This morning an acquaintance of mine emailed me a link to Jem Bendell’s article “Deep Adaptation.” Following is a slightly revised copy of the reply I sent to him:
That “Deep Adaptation” article really seems to be getting around — I get the impression that a lot more people are reading it. I read it when I first ran across it half a year ago, and again a couple of months ago when a friend of mine sent it to me. I agree with only a little of it:
It says, among other things, that our climate problem is much more dire and urgent than most people have previously realized. I agree with that, and I’m glad to see that more people are realizing that now.
However, I find its distinction between “collapse” and “catastrophe” confusing. And I am doubtful that any kind of “adaptation” — deep or otherwise — is possible.
Here are the two paths that I see before us:
(1) Worldwide ecosocialist revolution within the next couple of years, changing everything, and fixing the climate to some degree. That requires waking up most of humanity to an understanding vastly different from anything they have ever imagined. It’s not likely that we’ll follow this path, but I’m still advocating for it; I haven’t given up hope yet.
(2) The capitalists retain their grip on power. They continue to block any changes that would cut into their short-term profits, regardless of how this destroys everyone’s future including their own. And the destruction is coming much bigger and faster than most people realize.
(The reason the capitalists do this is because they are not some unified “Illuminati.” They are in cutthroat competition against each other, and each says “I just have to make a buck for myself right now, I’ll leave it to someone else to clean up the mess.”)
Already, climate change has begun to cause crop failures, rising food prices, and large numbers of refugees. Uncle Sam’s psychopathic foreign policies add to the number of refugees.
All that will increase, and within a few years we’ll see massive famines, and the end of any organized human society, i.e., “civilization.” Most humans will die. I’m estimating this catastrophe will happen by 2035, but I have no precise timetable or specific evidence — I’m just eyeballing what I see happening around me. Keep in mind that the processes are exponential, not linear.
Some “back to nature” idiots believe that the aforementioned catastrophe will stop global warming, and a few bands of roving humans will find a way to adapt. Those idiots are mistaken. We have set into motion some major feedback loops that no longer depend on the carbon emissions of a large number of humans. (For instance, the warming melts the ice, replacing white reflecting surface with darker non-reflecting surface, increasing the sunlight that the planet captures, hence more warming.) And it is unlikely that we can do anything to stop those feedback loops, once civilization has ended.
And so the warming will continue until all the ice has melted, all the forests have burned, and all the phytoplankton have died. By then all the wildlife will be dead, and all the humans too. I’m expecting this by 2045, though again I have no precise timetable or specific evidence. (I laugh ironically at all the newspaper headlines about cities flooding in the year 2100.)
Elon Musk dreams of flying to Mars, but there’s no need: Mars is coming here. And if he does get to Mars, and if his closed-ecosystem biodomes somehow are viable despite their severe lack of diversity, he is bringing to Mars the same capitalist mentality that is killing Earth — and that most people on Earth, even most climate activists, still don’t see.
Good luck to us all. Viva la revolución.
[Addendum: More people are talking about how to survive the coming collapse. But I am convinced that NO ONE will survive the coming collapse, and our only hope is to AVERT the coming collapse. And more people are talking about the fact that averting the coming collapse is impossible under the present political system, so I don’t know why they don’t realize that WE NEED TO OVERTHROW THE PRESENT POLITICAL SYSTEM.]
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