In less than 10 years the gavel will come down and we will know for certain the human race is over. At least, large-scale industrial societies will be finished. When that happens, every nuclear reactor on Earth will go off like popcorn. Every dam will erode and collapse. Every toxic tailing pond will leach into the water system. And so on.
At the same time, runaway climate change will swamp the coastlines, destabilise the weather, and possibly kill the oceans, making almost all life impossible, above and below the water (this has happened before on Earth).
None of this is new. It’s actually a very old story. The Earth has suffered many, many climate-related extinctions that wiped out most of the life on the planet (I no longer refer to it as “our” planet, as clearly we are about to be schooled on who owns what). The only thing of note about this most recent extinction event is the fact human beings caused it to happen, because the rich clutched their pearls and decided a fifth summer vacation home and a second yacht was more important that the survival of the human race. No surprise there.
But I am curious about what you are telling your children. Do you tell them the truth, that they may be okay, but likely their children, or their grandchildren, will have front row tickets to Armageddon? Or do you lie and tell them we can solve the problems and humanity will be just fine? I know this is a lie, and so do you, because the opportunity to do anything about climate change came and went in the 1980s when scientists originally told us what was happening. They were 100% certain, and they were 100% correct. But the standard lying and bullshit by the rich and powerful made sure nothing changed, so by now the end is a foregone conclusion. I know lots of climate scientists and talking heads in the news say it’s not too late, that we still have time, but they are either lying or in error. The effort needed today to avert the end of humanity would involve completely new economic systems, completely new political systems, and an end to the 1% and their world of power and privilege. How likely is this to happen? Ask yourself the chance of a snowball lasting in a frying pan set on high heat. NOTE: if you make that chance anything higher than 0%, you’ve made some sort of error in your calculations. The pearl-clutching is still going on, and it will until the humanity train runs into the climate change concrete wall.
The problem with lying to our children is the fact they will learn we lied during their lifetime. We may be dead and therefore save ourselves the shame of being called filthy liars by our own progeny, but none of that will help them as they witness the end of humanity.
The problem with telling children the truth is, well… how do you tell your kid the world is ending, it was caused by allowing a small group of incredibly rich assholes to destroy the planet so they could constantly get richer and more powerful, while the rest of us did nothing about it (or helped these assholes maintain and increase their assholiness), so now our children, or their offspring, get to ride the climate change slide into humanity’s doom? I mean, how do you do that without making them neurotic and breaking their spirit?
The situation is like one of those early morning cartoon characters who runs off a cliff without noticing, tentatively feels around for the ground with a toe and, not finding it, looks down, looks sheepishly back at the camera, and then plunges into the abyss.
Right now humanity is tapping its toe around, looking for something to stand on. But the ground is no longer there. The abyss awaits. We adults will probably be fine. But our kids. They are going to fucking suffer.
Will you be lying to them, or telling them the truth?