The Uninhabitable Earth

I stumbled across it quite accidentally, this link in the New York Mag. Well researched and well written, there is even a link to an annotated version for those scientifically inclined to check out the sources and investigate the claims.

It’s a bleak future we are getting painted. Large swathes around the equator could become uninhabitable. storms and extreme weather would be commonplace. Pests like malaria would move further north as the climate warms. The acidified seas could start emitting toxic hydrogen sulfide. And it could all happen in the millennial generation’s lifetime.

One part of me is deeply fascinated. Here is just another example of homoeostasis on a massive scale. In the last few centuries we have pushed the planet in one direction, and now, after a grace time where it adjusted to the changes, it is starting to push to get back to centre. There is nothing unnatural about these predictions, in fact, as the article also points out, scientists have actually been holding back their predictions. But no amount of climate change denial is going to make even conservative estimates less real.

I will probably live to see my Norway getting a climate more akin to the UK or the continent. It will get wilder, wetter and less stable. Who knows how climate refugees and increased aggression will destabilise borders and governments. It almost makes me hope that there will be a serious change in how money works, just so the extremely wealthy will be less able to buy their way out as usual. But that is pure wistful thinking. The wealthy and powerful always have a way of slipping out of both responsibility and consequence, even if they have more ability than most to do something about the status quo.

At the same time, I am not hateful or even apathetic about the prospects. What difference would that make? On the contrary, it makes me wish to fight for financial independence and self-sustainability all the sooner. Who knows how efforts to become more resilient will actually get us, but it makes me hopeful and keeps me going. Just yesterday, I discovered a new blog full of similar attitude. Pages like Frugalwoods and Mr. Money Moustace manage to balance happiness, frugality, resource efficiency and climate consciousness all at the same time. I might not be that far along yet, but the hope is there.

This month, we have bought nothing but groceries with the disposable income available after paying fixed expenses like rent and electricity. It was surprisingly easy, and surprisingly relaxing. Our groceries came to less than ~$150 for two adults, and we spent very little time shopping, leaving time for other activities like foraging and hiking nearby. We will probably have to spend a little more this month, as we dug quite heavily into the pantry and will need to replenish stores of flour and legumes. Still, it has been an interesting experiment. Our entertainment has been free as well. In addition to hikes, we’ve found free books for our kindles and listened to audiobooks from LibriVox, as well as arranging two board game nights with friends. I haven’t seen nor been to the city centre is several weeks, and I have certainly not missed it.

I do think that it will be increasingly important to relearn practical skill in the decades to come. Maybe I will be wrong, but at least I am lucky enough to be interested in these things at any rate.

The first article also inspired me to try to outline a story. I don’t know what sort of story it would be, only that it might take place several years from now, in a dystopian place were many of these predictions have come to pass, and my generation are grandparents or even great-grandparents. What would that look like?

Until then, at least the rocket in the windowsill is growing.


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