A short history of tomorrow
Guest post from Ken Sayers
The American people are experiencing existential crises on many levels simultaneously. It is little wonder that the N Y Times reports that suicides are up. For the most part, many of those crises are “self-made” by a government that no longer cares for its people, and one looming crisis in the world, brought about by the insatiable greed of those same people who are causing all of the other problems~ namely Climate Change.
Climate Change is the primary crisis because it not only exacerbates or drives our other problems, but it also puts a clock on the time we have to get it together as a race to save our own and all the other species on this planet.
If we are unable to halt the increase in greenhouse gasses, our planet will no longer be able to support us. The first and simplest reason is that our temperatures will increase to the point that we will be unable to go outside. The heat index yesterday, in one Texas town, was 117°F. The actual temperature was near 100°F on June 23. At that temperature, it is dangerous for man to work outside. But, man is not the only organism affected. Plants shut down at 85°F. That means crops will fail. At some point we lose the natural pollinators and then we can forget feeding our roughly 8 billion people.
In addition to hunger, the ocean levels will rise and the world will experience coastal flooding. This, in a sense, will help because 60% of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of a coastline. We are already experiencing sunny day flooding in south Florida and it will only get worse. This will create climate refugees the world over. To what country will the folk living on the south sea islands flee. Australia is already balking. To what part of Florida or the United states will the people along our coasts flee. Who will give them a place to live? In its current state, do not look to the Federal Government for help. And, the “State of Florida” is not even allowed to mention the words, “Climate Change.”
In addition to widespread drought, increased flooding, and crop failures, the natural disasters like wildfires, tornados, and hurricanes are increasing in actual numbers as well as strength. Even a simple thing like snow has become a major problem.
These are not problems that will appear at the end of the century when sea level will rise by 6’ or so. These are problems that will occur much sooner.
We are not ready and our government shows no inclination to prepare. Our electrical grid is a patchwork of greed and neglect. We are not employing near enough renewable resources. We still use coal and our transmission lines are woefully inadequate and vulnerable to hacking. These were problems pointed out in the first Bush Administration.
Our Trans-continental Highway System was built roughly 62 years ago. Traveling cross country today, you must pay attention to closures, as bridges are collapsing. When I went to California 3 years ago, we had to avoid the southern route because Interstate 10 was shut down. When I went a couple months ago, my GPS routed me up HWY 99 because Interstate 5 was too dangerous. Besides the gut wrenching potholes, the highway surface was so slick, an 18-wheeler tried to stop and even the barricade between on-coming lanes of traffic didn’t stop it. Interstate 5 is a MAJOR north/south transportation route in one of the busiest states in the nation and California is not the Lone Ranger.
Worst of all is our potable water situation. Do not even get me started on our own avoidable blunders, as occurred in Flint Michigan. There are other problems. Nestle Corporation is pumping millions of gallons of water a minute across the entire country and putting it into plastic, single use bottles. Petrochemical companies are fracking across the entire country, poisoning our aquifers with chemicals so bad that the companies got a law passed that they do not have to even tell us what they are. Add to that, the Trump administration has removed all regulations that were prohibiting corporations from poisoning our waterways.
Just two more items in the water category of which I am aware. The infrastructure that delivers fresh water from Hetch Hetchy, in Yosemite, to the San Francisco Bay Area is in serious need of repair. It leaks like a sieve. The other is the Colorado River that supplies drinking water and electricity to the Southwestern United States, namely Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Southern California. It is drying up.
We need to fix these things, but our government is dumbing us down in a serious way. States, across the entire country are rewriting history books and science texts, math, and even the way English is taught.
The development of language of a country determines that country’s productivity. The vocabulary of today’s children is half of what it was when I went to school. When I was 45, I had occasion to go back to school, from which I graduated 27 years ago.
A new graduation requirement was added since I had originally graduated in 1968. It was called the “English Proficiency Exam.” It is just a simple test where you are given 3 controversial topics about which you are to choose one and write a paper. It can be as short as 4 paragraphs long. You need only have a thesis statement, an enlargement of your statement, its support, and the conclusion. It must have proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Even if you didn’t know these things when you got to college, you had to pass a course in “English Composition,” so you could write your papers for your other classes as you progress to a degree. You might well ask, how could anyone get to graduation without knowing those things, but they do. More than 50% of graduating Seniors have to take that test 3-4 times before they pass. There are even refresher classes to teach you how to pass. The English Comp class, that I took 30 years before, stood me well. The Trump/DeVoss team is doing all it can to destroy education as we knew it.
Add to all this, the monumental problem of the stranglehold the corporations have on our government and it is easy to see why suicides are up. Our younger people are saddled with unbelievably huge college debt (to our own government I might add) that they cannot afford to make a living if they even find a job. Our even younger people will not even be intelligent enough to get into college. We will have a country that is breaking apart and no one intelligent enough to put it back together.
And what happens when the shit hits the fan? Well, the only thing in this country of ours that has any resources at all is our military. You tell me. I don’t know if we are past that tipping point or not. If not, I know we are dangerously close to it. What are your plans? If we make it another 20 years, 60 or 70% of the careers that people will have, do not even exist today. Will your children survive. Are you going to even leave them a world in which survival is possible? Yes, we are Smack in the middle of existential crises.
The thing with the children is grave, of course, but I believe it is just to provoke a reaction serious enough that the “government” can declare martial law and suspend the constitution.