What I’ve come to gained is a very fundamental lens of the world rather than a myopic view of my previous worldview.
We’re all unknowingly conditioned, programmed and trained to a certain degree of how to view the world by our educational system and communities we associated with. It’s how we learn and communicate with each others.
Most of the time, the only concern is thinking in opposites of “right/wrong” or “black/white”. It makes the world small and narrow like a horse wearing a blinker. Focus can be good when use correctly but not in every instances.
Being “too focus” makes a person become narrow-minded/laser focused, it can be good if the goal is to problem solve which most of us is raised to see it as virtue to emulate. However, this constant seeking to achieve a target/goal/KPI/dream can quickly pigeonhole us.
Once become a learned behavior, the process can quickly clouds our mind as it shields all (silo it) surrounding relationships and makes everything into its own individual singular event rather than an endlessly connected flow of events in a bigger process.
Thus, losing an increasing portion of the world from view. Truth is, everything in reality is a big interconnected web of relationships. Think of the metaphor used in Buddhism, the Indra’s Net. The Internet is inspired by this concept from routing packets to how Google indexes websites.
Nothing in nature is a standalone object as each depends on the other to exist. We, human (Homo Sapiens), are no exception to that rule and depends on the planet biodiversity and ecology survive.
In the modern day, it’s known as “Seeing the big picture” or “Systemic thinking” is to be able to see complex relationships in their own system and how they interact with each others which could produce different effects. I just started to see things on this scale.
Thankfully, I’m slowly able to remove the excess wool from my eyes to see the world clearly in a more balanced view rather than a very skewed one.
How Do I Reach Here?
Alan Watts gave me a good roadmap and worldview of the old which allows me to view things in his perspective rather than the current worldview I’m operating off a 21st century industrialized perspective living in a hyper-capitalistic society.
Then comes along Jiddu Krishnamurti that gives me 2 powerful tools once you understand what he is trying to teach people.
- Question without judgement, if you do then you will stop at that place forever without finding things out and keep on going in circles because you already put a barrier or multiple up.
- Find out the truth of the matter, go into its logical and rational end with your current knowledge to understand where things stand and what is the hidden inconvenient truth we happily ignore because it is painful to acknowledge it or has any power to alter it.
Apply the 2 principle multiple times in different topic, subject, and problem then things will soon start to come into a less opaque view. It’s like a zoom lens has finished focusing then a better and clearer view comes into focus.
Armed with with this, I jumped into the abyss of the proverbial rabbit hole on climate change.
The Climates Is A Bit Wonky, Isn’t It?
Initially, I noticed climate change on a very surface level like the general population does. It goes like this “Yea, human are contributing to our worsening climate and weather. Things might get bad but probably won’t be in my lifetime” and didn’t go further than that statement.
Imagine my surprise about how wrong I was when I started researching on this subject. These are scientific papers done by real scientists that dedicated their life on researching these stuffs for decades and not some conspiracy website spouting bullshits.
I’m talking about reports from these organizations:
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
- IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
- WMO (World Meteorological Organization)
- UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
- CAT (Climate Action Tracker)
Along with associated books, news write up and peer reviewed papers on climate change.
They have been screaming at the top of their lungs for decades and are becoming louder in the recent years as the planet degradation takes a worse turn. More extreme climates events are being reported like the flood Pakistan recently damaged 1/3 of the country or billions of snow crab die off recently in Alaska.
Recently report shows the usual greenhouse gases like Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide are all time high. We are quickly reaching a point of no return in a new UN report released a few days ago as the target of 1.5°C is just a pipe dream. It’s 1.2°C right now.
We are probably going for 2.5°C by 2030 if we keep up with the current economic growth trend. The phenomenon of Global Dimming is not helping as well. It basically say if we don’t pollute we die and if we do pollute we are hastening our species demise.
Soon we will be death by hockey sticks if all the signs we measures keeps showing an upward trend. We’re living through 6th mass extinction according to scientists and the rapid loss of biodiversity is appalling.
Climate Emergency and Global Heating Is Here To Stay
Back in April of 2022, I started this journey to find out the truth of the matter because I’m seeing an increasing frequency of wild fires due to drought in area I don’t think would be a problem like US, Europe, Pacific Asia and Australia.
We’re just at 1.2°C right now and the repercussions is becoming very visible on daily news.
Rainfall becoming intense that is causing flash floods. I mean, how can we keep hearing once in “500 year”, “1000 years” or “once in a life time” event so often and not be taken aback? Typhoon are becoming more powerful as the ocean become warmer due to global average temperature rises.
The poles of Arctic and Antarctic are warming up 4 times faster than the rest of the world over the past 43 years.
Heatwaves that has the potential to kick start the web bulb effect (so hot until the body cannot sweat to cool off and organs start to shut off like an overheated CPU in our computer) in to kill millions. Yes, it is a hyperbole for now but it will become a reality quite soon in the coming years to come.
Just this year alone there are so many reported fire, drought, strong rainfall, flash flood, heatwaves, and strong typhoon. Just do a google search or you’ve already live through them yourself.
