To do nothing what-soever except minimally (such as recycling garbage) in light of coming climate change impacts for a small portion of the world — well, we know to where this feebly enacted, but basically empty non-action leads. Same-old patterns exist until forcing a change as the same-old ones are no longer workable given changing impacting variables at the point of a crisis for a particular region.

Simultaneously I realize that I personally can do little to stop this sort of devastation in countries that reached the point of having not workable solutions: places that let an environmentally broken state go over the edge, sad and contentious places like Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, South Sudan, parts of Kenya, Congo Republic and so forth that are experiencing:

Mar 12, 2017 – 20 million at risk of starvation in world’s largest crisis since 1945, UN says. … (CNN)Somalia and three other countries desperately need aid to save more than 20 million people from starvation and diseases, the United Nations said. … Already at the beginning of the year we are facing … ~ From UN: World facing largest humanitarian crisis since 1945 –

… and where should they be placed — these desperate, starving and water deprived, fleeing people? Europe, already overpopulated in terms of the resource base there? Who is to pay for their housing, food, education, clothes, medical care, electricity, and so forth as they, in wave after wave of people, streak to a presumably better condition and location?

As it is, central Massachusetts, USA feeds one in ten adults and one in seven children  here with food bank food and my food bank that gives out over five to almost seven million pounds of food a year is going full-throttle to catch starving people falling through the cracks. How much more can this charity give out to provide a basic necessity, such as food?

Alternately put, how many further people in need can be subsumed in my small part of the world? It’s like trying to squeeze blood from a stone metaphorically speaking.

Hunger in Worcester County

  • According to the U.S. Census, 82,951 people in Worcester County (10.3 percent of the population) live at or below the poverty level. The federal poverty level for a family of four in 2012 was $23,050.
  • Hunger and food insecurity also afflict individuals and families living above the poverty level with income insufficient to meet their basic human need for food.
  • 99,796 people in Worcester County (12 percent of the population) received food assistance from the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) and its network of food pantries in 2012. (Source: WCFB Network Data Collection System for calendar year 2012)
  • Since the recession in 2008, the hunger rate for households in Massachusetts has increased 40 percent; from 8.3 percent to 11.4 percent. These households include over 700,000 adults and children. ~ From Hunger in Worcester County – Worcester County Food Bank

The food and other material needs issues aside, what impact will the people fleeing collapsed parts of the world and  their divergent cultures have on the ones intact in lands like Sweden, Holland, France, Germany and Great Britain, etc.? (Consider Nice, France in the truck plow-down.) What happens when the next wave comes after them as environmental downturn continues in their lands and spreads to others by subsumption of new peoples again and again in a continuous wave of newcomers whose parts of the world ecologically collapse? Would it result in further collapse like dominoes knocked down in a line?

How does this matter get handled as much of the world faces increases diminishment of the natural world being replete enough to keep people in place in various spots? How do all of the compromised people get incorporated into new lands under these conditions that follow?

How much more biodiversity loss must my region subsume as more and more people are here in my small area of the world?  Perhaps it’s like robbing Peter (the natural world) to pay Paul (more humanity). Yet, how could we even bring in more people when our food, medical  and housing aid is already nearly or fully maxed out for the spot in which I live?

So here are the problems:

1., Intense climate change impacts: Climate change could make half the world uninhabitable – Telegraph. Excerpted: Climate change could make half of the world uninhabitable for humans as a rise in temperature makes it too hot to survive, scientists have warned. … “Under realistic scenarios out to 2300, we may be faced with temperature increases of 12 degrees or even more,” …

DoD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change …, excerpted: The report finds that climate change is a security risk, Pentagon officials said, because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges, they added. … “It is in this context,” they continued, “that the department must consider the effects of climate change — such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones and more frequent and intense severe weather events — and how these effects could impact national security.”

Abrupt Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Before 

In about the last 100,000 years, there have been 23 abrupt temperature changes in Greenland ice cores. In those moments, the temperature abruptly jumped or fell 9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit across the planet and 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit in Greenland. The changes typically took decades to generations, but at their most extreme, they only took two to three years. Published consensus statements on climate change do not factor in abrupt change — an omission that seriously affects how climate policy is made. As recently as the 1990s, it took the mountain pine bark beetle two years to raise a family. But today, summer is two-thirds longer than it was; spring and fall come a month sooner and later. It is so warm that the beetle can go through two life cycles a year, radically increasing the number on the attack. These little beetles are about the size of a grain of rice; up to 10,000 beetles can attack a single tree. Since the turn of the century, the beetles have multiplied so quickly that they’ve killed 60 to 90% of 89 million acres of forest. This is 20% of western North American forests. That’s fast!

The Permafrost is Thawing 20% Faster Than Previously Thought

Vast thawed lands are starting to release carbon dioxide and methane. Thermokarst lakes bubble with the stuff. And pingos are now starting to erupt as the ice relinquishes the soils of Siberia.

How much empirically based evidence do we need to be convinced that possible peril exists? … I grieve for the future and am scared for it.

2., Overshoot: (Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change – NCBI – NIH concerning William R. Catton and Summary/Reviews: The limits to growth,  from preeminent environmental scientists Donnella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows). This is a critically important report. No excerpted section is sufficient onto itself to include here, unfortunately.

3., Resource deficits for both renewable and unrenewable kinds: (The US now has an ‘ecological deficit,’ report finds | and don’t please imagine that the deficits are only in the USA.)

