Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba came up with the concept for “A Dawn in the Life” while (as usual) he was supposed to be doing something else on the sixth of August 2021, a Friday. He actually sat down to write the piece early on the following Sunday afternoon. It was therefore conceived, and mostly composed, before the release of the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the global stadium concert of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that resulted.
The original title was “A Day in the Life”, and the story was intended to follow Leonard, Carla, and their [ahem] purchased household staff through all of what, for them, is a somewhat normal workday – in a world in which the Industrial Revolution has been abruptly undone, and, as will be seen should the rest of the story get written, brutally kept undone. The tale is part of a set in which, either the world’s societies have collapsed due to climate change, or some player on the world stage has taken apocalyptic action to forestall it. “A Day/Dawn in the Life” is in the latter category.
As matters now stand, YFNA got Leonard’s tribe through breakfast before the “something else” caught up with him and insisted on his attention, lest he wind up in a worse plight than Leonard’s.
About that weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. It is, of course, all over “the news” on this 9th day of August, as media profiteers try to cash in on the IPCC’s latest 15 minutes of fame. And not just the big players. Randall Munroe of the webcomic “xkcd” has gotten in on the act, grafting a personal timeline on ExxonMobil’s uncannily accurate 1982 forecast of how much extra carbon dioxide would be in the Earth’s atmosphere in 2021 CE. And saying how scary this all is. Cue Chucky. Hey, maybe a tie-in with the IPCC will help raise the profiles, and scare factors, of both franchises, and help the Child’s Play producers weather the loss of revenue from theatre closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Big scares are profitable!
Yes, worry is the theme of the hour. Along with screams for somebody to do something.
In every previous iteration, the screaming has lasted just long enough for people to realize that (OMG!!) “somebody” means me. And we have gone right back to demanding more of the kind of stuff that will eventually suffocate us.
In 2014, YFNA put into the mouths of Reg and Syd a simple calculation that he made, of the amount of energy each citizen would be permitted in the second decade of the 21st century, in order for total energy consumption in the USA to match its consumption in 1957 – remembering that the population has doubled in the intervening 60+ years. The year that Reg and Syd came up with that would satisfy the ask: 1904. No heavier-than-air aircraft. No home air conditioning. No computers. Few cars. Few electrical grids. Most fuel and lubrication oils still came from whales, or castor beans.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba still remembers, with bitterness, the year (yes, it was 2014) that he walked the 2.5 miles to and from his workplace, and when he explained why to his workmates, and suggested that this was going to be something we all had to do to address climate change, he was curtly told “It will never happen.”
By scientists active in climate change research.
The year 2020 gave us a dry run of what it would be like to try to arrest climate change, when the COVID-19 pandemic induced global economic shutdowns. The resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was a miniscule down payment on even what the IPCC then thought to be the least needed to derail the climate change engine, never mind YFNA’s “1904” figure. The resulting economic devastation was profound – just as had been predicted, four years earlier, by a scientist who was hounded off the world stage for being a “climate change denialist” (i.e., one who refuses to accept at face value all the pronouncements of the climate change propagandists) and stating his calculus of what the cost of precipitous withdrawal of fossil fuel energy from world economies would be.
“Screw climate change! Give us back our jobs! Give us back our vacations!!”
There are now more greenhouse gas-belching aircraft in the skies than there were before the pandemic hit. And computers are working nonstop to belch out blockchain-generated funny money, and carbon dioxide to match the airplanes. And pound out mass entertainment for studios and actors to squabble over.
Construction of the Wunderwaffe that the world is counting on to let us continue as we are without suffocating the planet faces daunting, perhaps insurmountable, shortages of raw materials, space, and supporting infrastructure. Again, just as stated by that same ostracized scientist. Who argued that the strategy most likely to successfully lower greenhouse emissions was universally-adopted personal reductions in energy consumption. Just as the most successful strategy to combat COVID-19 has been universally-adopted personal reductions in mobility and social interactions, i.e. “liberty”. The personal reductions have been adopted in China and New Zealand, and COVID-19 still has had a small impact on these nations. The scientist conceded that the energy strategy most likely to succeed is the one least likely to be adopted. Especially in a nation that cannot even induce its citizens to wear masks to save themselves and their loved ones, and that leads the world in COVID contagion (and profiteering) as a result.
It is useless, it says here, for people to rail against governments, or industries, or scientists, or any other iteration of them. They are doing the people’s bidding, not the reverse, for this is the path of profit. “Rule 1: the customer is always right. Rule 2: if the customer is wrong, see Rule 1.” They are not the ones causing climate change. We are. You, and me, and the daily habits each one of us refuses to relinquish, in the face of all the evidence. We ain’t gonna take it, we have shown we ain’t gonna take it for decades now, and it is useless, nay disingenuous, nay criminal, for any of us to pretend otherwise.
All that is left is for Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba to tell stories. Perhaps even profit from them, as Dame Amoeba and her friends have been insisting that YFNA try to do. While there is still time. While there is still something available to buy with any such profits.
Before YFNA’s life becomes like Leonard’s.