Dear multi-millionaires and billionaires, dear politicians and policy-makers, dear CEOs and shareholders:
Time to wake up. All of this that you hold so dearly–luxury goods and first class seats, designer clothing and “the best of everything,” the food, the wines, top schools and the servants…(most of all THE POWER!)–and the human lives you hold so cheaply…climate catastrophe is going to tear it from your grasp. All of it. There will be no “growth economy,” no capitalism, no more food when there are no pollinators, no colonies on Mars when the corridors of aerospace factories are strewn with bodies.
You might hold out a little longer than the rest of us, in your 4 bdrm./3 bath underground bunkers complete with hot tub and wide screen TV. You’ll be stocked for what, a year? And then what? Your doctors are dead, your servants have fled, and what happened to the power anyway? Too bad you didn’t invest in solar when you had the chance. Maybe that AOC had something after all, with her “Green New Deal.”
You’ve watched so many Hollywood dystopia movies, the kind where a plucky ensemble cast succeeds against all odds (usually the plucky cast is mostly white, with a person or two of color added as an afterthought, and the hottest babe has the best martial arts skills). The bodies strewn across those cinema landscapes have no odor. Yeah, they’re visually gross but someone would have come along to bury them eventually, wouldn’t they? (They’ve all got SAG cards, anyhow.)
In the past, you could watch one of those movies, enjoy the adrenaline, and then walk back out into your perfectly manicured world. No longer. You’re preening in private now. Go ahead, apply one more coat of nail polish. Slip on those vintage Ivanka heels one last time. Straighten that tie. Fondle the golf clubs. Break open a final bottle of champagne and toast the good life you had at the expense of so many others. The dinosaurs are calling. It’s time to let go.
What? You don’t want to?
Meanwhile, the rest of us–we’re either dying a slow death from the heat or starving or eating each other. We’ve got pre-ice age microbes stalking the earth once more, smaller than Godzilla but a lot more deadly. Our cats, our dogs…our children…are begging us for water but the water is filled with plastic microbeads, fragrance chemicals, agricultural run-off, Lemon Fresh Joy, and thousands of other petro-chemicals. Cyanobacteria bloom and fish are floating to the surface. Dead bees are everywhere. Even the roaches and the rats curse our memory.
The few humans who manage to survive will be the ones with excellent communication skills, a lifetime of working together in a community, and the fundamental knowledge of our ancestors: how to make fire, how to fish, how to hunt, how to grow, how to listen to plants, how to create twine and fabrics, how to manage a fever, how to work metal and chop wood, how to midwife. The good news: a lot of people still have this fundamental knowledge, but most of them are not living in the so-called developed world.
You folks in your bunkers, you folks barricaded in penthouse suites watching the carnage below, you had your chance. You could have acted in your own self-interest, preserved a semblance of the world and wealth that you hold so dear, and used just a fraction of your power and money to help pull the entire planet back from the brink of climate catastrophe. You could have influenced the policy-makers, greased their palms (as you have so many times before), and venture-capitaled some of those high tech gizmos you thought might save us.
It’s come to this. Your children, your grandchildren, are urging you to wake up and do something before it’s too late. And will you listen? We’ll know soon enough. In the meantime, the rest of us are organizing for Climate Justice and are learning to cooperate humbly with what’s left of the rest of creation.
And we’ll learn how to rub two sticks together. Just in case.
Drawdown – Solutions
Dockrill, Peter. We’re headed for ‘climate apartheid,’ in which the poor will suffer while the rich save themselves, warns a chilling UN report, BusinessInsider, June 26, 2019.