You probably have a sense of a quickening of climate change. Severe weather events are becoming more severe, more frequent, more intense, longer-lasting.
The UN reports that the world is now averaging one climate disaster per week.
Catastrophes such as cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India make headlines around the world. But large numbers of “lower impact events” that are causing death, displacement and suffering are occurring much faster than predicted, said Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction. “This is not about the future, this is about today.”
This means that adapting to the climate crisis could no longer be seen as a long-term problem, but one that needed investment now, she said. “People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.”
...Until now, most of the focus of work on the climate crisis has been on “mitigation” – jargon for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and not to be confused with mitigating the effects of the climate crisis. The question of adapting to its effects has taken a distant second place, in part because activists and scientists were concerned for years that people would gain a false complacency that we need not cut emissions as we could adapt to the effects instead, and also because while cutting emissions could be clearly measured, the question of adapting or increasing resilience was harder to pin down.
Mizutori said the time for such arguments had ran out. “We talk about a climate emergency and a climate crisis, but if we cannot confront this [issue of adapting to the effects] we will not survive,” she told the Guardian. “We need to look at the risks of not investing in resilience.”
Many of the lower-impact disasters would be preventable if people had early warnings of severe weather, better infrastructure such as flood defences or access to water in case of drought, and governments had more awareness of which areas were most vulnerable.
While CBC Radio is still deciding if they should be calling climate change a Climate Crises. "Treat climate change like the crisis it is, says journalism professor" There have been growing calls from climate scientists and environmental activists for the media to cover the climate crisis with the severity and urgency they say it demands.
Some news organizations have begun to make changes. The British newspaper The Guardian recently updated its policies to replace the term "climate change" with "climate emergency, crisis or breakdown." It also now favours "global heating" over "global warming."
In announcing the change, The Guardian's editor-in-chief Katharine Viner said that at a time when scientists are talking about a catastrophe for humanity, there is no place for passive terminology.Go Figure.
As a subscriber I'm aware of and fully agree with The Guardian's climate reporting policies. That's not to say I don't find the terminology jarring. I do. I still do. Yet I wonder how a detached public, borderline indifferent, reacts.
My suspicion is that the detached public does not read, listen to or watch mainstream news media. They are simply not interested.
Increasingly, the public does not read. That's where the real analysis is found -- in print. And it's going unnoticed.
In my conversations with friends and acquaintances I find fewer of them reading magazines or newspapers today. What I find even more jarring is how reliant they've become on television.
Having worked in TV news I now rarely watch the tube. When I do it's for video of a story I've already read about.
I do, however, still access radio news. It's such a superior medium for journalism. If you can write reasonably well and have the sort of delivery that is effortless to the listener you can really connect with the audience.
TV news is pictures but that's all. Go to it when you want to see pictures but not when you need information and editorial content. For that, there's no substitute for reading.
I see a future of retreat from emergencies, and then once the emergency is over, a return to the new edge, and a lower standard of living. Downward spiral. The encroachment of nature on civilization until a point where people are dying from destitution, illness, and starvation.
There are points in civilization that can be utilized as indicators as to what'll happen, but it involves a shift in thinking.
The settling of the Americas by Europeans, for instance. Thinking of it from the Native Americans point of view, this was near-extinction continual event that only got worse every year, decade, century that it continued. The culture was so heavily impacted that what remained was only a shadow of what it once was.
Before the white man ever reached the North-West, his diseases did. The peoples leftover that explorers such as Thompson and Mackenzie "discovered" were already by then mere shadows of what once was. 60% of their total populations decimated in a heartbeat. The 60% of the remaining soon thereafter. And then once again. Three mere waves. Entire villages disappeared. Populations were decimated.
Except now, it's going to happen to everyone, and there's no dominant culture going to race in and take up the space vacated. And there'll be no end in sight until some sort of new balance is reached. I imagine entire towns, cities, and metropolises pushed, carried away into extinction. Great cities buried under waves and forest alike. There'll be a great push for lands that are tolerable to live for longer than a year, but until a new balance is reached, that's not likely to happen.
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