What we are currently experiencing is the preamble with just 1.2 °C rise since the industrial revolution of roughly 260 years ago. Things are looking very bleak when you comes to understand the contexts and the big picture view.
In gaming lingo, we are currently speed-running this at any% and has started triggering 6 of the points in 16 tipping points climate scientist has discovered so far. Did I mentioned about micro-plastics and forever chemicals yet?
Humanity does not have any clever technology to clean up our mess yet and those that can does not scale yet. We may not have enough time nor material resources to save everyone.
Look! My guy/gal, we can bend what our mind can conceived (ideas, concepts, ideals, fantasies, opinions, rules, etc) but we’re not able to bend the Laws of Physics (yet). This is not science fiction fantasy but cold hard reality.
There’s no way to reverse nor stop this unstoppable train heading into oblivion but we could try to mitigate the crash (I hope 😬). Maybe a soft landing? 🤞🏼 A guy can hope 🤣
We’ve finally reach the title of this post and I will simply layout what I’ve come to understood.
It’s probably won’t be what Hollywood movie has shown us with brain eating zombies, meteor hitting earth, nuclear war then a dark winter, solar flare wiping out most modern infrastructure or pandemic wiping off 80% of human population.
Although these event has a very slim probability but they are extremely rare in any case. It should be treated as a hyperbole or an extreme form of exaggeration from Hollywood for an entertaining movie night out.
You could put it up in your Bingo card to see if you have the chance of circling it in your lifetime. Let’s hope not! 😂
It’s more probable to think it is a gradual simplification of everyday processes and lifestyle as things becoming harder and harder to get for living a modern and comfortable life. It’s a down hill slope and whether that incline is steep or gradual depends on how society as a whole move forward right now.
Joseph Tainter define as below.
Rapid, significant loss of an established level of sociopolitical complexity.Joseph Tainter, Collapse of Complex Societies
Jared Diamond defines it in a similar fashion.
A drastic decrease in human population size and/or political/economic/social complexity, over a considerable area, for an extended time.Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Nate Hagens says the same thing as well.
Seeing our future through a systems lens changes everything. We have spent the last century harnessing enormous amounts of fossil energy to build a world of complexity like nothing seen before. In the coming century humanity will experience a Great Simplification. There will always be energy on Earth as long as the sun burns. But the amount of surplus energy available to human societies will soon be diminishing. As the extraction of geologically stored energy becomes more difficult, everything we’re used to in society will become more costly or less available.Nate Hagens, The Great Simplification
I also like to note that collapse is a natural process as we just need to look into our collective past 5000 years of recorded history to get a glimpse. The amount of civilization formed then collapsed until today are a plenty.
They are also in a smaller scale (hundred thousands to multiple millions) rather what we have now as we live in a global village (reaching 8 billions soon) now. Imagine the multiplier effects if something goes wrong at on one end.
There are also good podcasts you can listen into to get a better understanding for yourself.
How Would It Looks Like?
This is just fun speculation for my own imagination. Don’t take this as gospel (the word originally means good news, there’s no good news here). Try to understand the above quoted statement and understand what it means if you were to live through a crumbling society.
It does takes some imagination to fully understand what Joseph Tainter, Jared Diamond and Nate Hagens means in their words. One of the reason why I recommend to listen to Fall of Civilization podcast.
My best guess is current 21st century modern civilization would looks like 19th to early 20th century but with an increasing hotter world due to global heating. Population will decline in drastic number and everyday items will be hard to come by.
People (Climate refugees) will be fleeing to either north or south away from the tropics (I live in the tropics just above the equator line) to seek milder climate to live. I’m not rich enough to move.
I believe we’re now on the slow decline. It could goes 2 way, a gradual slope decline or slow slope then all of a sudden. No one really knows how long or when. So, stop your worrying and start living your life! Make every moment count immediately!
We won’t know for sure how things would go in exact terms but it’s safe to assume things will continue to simplify by the end of this century.
Looking From Philosophical View
Death, ending or suffering is nothing new when I look at it from a philosophical and religious lens. The Buddha’s talks about sufferings, desires, and death. The Stoics in dealing with obstacles, suffering, loss (include death) and to live immediately.
Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today.
You are arranging what lies in fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining?
The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.Seneca
Zen teaches us to realized that what we have is right now. Albert Camus talk about how absurd existence is and tell us to live as free as possible before it’s too late.
We even have idiom like:
- What’s goes up must come down.
- A person will grow old and die.
In all seriousness, no one likes to hear, be reminded, or know that everything and everyone will meet their end… eventually. No one want that memo nor acknowledge it. Also, no one want to have less or volunteer to lower their own living standard unless being forced into the circumstances.
Me included. Are you willing?
The Contributing Factors
Like a tree branches off to form other branches or trunks. I’m slowly able to see how every other systems starts to work together in a huge tangled web and no system is independent of its own. Every part of the system is very interdependent and if one start to fail it will affects others.
The list becomes so big and unruly that I need to properly format them and branch them off to another post to keep brevity of the content here even though they written as summary. I got too much to write.
