[Climate Change] will happen day by day, month by month, year by year. There will certainly be “events,” like the events we’ve seen in the past decade—heat waves, massively destructive hurricanes, the slowdown in vital Atlantic Ocean currents, and political events connected to climate change, such as the Syrian civil war, the Mediterranean refugee crisis, France’s gilets jaunesriots, and so on—but barring nuclear war, we are unlikely to see any one global “Event” that will mark the transition we’re waiting for, make climate change “real,” and force us to change our ways.
The next 30 years are likely, instead, to resemble the slow disaster of the present: we will get used to each new shock, each new brutality, each “new normal,” until one day we look up from our screens to find ourselves in a new dark age—unless, of course, we’re already there.
This was not the apocalypse I grew up with. It’s not an apocalypse you can prep for, hack your way out of, or hide from. It’s not an apocalypse with a beginning and an end, after which survivors can rebuild. Indeed, it’s not an “Event” at all, but a new world, a new geological era in Earth’s history, in which this planet will not necessarily be hospitable to the bipedal primate we call Homo sapiens. The planet is approaching, or already crossing, several key thresholds, beyond which the conditions that have fostered human life for the past 10,000 years no longer hold.
This is not our future, but our present: a time of transformation and strife beyond which it is difficult to see a clear path.
“We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril.”