We’ve already had a preview via the fallout from the Syrian civil war, which was exacerbated by an unusually severe drought. By mid-century we may be looking at the largest planet-wide refugee crisis since the end of WWII.
Here in the US we will probably be spared the worst of this crisis due to the ocean-sized moat surrounding the country for the most part. This will of course be used by some to declare the lesser worth of brown people. But yes, it will be horrendous and our children and grandchildren will look back and judge us by how we responded to this crisis. May God have mercy on us, because I suspect they will not.
Yeah, I guess that requires clarification. Sea level rise will devastate our coasts and require relocation inland, but we have inland to relocate to. Climate change will devastate our agricultural regions, and I am not sure there will be anywhere to relocate to at that point. I don’t think it will be as simple as moving north, the rain bands will change, seasons become less predictable, dogs and cats living together, you know the song.
It’s the insect apocalypse that should keep us all awake at night along with the sound of ocean surf. We can move away from rising waters but, when we can’t eat when we get there because the pollinators are gone, then what?
With as chaotic and interconnected a system as our ecosystem is, the fallout will be equally chaotic and unpredictable, but predictably awful. No big worries, in a million years or so (geologically the blink of an eye) the Earth will heal itself and life will go on, just like after the Permian, but we will quite probably not. Gotta wonder if this is one of the Great Filters of the Fermi paradox. Intelligent species just cannot get with taking a long term view of life and foul their own nests.
I wouldn’t give it that long. 2100 is just the consensus date everyone focuses on. Most North Americans are going to start feeling the lifestyle and societal effects a lot sooner starting in the 2030s. Some of them will be driven by salubrious trends (e.g. reducing consumption and waste and use of fossil fuels), others by darker ones (e.g. racism and xenophobia and economic ladder-pulling), but one way or another at least 80% of us will be living more strictured lives than we’ve been used to in terms of where we live, what we eat, how we keep our bodies clean and healthy, and where we travel.
My philosophy over the last 15 years or so as been consistent, and I will reproduce it here:
Plant a big garden and get small.
Of course, only a minority of folks have that option, which makes it kinda sucky. We can do what we can as individuals, but without government and institutional buy in, we are pretty much screwed. Which brings me to my second point:
I can’t fix the world, but I can impact my own corner of it to the best of my abilities, and will do so.
It is going to get ugly. Maybe not in my lifetime, although I am really wondering if that is true, but certainly in my children’s. Do what we can, help others and be kind. If that is our epitaph, we could do worse.
We may be spared a massive influx of refugees, yes. Who do you think will be asked/decide/feel obligated to step in and enforce borders, or negotiate or enforce ends to disputes over land and resources? Do you think we’ll be spared economic impact if China, India, and Europe are in the midst of multiple simultaneous permanent refugee and climate crises? Interconnectedness, at least the way we’ve done it so far, breeds many more opportunities for fragility.
It also gives us more opportunities for heading this shit off at the pass NOW. Unfortunately ultra-nationalists everywhere are gaining power by railing against the outsiders and ignoring the interconnectedness we already have and how we can use that to solve a GLOBAL problem. Literally the ONLY thing shutting down the borders does is prolong the inevitable.