List of factors [Link soon to another post]
- Overshoot & Limits to Growth
- Climate Change
- Peak Oil
- Renewable Energy
- Complex Society
- Economic Model
- Debts and Finances
- Biodiversity Loss
- Social Problem
It’s Always About Energy: Fossil Fuels
Mainly everything comes back to Fossil Fuels (finite) which consist of Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Coal. Burning them release CO2. We need to continue to extract and process them to ensure the current economical model of growth can function else the house of cards comes crumbling down.
You’ll be surprised to learn how creative we have been by using fossil fuels as it is literally in EVERYTHING from what we use, consume, wear, housing, drive, and to survive. Having less or not enough of it ripple effects can be felt through all industries.
Based on 2019 figures, the world uses petroleum product of around 100 million barrel per day (b/d). That’s per day unit and not year. The United States alone used 20 million b/d and 67% of those are used in transportation from private vehicle to public transport.
Take a look at Europe energy crises right now in 2022. Putin cut offed much need oil and gas supplies for Europe to function properly, to manufacture, to transport, and to heat their home. Getting fresh supplies from other vendors become much costlier.
Since it is the foundation of all things. If it increases in prices, then everything goes along as well from foods, housing, electricity, electronics, clothing, all those creature comforts we love.
We’ve A Predicament, Lady and Gentlemen
Nope, we don’t have a problem as that word imply there is a solution while a predicament has no good solutions. Fixing one area could drastically affect another area because everything is interconnected. It’s more like the old programmer meme of solving one bug then 50 more bugs pops out.
Let’s take electric vehicle for example.
If everyone is to convert over from their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to Electric Vehicle (EV). The result is a massive earth extraction operation to get all the finite base resources needed (We don’t have enough).
We will need heaps of rare earths (very toxic to mine) and then other ores (very destructive to mine) like lithium ores, iron ores, aluminum ores, copper ores, and the list goes on.
Processing them into usable base material takes massive amount of energy (coal powered) to clean, melt and mold. Factor in the transportation from moving them in trucks, ships, flights and finally to end consumer.
In that one example alone, massive carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere which will make climate change even worst. What about pollution in the water and air we need? The processed waste need to go somewhere.
Our smartphone battery gets weaker over time and that happens in EV as well so replacement is guaranteed and recycling is not easy nor cheap. Going all EV is not possible for the whole population but I do appreciate people tries to move us toward that direction.
At least we are doing something but I think people should understand the associated ecological cost should be priced in for the consideration.
How Long Does The Game Last?
It’s very hard to say to be exact as future is unpredictable. Who can say they’ll be alive in the next moment? No one can tell us that and we will know soon enough.
100 years ago we do not have what we have right now. To name a few things like electric cars, smartphone, Internet, GPS, electricity at command, climate control in every room, every creature comfort available at our fingertips (Online retailers: Amazon, Lazada, Shopee, Alibaba).
I don’t think we can use technology to outrun climate change like Carbon Capture technologies which you need a fuck ton of them to be effective. Just think about the resources needed to mine, process, ship, assemble and maintaining it.
I think we’re already living in the collapse. The “Faster Than Expect™” is quickly becoming a Meme because the frequency is happening faster at this moment. This decade is going to be tumultuous to say the least and I’ll be seeing it happen in my lifetime and I’m just in my early 30’s.
All These Sound Depressing
I may sound a bit alarmist and promoting doomerism. Facts don’t lie and we can’t bend reality. The question should be “Are we willing to see it for what it is?”. People reaching this juncture can either stuck their head in the sand to double down or accept.
Yea, it is not all good news. It’s best people start to see this early so maybe the human species has a chance to steer the course away to a less destructive point. Hopefully, it’s a society that respect nature and does not rapes it for benefits.
Physically, I’m already a vegetarian since birth and using less whenever possible. Mentally, I got my 2 best friend named “Memento Mori” and “Amor Fati” 😂. I’m living more in the moment than before and practicing to “letting go/don’t cling” from Buddhism.
To be expanded soon or be branched into another post.
- The Biggest Myth About Climate Change
- Climate change is already irreversible
- What the Hockey Stick missed about climate change
- Climate and Ecological Crisis: Heading for Extinction
- Arctic disintegration is worse than we thought.
- Why have climate change predictions been so WRONG?
- Arctic Methane. Has 2020 triggered a tipping point?
- Hidden Menace: Massive methane leaks speed up climate change
- IPCC Report 2022 Summary In 6 Minutes | Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability
- Climate Change and the Collapse of Civilisation. Decade by Decade until 2070.
- United in Science 2022
- United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction
- The Biggest Myth About Climate Change
- The scariest climate science paper I’ve ever read?
- The Blind Spots of the Green Energy Transition | Olivia Lazard | TED
- Honest Government Ad | Net Zero (feat. Greta Thunberg)
- Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points
- Experts say the net zero concept is often used to delay taking action against emissions
- The Origin of Mass Extinction
- To Prevent Catastrophic Damage by 2100, Climate Experts Warn ‘It’s Now or Never’
- Comparing climate impacts at 1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C
- Facts about the climate emergency
- Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet
- Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide by Bill McGuire
- Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change by William R. Catton Jr.
- The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers
- Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil
- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond