The Climate Emergency is the greatest threat to ever face mankind. Without World War II level efforts of diverting funding, workers, and news coverage to this issue, I fear humanity will not live to see the 22nd century.
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Those ideas have long since died out… or so we thought. NPR’s Codeswitch covers the return (if it ever left) of ‘Race Science’.
“After the Second World War, when we saw eugenics play out — saw the consequences of Nazi racial hygiene in the Holocaust — the world kind of took a collective intake of breath and tried to put its house in order. So scientists, policymakers, the United Nations all came together and decided race has no place in biology anymore. It’s not scientifically accurate. Race is not how difference plays out in the real world.
“But there were two problems with this. Number one was the hardcore scientific racists. This includes Nazi race scientists. So the ones who believed that whites were superior, that slavery was justified, that segregation was justified. They kept scientific racism alive within a small, but very active, global network.
“The other aspect is mainstream science. Did everyday scientists really abandon these ideas completely? My argument is no. They clung on to them partly because, of course, racism was still there in society. We still had racism all around the world, discrimination embedded in the structures of institutions. And that means even to this day, there are still scientists who, despite knowing better and despite being mainstream, good-hearted, well-intentioned scientists, still sometimes invoke race in scientific research, particularly medical research, when it’s inappropriate.“
In accordance with the “One country, two systems” principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, the socialist system of the People’s Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. This would have left Hong Kong unchanged until 2047.
Citizens in Hong Kong have begun a general strike, now 14,000 strong, targeting the city’s industrial infrastructure. They reason that if crowds of millions can’t get this bill withdrawn, then they will shut the city down. This has only furthered tensions with the government. Politician Junius Ho called for the deaths of pro-independence activists: “If those who are pro-independence lead to the subversion of the fate of the country; with Hong Kong and the 1.3 billion people in the motherland having to pay a huge price, why shouldn’t these people be killed?”
Protesters are wising up to police tactics. The Guardian reports that demonstrators in the streets are now working together using ‘flash mob tactics’ to evade authorities.
“Ahead of a city-wide strike and simultaneous protests in seven districts, on Sunday night protesters evaded and frustrated the police by holding flashmob demonstrations. Groups of protesters scattered, switching locations at the last minute and disappearing before riot police were able to arrive en masse.”
An anonymous spokesperson for the strike’s leadership, providing only the name ‘Chan,’ says this strike is the only way forward, as the Hong Kong government “did not pay heed to people’s demands.”
“Various sectors have expressed their views in most peaceful ways. But, the government did not listen to them,” Chan says. Not only has the government failed to listen to the protesters, they have sent police after them with violent, non-lethal weapons, and condoned the mass gathering of thugs in white shirts who ambushed, attacked, and hospitalized the peaceful Hong Kongers, while the police closed their doors and ignored emergency phone calls.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The time to act isn’t today or tomorrow. It was years ago. Today, the world’s climate continues to accelerate as governments cave to public pressure at a trickle, passing piecemeal legislation that only scratches the surface of what needs to be done to mitigate the worst case predictions for the climate emergency. When once we thought we had centuries, we now know there are only 12 years left.
One factor frustrating the issue is that the people who contribute most to the worsening climate are not the same people suffering from its effects. “Compare it to the map above. It’s not the same people at all. In economics this is called a ‘negative externality’. Some people get the benefits, other people get the bill.” says writerIndi Samarajiva, “America, Europe, Russia, and China get the benefits of pollution and fossil fuels. Which is perhaps why they are pretending the problem doesn’t exist. Or asking for timid solutions. Because they’re making money off it, and someone else is paying.” He links to a “more robust map” here.
Already we see niche species struggling to survive, as ecological ‘surprises’ make generalist species more prone to stability. A paper by multiple scientists recently published to PNAS reads” Anthropogenic climate change is now adding strong trends on top of existing natural variability. These trends elevate the frequency of “surprises”—conditions that are unexpected based on recent history. Here, we show that the frequency of surprising ocean temperatures has increased even faster than expected based on recent temperature trends. Using a simple model of human adaptation, we show that these surprises will increasingly challenge natural modes of adaptation that rely on historical experience.”
And those are tropical regions. The rapidly worsening climate emergency is now affecting our arctic regions at alarming rates that we didn’t think were possible for another lifetime. In Alaska, sea ice has entirely melted away for the first time; a region that even in warm summers retained some of its ice. “I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change],” exclaimed Jeremy Mathis, an Arctic researcher and board director at the National Academies of Sciences in an interview with Mashable, “I’m running out of adjectives to describe the scope of change we’re seeing.”
