Kurt on climate change

America has produced humorists, literary giants and all and I think Kurt Vonnegut must be included in that pantheon. In A man without a country, he writes

I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are, they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum.

He continues to write

We are killing this planet as a life support system with the poisons [] and practically nobody cares. I think the planet’s immune system is trying to get rid of us with AIDS and new strains of flu and tuberculosis and so on. I think the planet should get rid of us.

But it is the epitaph that I find most beautiful

The good Earth- we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

by David Wallace- Wells

I will be honest and state it here that i read 2/3 of the book and quit. I should have done so much earlier but you all know what sunk costs mean.

You might ask why I didn’t finish? Well, first I think the book has the wrong title. It should be the Uninhabitable California. In the first section of the book California gets more treatment than the whole continent of Africa. You might call me petty, but I have come to find books that pretend to deal with global issues while treating Africa as a footnote impossible to read. I can’t. I am African and Africa is in me. When David mentions the coastal cities that are threatened with ocean flooding, he can’t find any such coast in Africa. Well, he mentions Asia a bit, maybe because they are so many there but that’s just it.

I found the book too alarmist. I don’t deny the reality of climate change. But the picture Wallace paints is one such that one would be tempted to say why do anything when 2100 looks like the final chapter to the earth as we know. We can wait for 2100 and act from there, that is if those who will survive flooding and heat will act together to avoid human extinction.

His long sentences almost killed me. Sometimes you even get lost in a sentence.

The point he makes that I agree with is that the countries that have not polluted as much will unfortunately bear the greatest burden of climate change while at the same time being unable or unprepared to cope with the challenges. If the earth heats up by say 1 or 2 degrees, places that are already hot are likely to get hotter, heat waves in summers may increase and such which are matters of real concern.

He also makes the point, which i think is reasonable that individual action is insufficient in the challenge we face. To address any human caused climate calamities, we have to do it collectively- politically. And banning single use plastics-straws and all- is a commendable effort, it does little to nothing in ameliorating global warming- human caused or otherwise.

Does the book advance scholarship on climate science? I think not. In fact, I don’t think it helps much in moving the discussion about climate change by being too alarmist. It’s almost a put off.

He is right on some other thing. Our forefathers left almost no mark on the earth. The period we call pre-history is much longer than the duration we have been around. Let’s all hope that this is not the end of history as Fukuyama claimed. I don’t want this to be the end of history. You see, Hegel, that renowned thinker said Africa had no history or something to that effect and I don’t think Fukuyama’s end of history has Africa as a chapter- maybe as a footnote. SO you see, this is personal. I want time, long enough time, for Africa to have history.

Maybe some of you who have read the book have a different feeling and I would love to hear your thoughts on the book.

Happy weekend friends. Enemies also.

The uninhabitable planet

Is the book I am currently reading and to say that it presents a scary picture of our planet’s future would be an understatement.

The author argues that the climate crisis is worse than most of us think. And the worst bit of it all is that those countries that have ravaged the planet the most will not suffer the most, at least at the beginning. This is ironic justice.

Whether we should have children given what is coming? The author argues to not have is to surrender before even the battle has been won or lost. It reminds me almost of Albert Camus and his writings on the absurd life. Kirilov commits suicide because life is absurd. For Dostoyevsky, faith is what overcomes an absurd life.

Places in Kenya and east Africa generally have in the past month been receiving crazy rains. Some places have seen rains last seen 25 years ago and others received rains in one day they usually receive in a month.

While Ark doesn’t watch the news, Venice declared an emergency last week or the week before because of flooding. The water mark was last hit 100(?) or so years ago.

And below is a video of just how things are this side of the woods.

what is our purpose?

Well, according to George Carlin, the earth wanted plastic didn’t know how to make it. What does it do? It evolves man to make plastic.

In short, our purpose was to make plastic (they say it is non biodegradable) and then die out. So don’t worry my friends, we all gonna die, sooner or later and the earth and universe will not miss us. It is just the way things are.