I guess people have written longer, more detailed articles about the topic of this post already (I should link some here, maybe later, you can easily find them though). But seriously, if all this turmoil and shit is a result of a single pandemic, what are we gonna do when climate change disasters actually hit?
Let me clarify that I’m not even downplaying the COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic here – it is a disaster in its own right on many levels. No need to go into more depth about this, it’s self-evident. Yet, this disaster is dwarfed in comparison to climate change and its anticipated disasters! Here’s why:
- A pandemic is caused by an identifiable, measurable and detectable agent (pathogen, virus in this case) we know where it came from, and how it behaves.
- The solutions are known and clear to contain it – no one said ‘easy’ but we (supposedly) know what to do. At least the WHO (an authority figure) has been giving clear instructions, whether people (/governments) follow it or not is another discussion.
- The solutions are plausible and within reach (vaccine or herd immunity…etc). Yes, we need time and resources… but we know where we’re heading, we know what we need.
- Said solutions are supposed to solve the actual problem in real life.
- Once solved, we expect life to resume again. Of course we won’t “return to normal” as if nothing happened, but we should start healing, collectively and individually.
Now, let’s compare to climate change based on these points only (disclaimer: these aren’t meant to be an exhaustive list, I’m just saying!)
- Climate change is caused by a network of things, there is no singular cause. Now it’s past the point of attributing it to “greenhouse gas emissions” only. I personally like to view it as a result of the Gods and doctrines of our age, i.e. our beliefs, e.g. our lifestyle. It can go as deep as you want it to. But yes really if we had chosen to live a primitive life so as to preserve nature, none of it would’ve happened. (Not saying we should, just saying that it’s deep and complicated, surely I love the luxuries I have thanks to capitalism).
- No one has a clue how to solve climate change! Of course, there are practical steps one can do, but then we only HOPE that it makes a difference. Besides, you got deniers and flat-earthers …. There is no authority that people trust and listen to which can guide us. We’re all lost!
- When climate change disasters hit, it won’t be a global warming that we can simply fix by turning an air conditioner on. It will be hurricanes, mass migrations, water/food shortages, drowning cities…etc. They will be spread out in time and location – chaos. Sure, science can propose 1001 ideas to solve each one of the disasters that will happen due to climate change, but then what? Science creates knowledge, only. Solutions requires wisdom. The two are related but different. Apparently, the world is being led by better clowns day after day. Remember the Paris Climate circus?
- Coping with the effects of climate change is different from solving the root cause of climate change. We cannot solve the root cause with science or diplomacy or whatever. We still have no idea how to solve it (we do have many ideas, none of them are that popular or practical).
- Once you deal with one climate-related problem somewhere, something else will hit, maybe in another place, but I suppose COVID-19 pandemic showed us very clearly how connected we are. Climate change is even more global than this pandemic. Only humans (and bats and perhaps cats) can suffer from COVID-19. The climate change adventures will hit everything and everyone.
Do I sound pessimistic? Is this fear-mongering? Maybe. But I was just stating facts. Was I exaggerating? If so, show it to me.
Ok, is there hope? YES, ironically, coronavirus is showing it to us. Its showing us everything that’s wrong with us and our global system. Now it’s our responsibility to truly listen and start fixing things. Is humanity wise enough to do this? It surely wasn’t before this pandemic, I strongly hope this will be our wakeup slap!