals needed for hight technogoly is not even calculated in % but in gramms by tonn… For example they found a gold mountain some where is south america, but the gold peresent in this ore is in form of… molecules… there is so little of some metals, that they are ready to exctract it on a molecular level… How will we extract all there tonns of ore? With mashines on solar pannels or with hands?..
The level of awarage energy consuption by humain being in the world is equivalent of energy produced by 200 humains (slaves) 24h/24h. In developped countries the level of wealth is the same if they had 600 slaves that would work for them 24h/24h… It means that without easy oil energy our way of life should be devided by 200 in awarage. Before oil one man could produce enough food only for 1.5 person…
In 2007 there was an “CONVENTIONAL OIL PIC” (it means that there is no more enough oil, and production of conventional oil will decrease naturaly)
During COVID pandemic there was “ALL OIL PIC” it means that even shell oil, and all heavy and dirty oils are now decreasing… There is no more oil awalable for the growth of production…
Economists say that if you want to know the world GPD in two years, look at the oil production of this year. Why? Because GPD is nothig more that transformed energy, no energy, no GPD… It means that no matter which president or gouvermenet there will be - GPD will decrease everywhere in the world, and so will our “royal wealth”, the number of our slaves wil decrease naturaly…
So i consider that there is no future, because even if without oil our population will go to the pre-oil population of 900 millions, how these people will survive in the desert? Feeding 8 billions of people in the desert without oil - is impossible… And is going to happen in the next 40 years… its tomorrow…
The only solution is the de-consuption, decrease of economics by -5% per year if we start today. -5% of world GPD is what caused covid pandemics… So we need a sumplimentary covid each year in order to change something… But who will vote for someone who will say that his project is to lessen your wealth by 5% per year?.. nobody… And even if some country will choose this kind of president, there is 130+ countries left…
The mountain is approaching from the west, east, north and south…
Often Marana Sati can take some abstract form “i will die somehow in the future…” but when you know how and when you will die, and there is no issue - it becomes more real…
Thanks for sharing honestly with us, it sounds like you’ve been thru a lot.
I’d love to follow up some of the things you say here, but I don’t have time right now. One thing I do agree with,
Yeah, the major overriding correlation is between economic activity and global atmospheric CO2. If we are serious about reducing global atmospheric CO2 we’ll have to reduce the size of wealthy economies, massively and quickly.
Anyway, if your path leads you to the monastic life, I wish you all the best.
Thank you for calling attention to this, it is such a wonderful framing.
In my observation, particularly of progressive American politics, there is a tendency towards the assumption that when things get worse, people will mobilize better. The assumption is that no one pays attention when everything is going okay, and only once everything falls apart will we see the need to put it all back together.
It is pleasant to believe that greater difficulty might catalyze greater change. However, this mindset can lead to a paralysis wherein we wait for a crisis to occur before we source the strength to address it. Furthermore, in this “accelerationist optimism” we may be more willing to tolerate unchallenged the persistence of that suffering which does not impact us as directly as it does others.
We should be cautious when seeking optimism in the increase of suffering, particularly the suffering of others. We should be cautious to avoid deeming the suffering of another to be inevitable (or even beneficial) more readily than we would if the suffering were our own. Even if we have accepted some aspect of our suffering to be inescapable or a lost cause, we should be cautious not to make this determination on behalf of others.
Returning to the discourse, in a time of peril is when we most need community of love/kindness and compassion, but in a time of crisis is exactly when realization of this community is most difficult. I appreciate that we must work with harmony, appreciation, and kindness while they are in greater abundance to retain them in a greater scarcity. We cannot wait until it is too late.
Indeed. I’d go further and say that this is an implicit assumption that guides the entire international project of climate action—“eventually, they’ll get it”.
And sure, some people will. But plenty of people will remain apathetic.
Worse, plenty more will leverage the rising chaos to their own advantage, undermining truth, civil society, and democracy, making any climate progress even harder. Democracy has been in global decline for twenty years—since Bush’s “war on terror”—and with it the appetite to coordinate rationally and compassionately for mutual benefit and preservation.
Underlying this, though, is something deeper. It’s the assumption that we are better than them. We know, they don’t. And if we only help them patiently enough, eventually they’ll grow up and be more like us.
