It's The End of the World as We Know It - Part 3: The Railroad Switch

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

This is Part 3 in a blog series/rambling… In Part 1: Between the Smudges I looked at our integrated relationship with the earth: we are earthlings! In Part 2: Unearthing Responsibility, I explored our biblical mandate and responsibility as human beings to serve, protect and protect creation.



We have 12 years.


You. Me. All of us.


We have the next 12 years to decide what the future of the world will look like.


Imagine for a quick moment what you want the future to look like. Maybe imagine a day in the future when your great grandchild, Harry, is going on holiday with his fiancé - and they're going kayaking in Milford Sound in New Zealand. Or perhaps imagine your great [great?] grand daughter, Ashanti, getting married, on a beach in the Seychelles - everyone is loving being barefoot with the soft warm sand underfoot and surrounded by palm trees and turquoise waters....


Beautiful.


Ok, now, just for a moment... Picture another future. Picture things like this....


Imagine a world of intense heat waves. I don't mean a balmy day on the beach in Portugal with a little drink with a little umbrella in it... I mean waves of intense heat hotter and more frequent than we have now, causing thousands of people to be dying each year in the heat, or the resulting regular uncontrollable fires tearing through cities turning hundreds of thousands of acres to ash. Then there's the hurricanes - bigger and stronger and more regular and more destructive than those we face today. Due to Ice caps melting at the poles, water levels have risen, leaving cities under water, drinking water is contaminated and hard to come by. Farming is really tough as we have less land available, less usable water, and much of the food farmed has less nutrient value. Droughts are now a regular battle. Many animals and loads of plants are now extinct, having further knock on effects that we are trying to navigate. Tens of millions of people are now climate refugees, travelling through countries and continents in pursuit of safer, more hospitable lands. Economies are in disarray and conflict, war and violence are commonplace in even the 'safest' countries and neighbourhoods.


We have 12 years to choose which future this planet heads towards.


And currently, we're on a train track heading straight for the second, more Armageddon-esque option. But right now, today, we're at a stage where we have a railroad switch. We have the ability, together as humanity, to switch the train onto the other line - a future we want.


But it seems it's the very last railroad switch. It's the last chance.


We all have to act, and act now.


Ok wait, we need to back up a bit here. Especially if you think I'm making being unnecessarily dramatic. I mentioned in Part 1 that I recently read an article in the news that really struck me. The BBC article is entitled: Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'. (that's a dramatic article title if I ever saw one!) This article introduced me to the recent report of the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).


As I said before, this report got me. It hit a nerve somewhere deep in my soul.


Over the last few weeks I've been reading up and finding out loads about Climate Change in general, and this IPCC report in particular. At this point, I feel a mixture of sadness, and grief (and if I'm honest, some fear), but also hope and excitement. There's a bunch of stuff I'd like to share with you, so I'll break it down into chunks trying to answer some questions. In the next blog post I'll try answer:

  • What is climate change?

  • Who can I trust?

  • What have we learnt from the IPCC report?

  • Why should you care?

Then in a final (?) post in this series I'll look at how we all can act and respond.



So.... What I'm trying to say, in my own little way... is:


It's the end of the world as we know it.


I don't mean that in the "the end is nigh!' kind of way... But rather, the world as we know and experience it now, is not how our children's children's children will know and experience the world.


Either....


We choose to make drastic, rapid, unprecedented changes to how we live life on earth which switches tracks sends us along to a tolerable and perhaps even really pleasing future.


Or...

....we continue heading down the train track that we're currently on to the ominous dystopia.


The good news, as far as global existential crises go, is that this is a problem that

  1. We are aware of and understand, AND

  2. We know what we need to do to solve it.

There are people who study existential crises. They say that if you're going to have a global crisis, you hope that you have both 1 and 2!


So, we are aware of and understand this existential crisis, and have a really good handle on how to deal with it. Ball's in our court.




This is Part 3 in a mutli-post series/rambling. Here are links to the other posts:

Part 1: Between the Smudges (what it means biblically to be made from the earth)

Part 2: Unearthing Responsibility (the biblical mandate for caring for the planet)

Part 3: The Railroad Switch (the two options we have for the future of our planet)

Part 4: The Report (exploring the IPCC report and what it means for us)

Part 5: In Our Hands (what can we all do to solve this problem?