The Heat of Summer and the IPCC in 2021

By Grant Brown, Founder, Happy Eco News

The dry forest on Cortes Island, BC. This is supposed to be a rainforest. Image by Grant Brown.

The light has changed. The green light of spring and summer growth has turned the amber hue of fall – early this year. The grass is brown, the trees wilted and dry. The sharp crack of dry branches underfoot on the forest floor. The forest feels hot and tired, but change is in the air.

At this moment in history, Athens is besieged by wildfire. The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe’s history was set in Sicily. The gulf stream is showing signs of impending collapse. And despite being the hottest summer on record, this may be the coolest summer we will have for the rest of our lives.

But as crazy as it seems (I’m thinking sounds crazy even as I type these three words), I have hope. I hope for rain and cooler temperatures, but mostly I hope for change.

The IPCC report released this month finally speaks the truth. It speaks not in terms of what will happen in a best-case scenario if we do all the right things, it speaks of stark reality. Of a more realistic probability. It’s not sugar-coated to protect the false indignance of those who oppose the mere mention of global warming to further line their pockets. It is brutal in its honesty and finally, people are paying attention.

They are paying attention because independent writers are picking up the story while mainstream media mostly ignores it or gives it the most rudimentary of coverage. It is not lost on me that in 2021, sharing the biggest story in human history has become somewhat of a subversive act, but people are sharing it and talking about it. The world’s citizens are organizing online and in protests. Never before has it been so easy to connect so many people together to support a cause.

I have hope because these people now speak of taking action to demand change, en masse.

But change won’t be easy to obtain. Our politicians have shown that they are willing to sacrifice the very futures of their own descendants to line their pockets today and cling to power. Their allegiances are obviously to the big corporations and wealthy few who control them. We have been manipulated for decades by those who would have us fearful, alone, and feeling ostracized. Feeling impotent to do anything. Those who profit from the continued destruction of the earth’s ability to support life will use all their power to maintain that somewhat tenuous grip on power. Those fragile few, who so desperately cling to the old ways, will soon be identified, vilified, and prosecuted. But they won’t go quietly. An animal cornered is desperate, and desperate creatures are dangerous.

But change is coming whether they like it or not. It is coming fast and they’d better either get on board or get out of the way. Fixing such deeply engrained environmental problems will require a global effort unlike anything seen before in history. It is beyond geographic or political boundaries because it affects us all. Truly a green shift, this effort will require a mix of science-based solutions supported by business, yet will also require simple human creativity, ingenuity, and collaboration. In the coming post-Anthropocene era, this creativity will spur a renaissance of science, philosophy, and art. I believe society will demand taxation of the richest few in the world, enabling the simple and necessary idea of a universal basic income to take hold.

I also believe we are in for a bit of a rough ride in the short term, but this too shall pass, because despite being procrastinators, humans are also survivors. We will demand the change that needs to happen, and in time build a better, just, equitable society and healthy planet.

But it won’t come easily. Like so many great social changes in history, the green shift won’t come by accident, we must raise our voices together and demand it.

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