Did you know that February 2016 in Australia was the hottest February’s been since 1859? Or that 2015 was the hottest year since we began recording hot years in 1850? This is how it starts. Thirty degree days deep into Autumn and all the coral is dying.
Did you know that fish can get skin cancer? Or that a sea-level rise of only one metre would force a large chunk of our population to migrate inland? Leonardo DiCaprio should have used the past-tense. And the Murray is going to dry up. And the wheat is going to die. And we will too.
Short-term climate change has always been a fact of life in Australia. Much of the native flora possess adaptations that allow them to flourish and spread in the devastating bushfire season. The koala obtains most of its moisture from eucalyptus leaves, making drought a second- or third-tier concern, and kangaroos hop because it’s an incredibly energy efficient way of getting around.
We are not plants. We are not animals specifically evolved to deal with the things we will soon be dealing with. All those books that J.G Ballard wrote – The Drowned World, The Burning World – are looking less and less like science fiction. Except Crash, which looks more and more like a prescient account of my Friday night. Did you know that the safe time-period for bushfire hazard reduction is shrinking? It’s too hot out. And these are Australian issues. What about the world?
Like a smoker with no baseline for how bad things can get, we continue to fuck the planet with fossil fuels and fast food. The smoker doesn’t see the harsher side-effects of their addiction until way too late in the game; when super-storms and super-droughts and super-cyclones start showing up…well. That’ll be It.
And the population keeps climbing. And Tesla isn’t going to save the world. And the stars are so far away.
Sea level rise is an exponential phenomenon. More water = more ice melt = more water. Faster and faster. Hollywood climate change could occur inside of 80 years; conservative projections estimate oceans will rise between 0.8 -2 metres. Enough to really mess up a lot of coastal cities.
If you think it doesn’t sound like much, try walking around when everything is a foot underwater – not to mention all the diseases that come with flooding.
And we keep making cars. And we keep manufacturing trinkets. You cannot eat an iPhone. Imagine all the things that come with climate change: think about economic collapse, mass migration, food and water scarcity – and wars started because of food and water scarcity.
We are not built for the brave new world.
But you know all these things. And they aren’t really your fault. But they aren’t going to get better, either.