People are melting and drowning while we fixate on Huw and Phil
Macro events and WTF moments
Broadly speaking, the way we are conditioned in the UK is to be capitalistic and to dig in when things get difficult – build your own future and work through obstacles. Take the long view, as long as it’s easy to read.
Being trained to be self-interested lets us off the hook whenever someone stands up and shouts “FFS why can’t you see what’s going on around you?”
Present us with a picture we aren’t familiar with and we’ll distract ourselves with an easier story. Forest fires in Greece or Huw Edwards? Boat people in Europe or Phillip Schofield?
Chelsea wiped out
On a pound for pound basis, the weight of attention the UK press gives ‘celebrity‘ overshadows the real story. Yes, it’s not great when a news reader’s career hits the buffers, but it’s estimated that 61,000 people died in 2022 in Europe from conditions related to excessive heat – 61,000.
That’s Chelsea, Bangor or Stroud lost in one summer.
As I write this in July 2023, swathes of the world are being rendered uninhabitable because of heat. It isn’t going to improve. Affected people are moving to other places where, generally they aren’t welcome. For the sake of calling these people something, let’s call them refugees.
In the UK, since Brexit, our attitude to migration is significantly altered.
We don’t have enough people here to harvest or process food so shortages and higher prices are now things we have got used to.
At the same time, we’ve struck trade deals with countries, literally, on the other side of the world to make it easier to import food, with the attendant hike in carbon consumption.
Will these arrangements last? Read on.
People who need work and places to go aren’t welcome here because we like to trade with countries we can identify with?
The UK economy is in free-fall, inflation rates are climbing steadily (the few people with huge wealth make more money) but we don’t want anyone here to do work we don’t want to do ourselves. We’ll bring our lamb from Australia to fill the gap when it makes more sense to eat less meat.
More reasonably Canada, for example, has integrated immigration into its growth strategy. It has increased its inward migration targets to overcome their forecasted resource deficit. It knows that its population is ageing and won’t be working forever so needs new blood.
Parts of Europe are under a blanket of heat. Other parts (and across the world) are having flash floods. The yin and yang of global climate change are blindingly obvious signs that our world has changed, and we simply haven’t realised it yet. Our futures are now differently forecast.
The current El Niño forecast predicts that all heat records will be broken again in the last half of 2024, the southern hemisphere summer – the records that are being set today in 2023.
Will those countries be able to meet demands of new trade agreements when crops are affected by temperature?
Respiratory problems, pulmonary stress and other heat-related health conditions will drive the death toll higher and higher with every heat episode – where you live.
The problem is not a remote one.
Some estimates have it that the world can support a human population between 3 and 4 billion. Right now, it’s heading for 9 billion.
By 2025, one in ten new births will be in Nigeria, on a continent that produces just 4% of global pollution. Stick that Post-It on the wall next to the one that lists the countries with falling birth rates and high pollution producer figures.
China is the world leader in producing solar and wind generation technology and the highest consumer of coal for power generation.
Water – it’s a problem
While we’re talking ‘pollution producers’, the UK privatised its water system and ever since water leakage is up, profit from sales and dividends to shareholders are up and quality is down.
Beneficiaries from the UK Thames Water privatisation report over £70 billion paid out in salaries and dividends leaving the business with an accumulated debt of £60 billion+ today and more water lost from the system than ever before.
Sewage treatment capability can’t meet demand, so raw sewage is regularly dumped into water ways that feed to the sea.
The same sea where seaweed accounts for 54% of global oxygen production. We all need a few more ‘WTF?’ moments to anticipate where macro factors like these may take us.
All this stuff may feel like it’s too big to deal with. In reality, I’m afraid to say, you’re right. Some of the effect on global systems we have caused is now irreversible.
This is where you come in
People are melting and drowning while we fixate on Huw and Phil. Go and see what’s really going on.
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