If you pay attention to climate change news, then you're no doubt worried and scared for the future, and you feel miserable and depressed about what's about to happen, and you probably are prone to binging on ice cream, Cheetos, and shrimp cocktails as a coping mechanism. Well, if heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, warming oceans, sea level rise, thawing permafrost, the spread of malaria, and strengthening hurricanes are worrying you, I've got some VERY good news. That whole “global warming thing” is about to end!
Yes, it's true. So settle down – we're about to end the use of fossil fuels AND lower global temperatures. Real fast! So get out your ugg boots and Gore-Tex parka (and iodine pills).
That's because there are still thousands of nuclear weapons in existence (more than 13,000), and new nuclear bombs are being made which are considered more “usable” by various governments (by making them “less powerful,” kind of like how a mountain lion is “less powerful” than a tiger.) They're also being made more usable – psychologically. Governments are getting more and more desperate, and will continue to become more desperate. Look at the situation: a planet swarming with ravenous humans, billions of them in miserable poverty, a psychopathic elite with insatiable greed and immense power, a growing shortage of resources, the ongoing mass extinction of life on Earth, the poisoning of the planet, AND the numerous effects of Climate Change, which include widespread droughts, storms, crop-failures and famines. And when people can't even afford a Big Mac and a strawberry milkshake, they get even more desperate and violent. And when governments have a desperate population, they start wars in order to distract them. (Just like how parents turn on the TV to distract their kids.)
Desperation will make people do crazy things. Like use nuclear weapons. (Or let their kids watch “SpongeBob”.) So what I'm getting at is that we're headed for nuclear war.
Look, we've already just barely escaped nuclear war several times already. Nuclear war is going to happen. It's locked-in. From the moment the bomb was invented, it was locked in. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed straight-away (by “the good guys”), those sick scientists and bureaucrats were so giddy with excitement over the little toy they'd created. And then those same psychopaths spent the next few decades detonating hundreds of bombs on South Pacific islands, underground, and hundreds in the atmosphere. And you thought the Nazis were messed up.
Actually, even in the absence of detonating nuclear bombs, we're already in a nuclear war. The ongoing mining of uranium and plutonium and making of nuclear material, including the running of nuclear reactors, is poisoning the planet. That is nuclear war. The use of depleted uranium shells by the U.S. and NATO militaries (“the good guys”) in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1994 and 1995, in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo in 1999, in Iraq in 1991 and 2003, and in Syria in 2014, is nuclear war. The use of depleted uranium for civilian uses (yes, even in dental porcelain, among other uses) is nuclear war. Plutonium has been put into satellites in space, including on rockets that exploded in the atmosphere. The Space Shuttle Challenger was set to carry 24 pounds of plutonium – on its next mission. NASA and military planners are currently looking to launch a whole new fleet of nuclear-powered rockets. So you see, nuclear war started in the 1940s and never stopped. We're just so used to poisoning ourselves and the Earth by now (microwave ovens, mobile phones, 5G, Wi-Fi, Roundup, Facebook, The Ellen Degeneres Show, etc.) that we barely notice the ongoing war.
But wait! There's good news! The good news is, nuclear detonations will cool the planet. It's called a nuclear winter, and will follow an even “limited” exchange of nuclear detonations. So if the Earth heating up worries you, you can worry less about that. Also, the use of fossil fuels will come to an abrupt halt. That's good news for the climate movement!
Of course, in full disclosure, there are downsides to nuclear winters. But hey, there's downsides to everything - even going to church (You'll be missing the football game!) But again, not to worry. The downsides of nuclear winter will already be very familiar to you, so no need to stress about additional cognitive load, because they're similar to the consequences of climate change. Namely, the extinction of most life and the deaths of most (if not all) humans.
But wait! There still is good news! (Isn't life a roller-coaster ride?) I don't want to make you depressed, so I'll leave you with something very, very positive. There is a sure, definite, 100% guaranteed way to avoid such a miserable outcome! Just turn off every screen, turn off all electricity, abandon every car, abandon every house, shut down every factory and pipeline, shut down every corporation, find our tribe, live on the land, talk to the animals and plants, and re-learn how to live from our distant ancestors. And if you shrug this suggestion off as “primitive” or “living in the past” or “I'm not giving up my Netflix!”, well then, you're just asking for nuclear winter and climate change – all civilizations end in much the same way. But there it is. Take it or leave it. (Preferably take it.)
Look, don't be mad at me. I didn't design humans to be hunters and gatherers – Nature did. Civilization has just been one disaster after another. Think of our situation like pro football. After your team drafts “the next Tom Brady”, how many seasons full of interceptions, fumbles, and domestic violence arrests does it take before you realize you made a mistake, you need to drop the guy, and you need to draft a new QB? (You see? Sports analogies make everything comprehensible.) Or similarly, if your girlfriend or wife is nothing but endless complaints, nagging and Godzilla impressions, at some point you say, “Enough is enough” and you look for a new girlfriend (or better, you just get a dog.)
Same with our current predicament. How many civilizations full of slavery, war, poverty, pollution, deforestation, famine, and diarrhea-inducing kings and queens (which is all of them) will it take before we realize we need to ditch it and find a new way of living? Except in this case, the new way is the way that already worked - the Old way. We have nothing new to invent.
On that note, I'll leave you with this, from Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1994):
Coyote, who is the creator of all of us, was sitting on his cloud the day after he created Indians. Now, he liked the Indians, liked what they were doing. This is good, he kept saying to himself. But he was bored. He thought and thought about what he should make next in the world. But he couldn't think of anything so he decided to clip his toenails. ... He looked around and around his cloud for somewhere to throw away his clippings. But he couldn't find anywhere and he got mad. He started jumping up and down because he was so mad. Then he accidentally dropped his toenail clippings over the side of the cloud and they fell to the earth. They clippings burrowed into the ground like seeds and grew up to be white man. Coyote, he looked down at his newest creation and said, "Oh, shit.”