“We are a loving nation,” Trump speaks in a softer tone than he is known for, “and our children deserve to grow up in a just, peaceful, loving society.” The 45th President of the United States delivered a somber address today following two mass shootings over the weekend; one perpetrated by a racist white-supremacist, who expressed support for the Christchurch shooter, the other for unknown reasons. Trump commonly receives criticism from citizens and allied countries for his failure to condemn racists and white supremacists, and at times for being racist himself.
“We vow to act with urgent resolve.” states Trump.
“Today we also send the condolences of our nation to President Obrador of Mexico, and all the people of Mexico for the loss of their citizens in the El Paso shooting; terrible, terrible thing.” Despite Trump’s condolences, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that families of the El Paso victims have plans to sue the United States.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
The Climate Emergency, formerly known as Climate Change, is ramping up. Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) has come forward, telling the world about Greenland’s mass melt-off. 197 billion tons of ice, gone. Many parts of the world have joined the fight against Climate Change, committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“It comes in a summer where the Arctic has experienced “unprecedented” wildfires, which scientists say have been facilitated by high temperatures.
Since the start of June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), has tracked more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle.
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at a faster rate than the global average, providing the right conditions for wildfires to spread, Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECWMF), told CNN last week.”
So imagine we are the Titanic, and we’ve seen the iceberg coming at us for forty years or so. Nobody really cared much or put much thought into it until the last twenty years. Right, here we are, twelve years to throw the ship into full reverse and dodge the deadly iceberg. Sounds like a plan, let’s do it. Only…that’s not what most governments are doing. The UK’s ‘net-zero by 2050’ plan is the equivalent of killing the throttle, but not reversing it, about twenty years after we’ve slammed into the ice and are well on our way to the bottom of the sea. The final cherry on top? Some people have seen the iceberg, decided it doesn’t exist, and started throwing passengers who do see it overboard.
The Pentagon is testing large, unmanned blimps in order to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats ” on US soil, according to a recent “experimental temporary authorization” published by the FCC. The solar-powered balloons are similar to a prototype craft that crashed in Pennsylvania in 2015, after escaping the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a military installation in Maryland, and would provide the government with perpetually powered, high-definition coverage of large geographic areas. Even more invasive, perhaps, than spy satellites.
“Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.” writes The Guardian. “The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.”
The US has a touchy relationship with mass surveillance, despite it largely having become the norm in the rest of the world. This isn’t surprising to Americans, who have largely opposed domestic surveillance and spying, even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, which saw the bipartisan passing of the 2001 Patriot Act, a bill that greatly expanded the powers of law enforcement agencies in investigating domestic terrorism under US President George W. Bush. The bill received public criticism for also compromising the security and privacy of innocent Americans. Components of the bill were granted a four year extension in 2011 by US President Barack Obama.
In 2004, then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III defended the controversial act, stating “the Patriot Act has proved extraordinarily beneficial in the war on terrorism and has changed the way the FBI does business. Many of our counterterrorism (sic) successes, in fact, are the direct results of provisions included in the Act…”
17 years later, American citizens’ fears about the Patriot Act, and further mass surveillance, have largely been realized. In 2013, ex-CIA systems administrator Edward Snowden, leaked a substantial amount of data on secret, government spy programs that he felt the American public deserved to know. This includes previously unknown capabilities like the “bulk collection of phone and internet metadata from U.S. users, spying on the personal communications of foreign leaders including U.S. allies, and the NSA’s ability to tap undersea fiber optic cables and siphon off data.” As well as “releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into ‘honey traps.'”
These balloons are the latest in the continuing trend of growing mass surveillance in the US. Ex-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter describes use of similar devices in the Middle East nearly ten years ago: “You can spot someone burying an IED or setting up a checkpoint on a road near you; you can catch someone about to mortar your base; you (can) check whether the market is open in a nearby village.”
In the present day, more advanced models will be tested and utilized on US soil to, officially, better track and prevent drug trafficking shipments from entering the US. Naturally, citizens worry about what else they’ll be used for. In the past, new and invasive surveillance technologies have been abused, and some worry this latest development will be no different.
“We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Even in tests, they’re still collecting a lot of data on Americans: who’s driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer’s clinic,” he said. “We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less. …if they decide that it’s usable domestically, there’s going to be enormous pressure to deploy it.”