A "State of the World" Lament

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A "State of the World" Lament

Unread post by Rick »

Back in art class, circa 9th grade, we were given an assignment to draw/color/whatever what we thought the world would be like in 100 years.

I drew a world with poisoned oceans -- purple was the color I chose to represent that. Gone were the days of verdant lands and deep blue oceans; humanity made sure of that. My depiction was inspired by how the world looked in a brief depiction within "Star Trek: First Contact" of what Earth would look like hundreds of years after assimilation by the Borg, but that's neither here nor there.

~2097, I imagined that the world would be inhospitable to human life, though I did draw a space station above the planet, presumably housing the remainder of humanity.

I was vaguely aware of global warming, and I sometimes cared about other environmental concerns back then, so I was by no means making an educated guess; my depiction was more being bleak for bleakness's sake.

Flash forward to today, and hardly a day goes by where I don't see a new report or a reminder that there's an all too good of a chance that society as we know it could collapse within my lifetime, with climate change becoming an increasing concern (lurching forward to a runaway effect due to permafrost melt) and unfettered capitalism pillaging both people and planet for all we're worth.

In 2012, it was estimated that climate change was already causing the deaths of [External Link Removed for Guests]. Two years ago, it was estimated that 250,000 deaths per year from climate change is [External Link Removed for Guests].

Unfortunately, way too many people are way too, well, bad at acting on information like that. When COVID-19 was/is surging through the world, plenty of people still discount it as a hoax or as something that doesn't need to be worried about, despite the countless thousands who have died. Even if someone they know was impacted, it's amazing how often they'll have excuses for it, like causes of death being fudged to make it look like the pandemic is worse than it "actually is" or whatever.

If a global pandemic that has impacted all of us in one way or another -- whether through the loss of a loved one or simply through the shutdown or mask mandates or (I hope) getting the vaccination -- can have so many extremely vocal folks denying that there is even a problem, how then can we hope for any substantial positive action in the face of climate change, which will predominantly impact equatorial regions first, far and away from American suburbia?

I don't know what the future will look like. At this point, I doubt purple oceans are in the cards.

But if something doesn't change -- something big, something soon -- we could very well be a couple generations away from an unrecognizably fallen society.
Rick Beckman
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"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." — Horace Mann

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