I Guess We’ve Turned the Page on Climate Change
According to the New York Times, “A pair of English researchers found that New Zealand is best poised to stay up and running as climate change continues to wreak global havoc. Other scientists found flaws in their model.” Now two British academics, Aled Jones, director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and his co-author, Nick King, think they have some answers. Their analysis, published in July in the journal Sustainability, aims to identify places that are best positioned to carry on when or if others fall apart. They call these lucky places “nodes of persisting complexity.”
Well, I guess that seals the deal
We’re no longer speculating about the climate or worrying about meeting end-of-century temperature-increase targets, we’re beginning to list the most likely areas in which to survive. Having moved from America to the Czech Republic in Europe nearly thirty years ago, I thought I’d made a pretty good choice.
But I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand and it seems visit is all you can do anymore. They’ve closed it off to newbies on more than a tourist visit, you must have a business there to get permanent residency. Word must have gotten around that they’ve replaced Montana as ‘the last best place.’
Fact is, I’ve been keeping pretty quiet about Prague, so don’t tell anyone.
But everything’s fine when I look out my window
Especially at our modest summer-house, forty miles north of Prague. Actually, as I look out across the countryside, it’s been a little coolish and rainy lately, but nothing all that unusual. Yeah, California’s burning down again and western Germany had its severest flooding in history, so maybe those folks are paying a bit more attention. Never fear, politicians worldwide are putting together ‘study groups’ and ‘committees to present recommendations,’ but nothing much has yet come of the Paris Accords. There’s just so much other stuff going on, what with the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics and NFL season about to begin. Personally, I’m really upset about whether Aaron Rodgers will sign a contract with Green Bay or not. Will Lamar Jackson get his goddamn Covid shots?
Your personal take on climate depends on whether you can see flames
If there’s a flicker of flames on the horizon, or you’re watching storm-water inch its way up your front lawn, it’s amazing how quickly you can get your head on straight and focus. If not, California and Germany are a long way away.
Hell, we’re all pretty much that way. We kinda grudgingly take out the recyclables, but shit, a dying reef or turtle with its head stuck in a plastic bag is too remote to deal with and, as long as we get an outside cabin on this winter’s cruise, what’s the big deal?
Still, even if you’re not paying attention, facts remain facts
And the fact is we’re already over the line. We may survive as a species—and probably will—but the planet we inhabit will never be as we remembered it. Those times are over.
The places where 1/3 of the world now lives will become uninhabitable.
Mass migrations will occur and immigration laws won’t mean a thing.
Water will be the most expensive liquid on the planet.
Where you live, wherever that might be, will be unrecognizable from when you were a child.
Wealth will help for a while, then less and less. As we used to say in our motorcycling days, “chrome won’t get you home.”
It’s going to be tough on our kids and very tough on their kids.
Technology will help
Indeed. But, like everything else, it will pretty much depend on who controls it. Yes, the planet will go solar, but way later then it might have. Energy costs will plummet just when we need it most, to survive rising temperatures. We’ll learn to desalinate and if we’re smart enough, pipeline our way to a new agriculture and water for those whose aquifers have disappeared. Most significant will be hydroponic agriculture in the cities but, with solar it will spread everywhere.
If Bezos, Musk and Zuckerberg remain at the controls, we’ll have to see how generous they will care to be. But technology won’t be able to save the cities that lie on our oceans and rivers—as most of them do.
Venice, Bergen Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Stockholm, Baltimore, Vancouver, Seattle—most probably gone and they are not even 1% of the world’s waterfront cities. So, to paraphrase what they say about politics, ‘you may not be much interested in climate change, but climate change is very interested in you.’ I can only wish you well when it comes knocking at your door.
Image Credit: VOX.com