Monday, November 28, 2016
The Thing Is, We Don't Know.
We don't know what it means when, for the second consecutive year, the Arctic is experiencing a dark winter heatwave. In the pitch black, what should be the coldest time of the year, Arctic temperatures are 20C/36F above normal.
We don't know what's actually happening, what's triggering this dark winter heatwave. We don't know what it portends.
There are all sorts of warnings that the global economy is about to tip into another 2008-style meltdown only this time world governments won't be able to find money for bailouts. Is this looming? We don't know. If it is, we don't know what it portends.
In The Guardian last week, George Monbiot listed "13 impossible crises that humanity now faces." 13, that's not a good number.
19 is worse. That's the number of "tipping points" that we may have crossed or are about to cross in the Arctic according to researchers behind the Arctic Resilience Report also released last week. 19 tipping points, many of them anchored in positive feedback loops, that we're told could be the precursor to runaway, catastrophic climate change in places many thousands of miles distant from the Arctic. Is this disaster really in the cards? Is it imminent? We don't know.
This morning, a Chris Hedges piece, warned that America is entering a post-democratic era, some form of authoritarian/totalitarian statehood. Is that even possible? We don't know.
I was never a big fan of Buffalo Springfield but their lyrics keep running through my mind. "Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." For What It's Worth, indeed.
Something is happening here. That much I think we all know. It's tangible, palpable. The thing is, we - you and I - don't know. We don't have teams of world class experts at our beck and call to explain what is truly going on and what strategies and options we have for responding. There's no one around to give us the odds.
But we elect people who do have access to those experts and advisors. They know the risks and the options and the odds and there's a lot of information they should be sharing with us right now. 13 impossible crises. 19 tipping points. What else? What does it all mean? We don't know. But the people we elect who should be letting us in on it, they prefer to just keep us in the dark, as dark as winter in the Arctic.