Problem is, they don’t want to be more like us. They hate us. We might not hate them, so we try not to admit it, but it’s true. They hate us because we’re annoying, judgmental, and conceited. Because we think we’re better than them.
Exactly. Again speaking only for American politics even if it applies beyond…
The environmentalist position is so sanitized by the time that it gets any political power it recognizes no need for internal “us” accountability, instead entirely deflecting blame to “them” countries, particularly China and India. In addition to neglecting that we can make a much stronger impact domestically, the blame is factually errant.
To say nothing diminishing the responsibility of these countries, China’s per capita CO2 emissions are half (7.41 tonnes per cap) that of the US (14.2t/c), Canada (14.2t/c), and Australia (15.4t/c). In absolute numbers, India (2.4b tonnes) has ~1/2 the absolute CO2 emissions of the US (4.7b t) despite having 4x the population. This means that the US has ~8.4x the per capita emissions of India, yet some still blame Indians to deflect responsibility. I understand that anyone, Indian or not, would be skeptical of such blaming.
This schism between serious environmentalism and politics is only possible in the presence of institutional failure to represent popular will. 35 years ago, both major American political parties agreed that climate change was real and human-caused—until a fossil-fuels industry PR campaign (which in America of course means lobbying politicians without regard to the people). And once they can get back to agreeing on something, it will be the lowest common denominator of American Politics, blaming the poor [countries], whose CO2 emissions are measured in tenths of tonnes. Map. At the same time, predatory lending stipulations of structural adjustment ensures unchecked privatization, making emissions increases inevitable, forcibly materializing the xenophobic prophesy.
Again the “fourth future peril” arises. Before climate change, this conceit presents itself in inaction and hubris; during climate crisis, this conceit will present itself in austerity (as mentioned by @CurlyCarl) and eco-fascism—a reason to close the borders fleeing the climate disaster we created, to permit famines, to implement Malthusian restrictions on others without even a notion of abiding by them ourselves, to militarize to secure claims over what remains.
I haven’t seen it mentioned much, but people are already dying not only to ecological disaster, but also to eco-fascism: the white supremacist Buffalo, NY shooter, a self identified eco-fascist, cited in his manifesto the (nonexistent) ecological degradation brought by mass migration. That is the damage that one individual can do, eco-fascism at political scale can do untold damage.
Basicly all informations i’ve shared are from Jean-Marc Jancovici, it’s seems that his team and himself are TOP specialist on the subjetcs today. He gives presentations all around France and the world, event in MIT.
No, that’s right. George Bush did put a sledgehammer through the post-WW2 order and ended “the end of history”. Now, Blackwater, Lockheed, and the rest can profit handsomely from the resulting instability. Mission Accomplished.
All because he had some shiny toys to play with and watched too many cowboy movies growing up…
So for all its great age, the water element will be revealed as impermanent, liable to end, vanish, and perish. What then of this ephemeral body appropriated by craving? Rather than take it to be ‘I’ or ‘mine’ or ‘I am’, they still just consider it to be none of these things. … If, while recollecting the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha in this way, equanimity based on the skillful does become stabilized in them, they’re happy with that. At this point, much has been done by that mendicant.
This is all going to end, whether we cause it, or a giant asteroid blasts us into dust, or a plague gets us, or whatever. Vayadhamma sankara; appamadena sampadetha.
To be sure, I do what I can, where I can; I have become significantly more frugal in my dietary and purchasing habits, instead focusing on living a more eco friendly existence and not just being a walking garbage generator. But I am not operating under any misconceptions about the efficacy of my individual actions; I am doing it to be noticed. People who know my clothing, dietary and recreational habits think they are hippiesh or weird, but at least they are thinking about them, and why I do them. That’s what I am shooting for.
I think society at large is coming around; whether or not it will come around fast enough is another matter entirely.
If I’m not mistaken, Darwin actually read Malthus. Proponents of social Darwinism sometimes suggest or heavily imply that Darwin was just doing some cold hard science, unaffected by social theory, and that only later did Galton (eugenics) and Spencer (social Darwinism, particularly scientific racism) come along to naturally extend Darwin to more Malthusian viewpoints—Malthusian in the sense of being not anti-poverty but anti-poor-people.
