The End is Nigh

‘We’re toast.’

This from the founder of one of the world’s largest and most environmentally progressive outdoor brands when I asked if we could turn things around in time to stop climate change. Pessimistic? Yes. Also, from a cursory glance at the news, decidedly pragmatic.

Sure, we could turn it around. There’s time. But we probably won’t. Have you taken stock of the state of things lately?

The ‘most powerful country in the world’ is run by a science-denying racist egomaniac reality TV star proto-authoritarian so demented he can’t stop making up outlandish lies while his cronies defend him to the bitter end, humanity be damned. The UK is melting from the top down, torn apart by a misinformed public’s mandate to Brexit. North Korea’s psychopathic and tragically-shorn unicorn-adjacent leader reportedly just visited his dead daddy’s grave, meaning he’s (maybe) about to do something crazier than usual. Somewhere in Russia, Putin is dancing shirtless to ABBA (or maybe the Beatles), while his social media team slowly dismantles democracy under the cold alien eyes of antisocial social media oligarchs.

None of this indicates an ability or capacity for instituting widespread cultural change.

But the world’s always been a shit show, hasn’t it? What did Jeff Goldblum promise us? ‘Life finds a way?’ Maybe. But we’ve had ample warning of impending doom. Instead of joining together and forming global plans for a clean-breathing future, we’re all gaping into a cold blue backlit abyss, action supplanted by meaningless virtue-signaling and rhythmic tapping on Gorilla Glass dopamine drips. Maybe it all really is a simulation. A society brilliant enough to (allegedly!) fly to the moon can’t be dumb enough to intentionally fart itself into extinction, can it? Common sense dictates not, but 1/3 of Americans believe Earth is flat and did I mention Donald Trump is president?

Oh, calm down. I’m sure everything’s fine. Really. How bad can it be? Well….

A dead whale had 48 pounds of plastic in its pregnant belly. And that’s just the tip of the plastic-stuffed cetacean iceberg. At least three others have been found recently, including one with over 88 pounds of refuse. A staggering number, until you recall experts predict that by 2050 our oceans will actually contain more plastic than fish.

Canada is warming at twice the global rate. A recent report shows the United States’ hockey-loving neighbors to the north are ground zero for manmade global warming, meaning winters will be warmer and summers are gonna suck. Melting glaciers will begin to sink coastlines, and freshwater shortages will decrease drinking water. Ironically, the same report also claims that the conservative (read: climate denying) American Midwest will have the worst extreme weather swings, leading to as many as 2,000 extra annual deaths by 2090.

The world’s insect population is dying off. Imagine a summer free of mosquitos, or not having to worry about pesky wasps buzzing about your milkshake on a hot day. Sounds nice, right? Nope. Without bugs, the food chain—and nature—collapses. Linked primarily to unsustainable agricultural processes such as widespread pesticide application as well as climate change, more than 40% of the world’s creepy crawlers are declining and a third of them are endangered, with 80% of the world’s total insect biomass disappearing in just the last three decades. It’s not just bugs that pesticides are slowly driving to oblivion – glyphosate, AKA Roundup, has been found to increase cancer risk by 41% and isn’t just staying put on factory farms—it’s everywhere, including the vast majority of beers and wines.

Warmer temps mean more mosquito-borne illnesses. A new study claims that within 30 years half of the world’s population could be at risk from mosquito-transmitted diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus. In the USA alone, sicknesses from mosquitos, fleas, and ticks have tripled in the last 15 years. Hmmm…. Maybe there actually is an argument for Round Up?

Previous climate changes caused Neanderthals to resort to cannibalism. Forget global pandemic Walking Dead like zombies shuffling after you with visions of breaking soufflé in their eyes. A short 10,000 years ago our relatives, the Neanderthals, were driven to eat each other when wild temperature swings caused the extinction of most common food sources. That this macabre piece of history was discovered in what is now France, explains a lot about the regions famously exotic style of animal consumption.

Now, it’s not all bad. There really are lots of people standing up to fight for our collective future, like these brave souls gluing their naked bodies to glass walls in Britain’s Commons in the name of climate awareness. Even famously corporate-owned, science-hating American Republicans can come around on climate… Utah Senator Mike Lee postulated we could beat climate change by simply getting married and having more kids. So, there’ll be lots more people to ponder ways to save the planet. Like, you know, having way fewer kids.

Everything’s fine. Take a deep breath. Besides, you do recycle, right? Perfect.

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