03 September 2017

We Are Witnessing the Great Unravelling

In 2004, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman authored a book called The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century, which chronicled "how the boom economy unraveled." As an economist, Krugman writes about economics. 

Today, we are witnessing an even greater unravelling. This time it's all about that other "eco" word: ecology. Even as the climate change deniers, skeptics, ignorers and delayers are still out in full whacko force (just check the comments under any movie about the climate crisis), the Sixth Mass Extinction is playing out all around us. 

Timeframes (for things such as predator / prey relationships) that we've come to depend on and take for granted are getting all screwed up. For example, our local pods of resident orca whales have hardly been seen around here this summer because their food source — chinook salmon — has all but disappeared.

Seasonal weather and temperatures that we've relied on for our agriculture are no longer dependable: unprecedented heat waves, major wildfires, severe droughts, biblical floods, crop-damaging rainfalls ....

Homes and homelands that we thought were safe are collapsing, flooding or being swallowed up by the sea.*

What we have known is coming undone and becoming unknowable. We are bearing witness to (and many people and many other living beings are already experiencing) catastrophic climate disruption and deadly climate chaos. 

It is time for deniers — and anyone else who isn't willing to help hold the fraying edges of this delicate biosphere together — to be called out as the pariahs that they are.

* My heart goes out to the 41 million people affected by devastating monsoon rains and flooding in South Asia, and to those in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey. There but for the grace of ....