Each report is more dire than the last — and I don't mean Election Day predictions.
No, I'm talking about the global climate, and the newest United Nations report that warns of “irreversible and dangerous impacts,” and an “increased likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
As in the delicate, interwoven web of life is seriously fraying, folks. And nobody can claim we haven't been duly warned.
It's the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken, the work of some 800 scientists, and it leaves no doubt that the climate is indeed changing, with serious ramifications for agriculture, fresh water, islands and coastal communities, public health and the poorest among us.
Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I.
Yet despite the increasingly bleak findings, and the exhortation that steps can be taken to limit the effects, but they must be taken now, governments, industry and consumers across the globe are poised for business as usual: keep burning fossil fuels, and consume like there ain't no tomorrow.
Because maybe there isn't. Or at least, not a tomorrow that looks anything like today, with its astounding biological diversity and cheap, abundant food.
To quote from James Martin's book, “The Meaning of the 21st Century:”
There are huge vested interests with massive financial reasons for not changing course... There is widespread ignorance... The desire for short-term benefits overwhelms the desire to solve long-term problems.
That sure fits a lot of what ails us, especially the widespread ignorance part, which is ironic, considering people have more access than ever to information. But it seems that belief systems continually trump facts and evidence, which is why so many people will make stupid choices at the polls today.
Like supporting the insane anti-farming initiative on Maui, for one. And duplicitous politicians, for another.
It's kind of sad, seeing all the tattered campaign signs that are destined for the dump; all the money burned on ads; all the candidates waving alongside the road, and knowing that a lot of them will be going down in flames tonight — some justly, others not.
Each election brings a new record for campaign spending, with the wealthy on the left and right trying hard to influence the outcome. But less and less truth is told, more and more ignorance is intentionally perpetrated.
Is it any surprise, really, that we're in paralyzed denial about a huge issue like climate change, the precarious predicament of our species, when we can't — won't — even fix the failings of our political system?