“You say the ocean’s rising,
Like I give a shit,
You say the whole world’s ending,
Honey, it already did.”
– All Eyes On Me by Bo Burnham
The world that many of us grew up in is already gone, replaced by a world of superstorms, megadroughts, brutal heat waves, rising sea levels, toxic chemicals, and mass extinction. It happened so gradually that most people didn’t even notice, but they will soon.
Many people, particularly those in first-world countries, have been relatively insulated from the effects of the polycrisis, even if they have seen their standard of living drop. So it’s easy for them to dismiss warnings about the end of the world.
I’ve often heard people say things like, “What’s with all the doom and gloom? Sure, the weather is a little worse, but for the most part, things are fine.” The purpose of this article is to prove that things are not fine. In fact, things are worse than ever, and it’s all downhill from here.
Civilization was born during the Holocene, an epoch that lasted about 10,000 years. During this time, the average global temperature was incredibly stable, never varying more than 1°C. As a result, weather patterns were also very stable, creating conditions that were perfect for societies to flourish.
With more predictable weather, farmers were able to greatly expand agriculture, and the ability to stockpile grain contributed to the development of the first civilizations. Humans have had the intelligence necessary to form civilizations for about 300,000 years, but the Holocene made it possible.
We inherited a beautiful world covered with vast forests and teeming with millions of species. And in just a couple hundred years, we destroyed it. Forests are dying, countless species are going extinct, and the weather has become increasingly dangerous and unpredictable.
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