Let’s talk about Trump & Climate Change

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Published 2016-11-09

I want to talk a little bit about climate change. Not what Trump will/won't do in regards, but about how this moment — the 2010s really — might be viewed by future historians. I'm talking now about (in the West:) Trump, Brexit, French National Front, Geert Wilders etc. Also the Arab Spring; Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan etc. And the (I think) overdue-to-be reckoned post-WWII military & economic international order: NATO, UN, Breton Woods, TPP, NAFTA etc.

I'm not interested in litigating whether those changes are good or bad. They are happening.

But it is a very weird coincidence indeed that these things are occurring as we surpass many alarming climate tipping points: 400PPM CO2; month after month of record heat; super hurricanes; the arctic ice-free in the summer; meling West Atlantic ice sheet ; Asian deserts expand rapidly; fisheries collapsing; reefs dying. Most worrying: release of methane from the Subarctic tundra and deep sea floor.

As with above, I'm not gonna litigate reality. All that shit is actually happening just like climate scientists have predicted for 30years now, on or ahead of schedule.

If I were reviewing archaeological literature showing a collapse of complex systems right alongside a massive change in global climate, I might be tempted to link these events. How they are linked is not entirely clear.

BUT and here's my point: the sense of dislocation we are ALL feeling (the dislocation that drove some of us to vote Trump; the dislocation the rest of us feel having watched you do it) — this dislocation is unprecedented & unexpected. And given the tipping points we keep blowing past, they are not gonna stop. It sounds grim but we are entering a world where unexpected dislocation will be the expected state of daily life.

The best and most hopeful thing I can think is that we are ALL feeling that dislocation, and we best learn to feel it together. Because there will be no running away. Canada could be the next democracy to go pop; you and your Trump-voting neighbor are BOTH gonna be out of work and paying $100/lb for coffee.