I’ve loved nature all my life, raised on farms in Iowa, and family camping trips to our National Parks that began at an early age, and continued since. Spending hours most days outside as I walked to work, not having a car, or ran for pleasure and fitness. Learning to pay close attention to the beauty around me by carrying my camera all the time.
Those experiences along with my studies of science, and the horror of experiencing voluminous clouds of smog in the days before catalytic converters all resulted in my lifelong interest and concern for Mother Earth. I hated the waste of the explosion of the number of cars and the miles of travel necessitated by very poorly designed cities. And the extensive and expensive infrastructure needed; roads, bridges, parking lots and garages.
Understanding fossil fuels are nonrenewable, I couldn’t/can’t believe we would wantonly burn them up, polluting the air, land and water in the process and leaving none for future generations.
It was easy to ignore all of this after catalytic converters removed the particulates from exhaust so it was no longer visible. But the heat and greenhouse gases (GHG) continued to pour out. And the environmental damage took years to become noticeable. Now it may be too late to stop, let alone reverse the damage.
Part of the problem is there is as much as a ten year delay between when the greenhouse gas is injected into the air, and when the heating effects are felt. Even if we abruptly stopped contributing greenhouse gases, the effects would continue for years.
Several other problems relate to feedback loops, where the harm being done has the effect of doing more harm. For example, as ice melts, it reflects less heat away from the earth’s surface. The increasing temperature this causes will melt more ice in a vicious cycle. Unfortunately there are a number of such feedback loops.
I’m just trying to explain that I have been praying, studying, thinking and writing about these things for many years. I’ve known we are heading for chaotic times for a long time. And wondering what we can do to prepare, although it has gotten to be a bit late for that. Wondering how we can adapt to an increasingly hostile environment. How we can respond to the breakdown of life as we know it, and at the same time maintain our humanity. Even better, how we can help others adapt. Provide the leadership that will be needed as what we know falls apart. Provide answers to the question we’ve heard again and again after environmental destruction, “what do we do now?”
I’ve been realizing the genius of this quote from Albert Einstein.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”Albert Einstein
For example, we can no longer use capitalism as our economic model. Capitalism helped create our current crisis. Demanding an ever growing economy and seeing natural and human resources as simply inputs to profitable outputs. Valuing monetary gain about all else. I wrote about this in yesterday’s blog post, https://jeffkisling.com/2019/12/23/cultural-collapse/ Since then I’ve started to work on a diagram of those ideas. Capitalism is failing due to lack of jobs with adequate pay and extreme wealth maldistribution.
Secondly, increasing environmental chaos will impact every aspect of our lives: food, housing, education, healthcare, and break down the infrastructures related to water and energy systems needed for both communities and for manufacturing.
For years I spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince others that we needed to reduce fossil fuel use, and what will probably happen if we don’t. Lately I have, instead, been thinking and studying a number of possible ways forward, which I plan to write about next.