Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Musings: What Ails Us

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?


Anonymous said...

8-10 million $ spent by GMO companies in this election. Wow!! I bet the employees would have appreciated that money going to them. Keep the jobs, change the method of "farming" so that it does not incite and inflame the public. More jobs in healthy farming that do not cause so many problems in the community, less jobs following plantation mentality that bow down to foreign corporate control. Local control of food production. Power to the people!

Anonymous said...

Jingoism at its finest! You forgot malama the aina and it's all good!

$8 million is a small price to pay to protect an industry that generates revenues of $85 million a year for Maui County.

If you want local control of food production, get your ass off the computer and out into a field! Oh, but that's too hard. Easier to whine and complain.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the employees and I am PROUD that our companies stood by our families. After all...these companies do everything they can to support the communities they are part of...year round. They are dedicated to sustaining the islands...and I wouldn't expect anything less of our leaders.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Blame the problems on the public. These companies have wonderful track records around the world. They never go to court. They never cause harm to people or the environment. The public is stupid and does not know what is good for them. We should all pay more attention the corporations. They definitely are the leaders in the world when it comes to malama 'aina. And we all know that they value malama 'aina over profit. Forget about traditional Hawaiian values and culture, what do they know. Obsolete. Foreign corporations are to be trusted. We do not need to research issues in depth, just trust the corporations to enlighten us. And they obviously have the money to do it. Look to these companies for examples of how to malama the soil, the reefs, the air, the water, and ALL of their neighbors. They bring happiness to all wherever they go.

Anonymous said...

12:55. You must be psychic. How do you know the professions of anonymous commenters? Please teach us your secret?

Anonymous said...

No worry Joan, climate change is just a cover story for something else. Sure we humans have added lots of pollution, but that is not the reason for all the changes. Can you explain why there is also warming on the other planets? Can you explain why the recent uptick in seismic and volcanic activity? No worry, the USA is now the Saudi Arabia of fracking and Canada has lots of tar sands. So there is no reason that we should not be pushing full speed ahead with industrial Ag, big Ag. Big Ag is big because it is profitable. It profitable because it saves labor with machinery and chemicals. It takes 10 calories of oil to produce 1 calorie of food, but look at all the profit. No county can equal ours in Ag production because we are the most industrial and GMOs are the cutting edge of our advantage. Everyone should realize that labeling could hurt the bottom line and not worry about food safety. There have been lots of 90 day testing that shows GMOs just as safe as ordinary food. Let's get out and vote for Mel and Ross, men who know who butters their bread.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, the doom and gloomers of Climate Change are pure ethnocentric Chicken Littles.
Why in the millions of years of cataclysmic upheavals, as the Earth journeys thru time, do we think that in our smidgeon of time that all things will end.
Sh*t happens. Dinosaurs and amoebas, time goes on.
Perhaps, the end of earthers are searching for values and meanings in their temporal lives.
Even after every person has a bowl of rice and an Iphone, we humans will always press forward. We will want more, we will be corralled by fads, beliefs and Government powers.
Adapting to changes and trying to exact some peace in our lives, that is the human's lot.
The Apocalypse is near if you think it is near.
But, time and the universe have no master.
Climate Change, a fluttering in the wind or a new religion? Footsteps and castles, all in the sand. The unknown looms. A void.
But still as has been said, a life without music would be a mistake.

Anonymous said...

3:54, You have a nice way with words. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Did I just see that Jay is 7 Johnny 8 mason 10 gary 12 and Tim 13?10