When dead eagles fall from the sky

Catastrophic climate change is already here.  It’s just not evenly distributed yet.  A blogger named Umair Haque writes: 

My friends in the Indian Subcontinent tell me stories, these days, that seem like science fiction. The heatwave there is pushing the boundaries of survivability. My other sister says that in the old, beautiful city of artists and poets, eagles are falling dead from the sky. They are just dropping dead and landing on houses, monuments, shops. They can’t fly anymore.

First aid to sick eagle

The streets, she says, are lined with dead things. Dogs. Cats. Cows. Animals of all kinds are just there, dead. They’ve perished in the killing heat. They can’t survive.

People, too, try to flee. They run indoors, spend all day in canals and rivers and lakes, and those who can’t, too, line the streets, passed out, pushed to the edge. They’re poor countries. We won’t know how many this heatwave has killed for some time to come. Many won’t even be counted.

Think about all that for a moment. Really stop and think about it. Stop the automatic motions of everyday life you go through and think about it.

He goes on to say that people in the USA and other rich countries are only kidding ourselves if we think it can’t happen to us.

My Western friends don’t think these days. This fantasy of turning up the air conditioning and sitting in your apartment or house? They ignore the now obvious signs. Birds falling from the sky, Dead things lining the streets. What are you going to do, sit in your air conditioned home while everything else goes extinct?

It doesn’t work like that. Those things, those beings — birds, cows, sheep, chickens, whatever — they provide us with the basics, too. They perish, we perish. Insects nourish our soil, birds eat insects, and on and on. My Western friends don’t understand that we are part of systems. Ecosystems, in this case. And as their foundations are ripped out, we can scarcely survive. The idea that you can sit in your air conditioned home in comfort while everything else goes extinct is a fantasy, a delusion. What will you eat? Who will turn the soil? Who’ll keep the crops healthy? Where will the basics of life come from?

Our civilization collapses somewhere between fifty and sixty degrees Celsius [120 to 138 degrees Fahrenheit]. Bang, poof, gone. Nothing works after that point. Everything begins to die — not just animals and us in the case, but our systems which depend on them. Economics crater, inflation skyrockets, people grow poorer, fascism erupts as a consequence. You can already see that beginning to happen around the globe — but it’s just the beginning. Imagine how much worse inflation’s going to get when Extinction really begins to bite.

We can see climate-related catastrophe all around us—record heat waves, forest fires, droughts, devastating storms.     If things go on as they are, we face the possibility of the collapse of industrial civilization, or worse.

I hate to write about this topic because I have no realistic solution.  We in the USA can’t continue using fossil fuels as we do without disaster.  At the same time, we don’t know how to do without them.  The sanctions war with Russia shows how vulnerable we all are to a scarcity of oil and gas.

The world’s efforts to deal with climate change consist of setting long-range targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and usually failing to meet these targets.

We the people have to face the possibility that our society may have collapsed before these target dates arrive.  Many climate scientists, as one writer put it, see “collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable, extinction as possible”

Not only do I lack a realistic plan for averting societal collapse, I lack a realistic personal plan for survival when society does collapse.  

If I had my life to live over, I’d spend less time with my nose in a book and more learning the homesteading skills my parents would have been glad to teach me if I had been interesting in learning.

It’s easier to put these things out of my mind and go on living my pleasant life, enjoying my books and friends, while I can.

LINKS

Dehydrated birds falling from sky in India amid record heatwave by Al Jazeera.

The Age of Extinction Is Here — Some of Us Just Don’t Know It Yet by Umair Haque for Eudaimonia and Co

Deep Adaptation: A Road Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy by Jem Bendell for the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria.

Climate Change and Adaptation by Thomas Neuberger on God’s Spies..

How hot is too hot for the human body?  Our lab found heat + humidity gets dangerous faster than many people realize by M. Larry Kenney, Daniel Vecellio, Rachel Cottle and S. Tony Wolf for The Conversation.

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3 Responses to “When dead eagles fall from the sky”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    The funny thing about the Ukraine war is that it hasn’t reduced global supply by all that much. A lot of that Russian oil is going to India and China at a big discount which means they are buying less from the Persian gulf. The only oil that has been “lost” to the market is that which was formerly shipped from the Black Sea and doesn’t have an alternate pipeline.

    If they manage to create a shipping insurance ban on Russian shipping, Russia would have to self insure or the purchaser would have to insure. I see it as major inconvenience, but not a show stopper.

    The increase in price of oil is mostly speculation and profiteering on the part of OPEC+ states. Some of it is also due to the rebound from COVID as oil producers did not increase output relative to demand.

    Russia only accounts for about 8% of the world’s oil exports. It should be easy to compensate for the small part of that which can’t get to market. But would the other major oil producers really want to do so with prices so sky high? It is also a way to keep Russia in the game as an alternative global power. I think a lot of the world doesn’t want them gone. They are a useful card to play when negotiating with the US or the EU… maybe even China.

    Looking at the bright side, high prices should reduce global carbon emissions. Germany was stupid to abandon nuclear power.

    LNG prices are also sky-high yet no LNG pipeline has been shut down. Not even the one going though Ukraine. No reduction in supply at all. All speculation on what might happen in the future. Factoring the risk of something happening that has not yet happened and may not. Plus, if you say there’s a shortage for long enough then people will start to believe you and they’ll create the shortage for you.

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  2. philebersole Says:

    The argument in my post is that it will be very difficult and maybe impossible to cut back greenhouse gas emissions enough to halt or reverse catastrophic climate change.

    That is because our industrial civilization, which makes possible the material standard of living of people like Fred and me, requires the burning of fossil fuels.

    If the NATO nations can’t even reduce fossil fuel consumption sufficiently to carry on their sanctions war against Russia, we most certainly can’t do enough to affect global warming and climate change.

    Is the problem overblown? In the face of shortages, both the USA and major European nations have pretty much abandoned plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The price of gasoline at the pump where I live is nearly $5 a gallon. President Biden is begging oil-producing nations to increase their output in order to bring down prices.

    Things are even worse in Europe, which faces a heating fuel crisis next winter.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/europes-climate-and-energy-strategy-has-become-disturbingly-bipolar/

    https://www.dw.com/en/fearing-russian-gas-cutoff-germans-prepare-for-cold-winter/a-62412646

    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/20/europe-to-ask-countries-to-reduce-energy-usage-as-putin-tightens-grip-on-gas.html

    For the purposes of his post, I’m not going to get into who bears ultimate responsibility for the current energy supply problem (except to note that Germans could save themselves a lot of grief by agreeing to turn on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline),

    The point I’m trying to make in this post is how hard it is to cut back on oil, gas and other fossil fuels.

    Like

  3. Vipin C Nambiar Says:

    One thing we learned with Covid is working from home, which essentially meaning less travels. And that results in less emissions. Let us promote this culture of working from home and less commute for a healthy nature around us.

    Like

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