“It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah! … “
— The Weather Girls
Want more proof of the fast-approaching Apocalypse? Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol have filed to trademark their names.
And you thought global warming was a big deal.
Real and perceived threats have doomsday yea-sayers spewing chilling prophecy. Sure, they might get the dates wrong, but they can smell the storm that’s coming.
If you live in parts of North Dakota, you may think the end of the world is here already.
Floodwaters swamped low-lying areas of Minot, N.D., on Friday and eclipsed a 130-year-old record as U.S. officials sharply increased water releases to the swollen Souris River. With thousands of homes in the path of the flood, displaced residents settled in for their second mandatory evacuation since just after Memorial Day with the prospect of potentially living months in temporary housing.
The evidence of a sea change for this big blue-green vessel we’re on just keeps amassing. New Year’s Day we hear reports of flocks of birds falling dead from the sky, of acres of dead fish coating beaches nearby. The deadly tsunami and the tremors that have followed have crippled and forever changed areas of Japan.
Killer tornadoes have chewed up great gobs of the South and spit them back out.
There are still a lot of people who think climate change is a joke. Yet, how to explain roller coaster temperatures with record blistering highs and teeth-chattering lows, snow on the ground in Florida, and disappearing polar ice caps? The world is having a tizzy fit and we’re along for the ride.
We’ve all heard of The Great Depression. Time to start preparing ourselves for The Great Disruption — because it’s already begun. At least, that’s the assessment of Australian environmental business expert Paul Gilding.
Gilding has written a book called — surprise, surprise — “The Great Disruption.”
The teaser on the American cover of his book reads: “Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.”
Thomas Friedman, in the New York Times, wrote that the coming crisis Gilding envisions is a moment “when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once.” Man, that sounds ugly — and expensive.
Gilding advises we human inhabitants of planet Earth that it’s time to stop just worrying about climate change and do something about it.
This Great Disruption actually began back in 2008, says Gilding, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps.
“It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources,” Gilding says.
And while Gilding paints an unattractive portrait of us in our selfish gluttony, he does offer a glimmer of hope for our future as stewards of this world.
Gilding says the coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as “our planetary overdraft is paid,” however, those bleak years will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability.
In his book, Gilding details how to win what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the Earth, and how to start today.
“The crisis represents a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability, and it’s already happening,” he says.
Massive change is on the horizon, Gilding says. Old industries will collapse while new companies will literally reshape the economy. In the aftermath of The Great Disruption, we will measure growth in a new way: It will not be the quantity of stuff but the quality and happiness of life.
I am not certain how Gilding sees climate change spelling the demise of shopping, but I’m heading to Walmart this afternoon just in case.
Batten down the hatches, my friends, because we’re in for a rough storm. And my friend Shannon better go buy those plum-colored pumps while she can.
That is all.
— Managing Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at (910) 272-6122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.