As the reality of this election sinks in, the threat to our future also sinks in.
If the most qualified candidate in recent history lost to the least qualified in recent history, we get a dire image of what our future holds. As I watch Thursday’s segment of Years of Living Dangerously, I am reminded that our greatest fear should not be Trump’s possession of the nuclear codes. Instead, it should be his ignorant refusal to understand and fear our Earth’s biggest threat to our survival, Climate Change.
Nuclear codes? If a nuclear war were to happen, for most living creatures, it would be the world’s least painful method of going extinct. In contrast, the end resulting from climate change will be a slow, painful, death for everything.
Right now, in West Africa, there’s a migration taking place that, by far, “trumps” the Syrian migration and it’s solely due to climate change which has changed once fertile farmland into a wasteland. What was once the water-rich land is now a desert scape of the planet Mars magnitude.
Every week, thousands of men travel out of the region looking for a future they can bring their families. Their common destination is the shores of Europe. However, they find no future because many of the areas they travel to are under assault as well. However, that assault is only in part a direct result of climate change. It is also the result of an influx of migrants fleeing other human-caused crisis such as war.
As in much of the West, the U.S. included, this influx has spread a sense of nationalism, bigotry and hatred the likes of which has been non-existent since the 1930’s. When met with this resistance, the African men attempt to travel back to their families only to run out of money leaving them “stuck” somewhere in the middle, between home and their original destination.
When asked, why did you leave your home, one man explains, “There is nothing where we live. There is no rain, so there is nothing to eat.” Another man calls out the temperatures he left behind. “113 degrees! 120 degrees! How can a person live?” A third man explains, “There is no sea, and the earth no longer works.” Even these men understand that there is something they can’t explain happening to our world. They understand there is something causing the earth to no longer work.
Most alarming is the fact that many of these men become easy target recruits for Boca Harem and other jihadist groups. More danger for the West as the ranks of jihadism grow, resulting in an endless source of recruits willing to die in the present because they see no future.
In the U.S., a similar future lurks on the horizon.
In the once rich farmlands of California, a drought of magnitude proportions is currently under way. California alone provides a cornucopia of produce to the U.S. and the world. It produces over 200 different crops. Almost half of the nation’s produce comes from California. Some of these crops, such as almonds, are grown nowhere else in the U.S. or the world. Loss of these valuable commodities would devastate the U.S.’s ability to provide product to the grocery industry, leaving whole departments and grocery shelves barren. The devastation would create a cataclysmic national security problem.
A helicopter flies over a major water resource. Floating boat docks now sit on desert-like sand; and, a major dam sits out in a similar site with no water to hold back or flow out. The barren landscape forebodes the future.
The present drought has lasted four years. The future for this same expanse of land, once water rich, predicts decades of drought. The water that is currently regulated will dry up leaving no water to ration. The ultimate horror of the site is the fact that this reservoir with its current limited resource is one of California’s main source of water. California’s population tops 38.8 million.
Texas also grows a vast variety of crops to include fruits and nuts, vegetables as well as, grains, fiber and oilseed crops from which we get our cooking oils. Texas is also experiencing an epoch drought.
In both drought-assaulted Texas and California, farmers are on their last legs. Many farmers see a bleak future where they and their families will be forced to abandon their land to seek a living elsewhere and in a new industry. These same people would leave their livelihoods penniless since their land will be rendered worthless by the droughts.
A picture tells a thousand stories. Such is the case with the map of California. This one shows the current condition of that States drought. The areas are color coded to represent the intensity of the dry conditions which range from dry (yellow) to extreme drought (red) to exceptional drought (dark red).
The second map shows the magnitude of the crisis in Texas. NASA satellites have produced the ability to map out the crisis in both California and Texas.
Recently, however, Myron Ebell, Trump’s pick to head up the EPA transition and an avid climate change denier said he would direct NASA to cease using its satellites for climate change mapping purposes. Ebell considers the use as wasteful. Ebell would essentially abolish the EPA as Trump yanks the country’s participation in the Paris Accords on climate change.
At the 2015 Climate Change Conference held in Paris, the Norweigan Refugee Council discussed the imminent human migration result of climate change. The council chairman explained, “Every second a person is forced to flee his home because of an extreme weather or climate event.”
The future is now! However, there is no convention for climate refugees as there are for war and human rights refugees.
Jan Egeland, Norweigan Refugee Council (NRC) Secretary General, explains that science predicts that a child born today in 2016 has a 60% more likelihood of becoming displaced by a natural disaster. The question is, will it be 200 million or a billion people who will have to relocate? No one knows.
This question generates the second question. Given there is no precedence, how does the world deal with these people? How indeed when much of the world governments, now led by the U.S., view climate change as not significant or as a hoax and scientific evidence as a left-wing conspiracy.
The future looks bleak for our once perfect planet and its inhabitants. The Obama Administration was instrumental in ushering in progress toward gaining world commitment and cooperation to change the future. Under a Trump Administration, that progress will not only end; the world will be set back decades as climate change continues to ravage our world.
As the waters rise on the Southern most coasts of the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, climate change refugee numbers will also rise. As with the future refugees from California, Texas and the current refugees from West Africa, these coastal refugees will leave their homes penniless. They will have nothing to lose.
In my mind’s eye, I see a future much like the fabled futures portrayed in shows like The Walking Dead. However, the real future is not a fantasy one where zombies wander the land. Instead, the future is one filled with living humans migrating inward as they seek a new future. Hordes of people will leave their worthless property penniless and what will they have left to lose. We march toward an apocalypse.
Note: Recently, I wondered if my husband and I had made a mistake moving to the coast of South Carolina. In October, the east coast experienced an unprecedented hurricane. We also had the mountains of Tennesse on our original retirement list. As Bob and I sat in the dark of our house, winds howling outside, I bemoaned our mistaken choice. Now, I realize nowhere is safe. I say this as Gatlinburg, TN where we had been looking burns to the ground. The mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina have also suffered from climate change in the form of a drought. The future is coming, and the people of the U.S. will pay for their vote. As Trump promises to transfer funds used by the EPA to study climate change, he will use the money to repair the infrastructure. New roads and bridges will be good for those migrating hordes seeking shelter from drought and flooded cities. They will have new highways to travel to communities they will fight to take.