4., Extinction: while recalling that an extinction event is typically considered to be at least 70-75% of all species … (Holocene extinction – Wikipedia, excerpted: The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the Sixth extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is the ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch, mainly due to human activity.)

While they need help somehow, more people where I live in central MA, USA is not constructive. I don’t know about the way that we could handle more without deep further environmental and social compromise.

As it is I’m already watching biodiversity here where I live get curtailed year after year. I don’t want the loss sped up by further human development of land, economic activities and thoughtlessness, such as when people use Roundup:

Don’t Poison Yourself: A Warning

It kills the honey bees and other pollinators as it enters their bodies through their pollinating and gathering nectar. They get something comparable to Alzheimer’s and can’t make it back to the hive since their brains get confused from the toxin. Instead they just fly around aimlessly and, eventually, die while grounded, and while aimlessly kicking legs  and shaking across their bodies from nerve damage as their brains eventually shut-off from the chemical assault.
5., Dismantling process of the natural world: (Environmental degradation – Wikipedia, excerpted: Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution.)
6., Overpopulation: (United Nations |, excerpted: According to United Nations‘ estimates, the world population in 2100 may well be sitting somewhere within a range of 15.8 billion …)

A human population approaching 7 billion can be maintained only by desolating the Earth. If wild habitat is given over to human cultivation and habitation, if rainforests can be turned into green deserts, if genetic engineering enables ever-higher yields to be extorted from the thinning soils—then humans will have created for themselves a new geological era, the Eremozoic, the Era of Solitude, in which little remains on the Earth but themselves and the prosthetic environment that keeps them alive. ~ John Gray

Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?

~ Al Bartlett at
What a complex and an alarming mess all of the individual topics above compose! Anyone with even a seminal understanding of the processes described in the information above knows that all of the variables in each section are interlinked and influence others in other sections in synthetic complicated ways. How could they not be deeply interwoven with each other?
We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. And those who have an interest in keeping the machinery of war going are a very powerful body; they will stop at nothing to make public opinion subservient to their murderous ends.  ~ Albert Einstein, 1934

Oh, it’s all not even about this next issue in my view:

Seven generation sustainability. … It originated with the Iroquois – Great Law of the Iroquois – which holds appropriate to think seven generations ahead (about 140 years into the future) and decide whether the decisions they make today would benefit their children seven generations into the future. – From Seven generation sustainability – Wikipedia

It’s all more about this: the fact that we have to act now to cut back in terms of economic growth while addressing other factors, such as in a huge concerted effort made towards changing lifestyle choices for many of us, and that we can’t seem to do so presently en masse. The allurement of consumerism is just too strong and is inculcated as a way to live shortly after birth, it seems.

So it’s simple, in a way. We simply have to change mindsets for a large number of people about the ways that they live. (Oh yeah, simple? Ha-ha — not really.) This process, though, can happen through education so as to shift into major and fundamental change, which MUST happen.

I know that this orientation is correct after discussing it with E. O. Wilson years ago. He’s here if you don’t know about whom he is:

Wilson, is an American biologist, researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity, island biogeography), theorist (consilience, biophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is considered to be the world’s leading expert. ~ From E. O. Wilson – Wikipedia

Please help me as he has done for me by exposing a pathway forward. I can’t pull all off all of these new directions forward by myself and a few others. I need you and associates of yours in tandem to do so. …

Our collective large-scale thrust forward is sickening — literally and figuratively:

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in New Delhi today on a four-day visit. It is widely expected that he will advocate for, among other things, increased coal and Uranium export from Australia to India. The issue of coal export to India gains significance in the backdrop that world’s largest coal mine in Australia is being planned to be developed by Indian company Adani Australia.

Such an export of coal from Australia is being pursued in the guise of “lifting over a Billion Indians from the clutches of poverty”. It is also reported from the Australian media that this mine (Carmichael Coal Mine in the state of Queensland) will produce two types of coal of which the low quality (high ash content) coal is being planned to be exported to India, whereas good quality coal is planned to be sold to other premium markets.

… In this context, the true relevance of coal import from Australia needs to be questioned since it will have huge social and environmental implications also in addition to the cost implications. ~ From Australia, India And Coal Proliferation | Countercurrents

A multi-author 2017 paper in the prestigious UK medical journal The Lancet… ~ From
Latest Lancet Data Imply Adani Australian Coal Project Will Kill 1.4 Million Indians
Yes, please, help me follow E. O. Wilson’s vision of educating.  A relatively few of us simply can’t do this work alone. So I need you to join us as we try to stave off some of the most dire results from the many interconnected dilemmas that I cited above.

As more people get educated and try to change their ways — the more we have a chance of making meaningful levels of improvement. Successful or not — let’s at least try to do so since the alternative of avoiding address of horrid circumstances is not the way forward and could be extraordinarily bleak, indeed!

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
~ Carl Sagan

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    With the increase in population, hunger also increases. People facing starvation will increase and mostly, these people would belong to third world countries like middle east, indian sub – continent and far east. Mere charity cannot solve problem. Short – term measures like importing food items, taking help of voluntary agencies may help temporarily. But, long – term measures are essential which include allowing maximum lands for cropping, providing irrigation system, organic cropping, striving for ecological balance by stopping deforestation and, above all, diverting defence expenditure on agriculture.
    Let there be no wars which pollute lands and minds. Let the expenses on bombs be used to betterment of barren lands to increase agriculture so that the crops van be used to feed the people. Banish hunger from earth! Banish wars and battles to protect humanity!!