In reality, Darwin was so influenced by Malthus when developing his theory of natural selection to the extent that it would otherwise be inchoate, then Spencer and Galton were again influenced by Malthus in the development of their own theories. It’s Malthus all the way down.
Thank you for this thread! This is something I find really difficult, not how to react to climate change, but how many Buddhists don’t care or just brush off climate change. One time when I was in a monastery, a couple of monastics/practitioners responded to the question of “are you worried about climate change” with “no, it’s happened before and it’s happened again” to which my reaction was:
So it’s hard. Theravada Buddhism’s inclination to largely sit on one’s cushion while the world burns around them is why I stopped practicing Buddhism and started engaging in a faith that sees social justice as inherent to religiosity. But, on the other hand, I know a lot of really awesome Buddhists (like you!) who are fighting for climate justice.
The way I cope is largely by trying to make sure I don’t become indifferent to this, but also to really be careful that I don’t fall into despair. And I listen to people who know more about this than I do, and I vote, and compost and recycle, and donate my clothes, and work towards improving social justice and quality of life for all people. Or at least, I try.
Just watching the news all day can drive up your blood pressure. I try and limit my media consumption, but easier said than done. I’m happy I’m 68 and won’t be alive for the worst of the climate disaster when it comes. but I do have kids. We have stayed in the northeast of the US which, for now, seems pretty immune to the global climate changes, certainly not the disasters that have affected the west and south. But places that only became habitable with the introduction of air conditioning and water imported from other places are going to suffer greatly. One thing I do know, the US is incapable of doing anything, our political system is broken beyond repair, we are incapable of organizing or pulling off any of the drastic measures that will be necessary, and I don’t see the rest of the industrial world being much better. None of that is going to change, it is only going to get worse. The cavalry is not coming, and so called US exceptionalism only exists in movies. We can’t even keep military weapons out of the hands of troubled 18 year olds, let alone handle climate change. I handle it by just focusing on the things I love. I already hardly drive anywhere as it is, I couldn’t get my carbon footprint any lower than it is now.
We’re also in a mega-drought where I live. Last year we broke our own record by going 240 days with no rain, which I believe is the longest on earth for any large city (2 million population or more). The city is running out of water, which means I might become a climate-refugee at some point in the future, unless I leave before that happens. The entire West, especially the Southwest is running low on water. Meanwhile in the East there is flooding. Simple solution is to pipe it in from there, but the politicians don’t seem to be concerned and are too focused on building their military-industrial-complex and giving out lethal aid to other nations.
Ahh, but is that the origins of wisdom? At the very least, you’re aware of it and can talk about it, and that’s not nothing. But perhaps—and I’m just speculating here, cos what would I know?—perhaps being burned out on anxiety is the beginnings of nibbidā? Maybe we need to feel burned out sometimes, before we move forward on to calmer waters?
Good on you, I’m sure some do!
Indeed, that is the crux.
That’s really interesting, do you have any citations I can follow up on?
Yikes. Well, your response seems eminently sensible.
Despair is ok. It’s just another emotion, we shouldn’t be scared of it. It’ll come, just wait it out, it’ll go eventually. Not easy, but there’s a rule of thumb: the deeper the despair, the more profound the transformation. If we manage ourselves to not encounter the depths of despair, we’re also managing ourselves to not question deeply and transform radically.
So go on, have a nice little breakdown. There’s nothing quite like an existential crisis to liven up a Monday morning!
Not too much, nor too little. Ten minutes a day is enough.
Welcome to this little thing we like to call “rebirth”!
We’re still, by and large, just too gosh darn comfortable.
No, not really. It’s hard to imagine anywhere in Oz that will be okay. We’re pushed right into the margins already. There is a lot of beautiful and sparsely-inhabited land in the S-E and S-W extremes. A lot of apocalyptic types head for Tasmania. Which is then another problem, because the more remote areas are already full of extremists.
Hi Bhante, Good question. I’m tired of the extreme heat, so considering Lake Tahoe area of Nevada-California up in northern Nevada. Summers are very pleasant, winters can be cold though. Also thinking about Seattle, Puget Sound area.