Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Mind Reels

Collectively, as in the global civilization, are we losing our minds?

I'm not going to expound on this. No. Today I'll just present a number of articles (with links), the stuff that is becoming all too common these days.

An article in Foreign Policy discusses how Trump may have made Montenegro Vlad Putin's lever to break NATO. Worth a read.

On a much darker note, Victor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, foresees the European Union shifting to Christian illiberal democracy in 2019. From Reuters.

He said the Western political “elite” of the EU had failed to protect the bloc from Muslim immigration and it was time for them to go. “The European elite is visibly nervous,” Orban told hundreds of cheering supporters. 
“Their big goal to transform Europe, to ship it into a post-Christian era, and into an era when nations disappear - this process could be undermined in the European elections. And it is our elementary interest to stop this transformation.” 
“Christian democracy is not liberal...It is illiberal, if you like,” Orban said.
Pakistan's Daily Times reports that the nation's chief justice, Saqib Nisar, contends that there's an "international conspiracy" at work behind Pakistan's critical water shortage. He didn't name the conspirators but he's probably pointing at Pakistan's upstream rivals for increasingly scarce freshwater from the Himalayan headwaters, India and China. What do those three have in common? Oh yeah, right, nuclear weapons.

In Britain, representatives of the nation's farmers will be holding a summit with government officials in Whitehall to discuss the nation's severe and ongoing drought and the threat posed to Britain's food supply. From The Guardian. Hey, you didn't think these global heatwaves and drought weren't going to screw up the food supply, did you? Really, did you?

The Weather Network reports that drought is also hammering large parts of Europe and could contribute to global food shortages. Bummer.

Doesn't sound much better "down under" where Australia's ABC News reports that farmers are looking for drought relief assistance.

And if your personal front yard putting green is looking a bit straw-yellow lately, here's a handy article on how to "re-wild" your lawn. The birds and the bees will thank you even if your neighbours won't.

It's not all dusty dystopia. There are lots of places that are flooded out. Here's a report about inundation in BaltimoreBBC News reports that Northern Ireland turned all soggy after a month's worth of rain fell in just a few hours. Sign of the times, eh?  The Irish Times took a "glass half full" approach noting that, sure there was severe localized flooding in Belfast and elsewhere, but it brought the region's heatwave to an abrupt halt.

Then there's Japan, the poster-boy of climate change. Already reeling from killer flash floods followed immediately by a killer heatwave, Japan has now been hit by what promises to be a killer typhoon.  ChannelnewsAsia reports that the typhoon came ashore in a region already hammered by flooding and mudslides. Fortunately the Japanese people seem to have mastered the art of evacuation.

In Napa, officials are planning to reroute a stretch of highway 47 threatened by sea level rise.  Retreat from the sea, it's all the rage.

That's it. I'm done. I'll skip posting links about wildfires, global water shortages (hey's it's World Water Day), the destabilization of nation states and historical alliances, nuclear proliferation and the arms races spreading across the planet and into outer space, and a veritable host of other calamities.

What I have attempted to do is present a snapshot of what is unfolding across this planet on a daily basis. For us, this is all background noise. We think the premiership of Doug Ford is a crisis. That's the shiny thing that captures our attention.

What is inescapable is that the list of calamities is growing and worsening fairly quickly. Some of these challenges are or have the potential to become existential.  Yet their very number and enormity shows that we don't have the resources, much less the political or popular will, to deal with all of them. We have to decide what we will address and what we will have to postpone or simply ignore.

WTF are we going to do? What really matters most to us and to our kids' future? Or have we already thrown in the towel? That Doug Ford - bastard!


Owen Gray said...

Very disturbing stuff, Mound. It's hard to see a way out of this.

The Mound of Sound said...

That is what leads me to conclude, Owen, that we have to triage these developments. We must sort them out according to threats we must try at all costs to resolve, wholly or at least in part; challenges that we can benefit through either mitigation or adaptation; and lower order but resource demanding problems that we may just have to pass on and take our lumps.

We simply lack the resources, the will (political and public) and the staying power to respond to everything. That dilemma is made far worse by our addiction to "everyday low taxes" and our unwillingness to sacrifice for the greater good. I don't see anyone remotely brave enough to try to reform that paradigm. That means that more items will have to fall off the first and second tiers of this triage into the "maybe later if we have time" third tier.

Jay Farquharson said...

There is no "collectively", and effective change ususally starts at the local level,

Ford's gonna make Ontario an even bigger "part of the problem".

Trailblazer said...

The Irish Times took a "glass half full" approach.
What the heck do expect from the Irish, prohibition!!....LOL

That Doug Ford - bastard!
Doug Ford is what happens when well meaning progressives with no skills whatsoever are in control.
Doug Ford is also a sign of our times when we cannot or will not come to terms with the realities of life around us.

Inconvenient truth comes to mind daily.


Jay Farquharson said...


"A batch of stolen emails was released to the public, with evidence pointing towards Russian hackers. The media ran through the formerly private correspondence with a fine-toothed comb, looking for dirt. Although little if any damning information was found, public trust in the hacking victims was severely eroded. The volume of media coverage created the perception that where there’s smoke, there must be fire, and a general presumption of guilt resulted.

The year was 2009, and the victims were climate scientists working for and communicating with the University of East Anglia. The story was repeated in 2016 with the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee."