Antarctica is 70° hotter than usual. Last year Siberia was on fire. The Amazon rainforest is tipping into oblivion. The entire climate is collapsing.It is the literal end of the world as we know it. And ‘we’ feel fine.
Our collective reactions to these events are wildly out of proportion. We’re still making pledges while proudly pumping even more oil. We act like we have all the time in the world while both time and world are running out. This isn’t some prediction. Just look around.
It’s not just the warming, the knock-on effects of climate collapse have already kicked in the door. Disease, famine, and war have already begun. COVID-19 has killed at least 10 million people. Food insecurity is the worst it’s been in decades. World War III may have already started.
Just as a change in temperature causes a chain reaction of climate events, so do those events cause chain reactions of social events, almost none of them good. And we haven’t even faced the big climate impacts yet. We think we can get away with changing our lifestyles a little, which is a joke. We’re fighting for our lives, and many of our lives have already been lost.
Even now—while climate collapse is already happening—we’re still bargaining with fate. Like there’s anyone to bargain with. Like physics gives a fuck. We’re like:
- I’ll change the engine on my car. But not the fact that we use two tons of resources and kilometers of roads to move a few people around.
- We’ll have green capitalism, despite a system based on endless growth being mathemetically incompatible with a finite planet.
- We’ll pledge to change in 30 years. Despite the fact that we do not have any time left at all.
We’re bargaining with fate, and fate isn’t even at the table. Fate is fire, fate is hunger, fate is flood. While we offer up electric cars and paper straws, fate will simply take it all.
We’re not bargaining with anyone. We’re just lying to ourselves.
We really don’t get it. We are negotiating with a rock hurtling through space, which fundamentally does not give a fuck to what we ‘commit’ to, or how bad we feel about the whole thing. It’s a rock, bound by immutable physical laws.
If you light shit on fire, it gets hot. If your emissions change your environment, guess what, you’re not adapted anymore. This is the eternal law, and there are no plea bargains. There’s no jury, judging our best intentions. There’s no judge to bribe. We’re alone in the universe, and god knows we’ve done crimes.
The scale of change required is not evolutionary. It’s revolutionary. If your house is burning you can’t just change the drapes.
What this means is that we cannot modify capitalism to work within planetary limits. We’re trying to turn slightly left or right when we need to turn around.Mathematically you just cannot have endless economic growth against a finite planet, even with renewables, this is a calamity. As the late Mark Fisher said in his book Capitalism Realism:
Or as Fidel Castro said, “It [Capitalism] has created lifestyles and models of consumerism that are incompatible with reality. It has poisoned waterways, oceans. I mean rivers, lakes, seas, the atmosphere, the Earth.”
Castro said this before the ‘science’ of climate collapse was so solidly known. But different communities always knew what was going on. We just didn’t listen. Ideas like communism or those from indigenous societies are far more compatible with planetary limits because they focus on human needs and not endlessly stocked supermarket aisles. But last century we chose supermarkets.
Like any deal with the devil, we certainly got things. But those things came at a dreadful price. In the end the devil takes it all.
The fact is that Capitalism depends on endless growth every year, drawn from resources and labor it doesn’t even account for. We have a word for endless growth within living system. It’s called cancer. You can’t live with cancer. You either cut it out or die.
What this also means is that the same leadership that got us on this path (starting with colonialism and leading to capitalism) cannot get us out. These are people that blocked patent-free vaccines and got their own people killed in the millions. That still haven’t woken up.
What makes you think White Empire will perform any better with climate collapse? They’ll just use it to make another buck. These fuckers will merrily end the world before they have a bad quarterly report. They can’t be reasoned with. They have to be overthrown.
What is required is the destruction and overthrow of White Empire entirely. In short, revolution. And we only have to do it right now. Can you see the problem?
Even now, in the face of planetary collapse, do you see any planetary revolutionary movements around? Not really. We still think we can have our cake and eat it too. We have not enough revolutionaries and too many Marie Antoinettes. This isn’t a condemnation, or at least, I also like cake.
However, where I live we have no cooking gas, no fuel, and prices are going up. Where there was cake are now crumbs. And we’re just the canaries in a literal coal mine. Eventually this pain will be felt across the world. Revolution is supply and demand really. Reduce the supplies of food and fuel enough, and demand for revolution will come.
And so you see the turbulence, the protests, the violence, and the new thinking spreading across the world. There are no revolutionaries yet, but it is a revolutionary moment. Shiva the Destroyer is at work, and in his wake new plants can come. Capitalism is a tenacious weed, but White Empire itself is imploding. We can imagine different outcomes.
Yet while there is opportunity for revolution this century, I think you also remember revolutionary outcomes. We’re talking waves of violence and human destruction. There will be blood.
Last century, when old colonial empires collapsed and fled, it was in a paroxysm of world wars. Tens of millions of people died. This war actually continued for decades, they just called it ‘cold’ because it didn’t affect white people so much.Revolutionary movements in China and the USSR killed millions of people, in famines and in persecutions.
The point here is that for a new world to emerge, the old one has to die. And not in its sleep. The old world, and millions of its inhabitants, usually get killed. Is another way possible? Surely, and I surely hope so, but given the stress of climate collapse chain-reacting through society, I wouldn’t bet on it. The gods I know are angry, and they don’t play dice.
For the change required, we will have to sacrifice. And I don’t mean paper straws, and waiting 30 minutes at a charging station. I mean human sacrifice. The ancients knew this when they sacrificed precious food, bulls, even people. Through ritual they understood the human relationship with fate better than us. You have to give up more than you can bear, and most of the time it doesn’t even work.
Abraham offered up Isaac, just as God gave his only begotten son. The Buddha gave up his family and kingdom, just as Vishnu has given us many avatars. We scoff at the even older idea of ritual sacrifice, but at least they got the concept. Even the fact that it doesn’t work is proof of concept. We are worthless worms, trembling before the sun.
There is no dealing with gods, and the gods are surely angry now. And what do the gods want? The immortals want what they cannot have. They want death. For every great change in history there has been and will be blood. We are at the cusp of planetary change, and what do we think? That straws and petrol engines will be sacrifice enough?
Humans keep bargaining like we can preserve our lifestyles and this is wildly missing the point. We are fighting for our lives here. We’re trying to negotiate parking spots and retirement plans with the wrath of gods, and we wonder why the wrath keeps coming.
If I sound like a cardboard preacher I guess it’s cause those guys were right. The scientific end is coming, and we do need to repent. Please read the latest IPCC report and see if it sounds so different from a cardboard sign:
These scientific priests say “Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”
Any further delay? Shit, look around. Here’s White Empire bragging about pumping even more oil and gas, well in excess of planetary destruction.
Since ‘further delay’ is guaranteed, we’re looking at a dieable future, the only question is how much. Climate collapse literally means the end of the world.That’s what we’re talking about.
So ding ding, ring the bell, call me crazy if you like. To me the crazy thing is acting like cosmetic changes are going to cut it, when need a goddam revolution to even salvage anything. And when even that would involve a lot of dying. If you want some good news to close this, I don’t have it. Sometimes things are just bad, and this is one of those times.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. I mean, look around, you know it, don’t you? Do you feel fine?