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Offbeat – 21 June 2013

I wanted my child to have a prosperous future. Unfortunately now, it seems, I will have to settle for a future that is survivable.

I wanted to write something about Gobabis, but it won’t come. It makes me sound like a stuck record. It makes me feel depressed. There’s always some barracks lawyer in the wings waiting to mess everything up. “No, the group areas act was never a way of getting around the Christian principle of  love, or at least acknowledge and respect, your neighbour.”
Let’s get grim in a different way instead.
I saw ‘After Earth’ this weekend, a Father’s Day outing. I didn’t know it was an M. Knight Shyamalan film. I didn’t know he directed, so I just watched it and enjoyed it as a sci-fi romp with space ships, gadgets and strange creatures. Critics have to earn their keep so they disliked it. I suspect they want Shyamalan to make ‘The Sixth Sense’ again.
One of the things that a lot of people carped on about was the noises in space. According to physicists there is no noise in space, but that’s just physicists. Anyone who has seen the Star Wars movies, and even George Lucas himself, will tell you that there is lots of noise in space.
There was some rumbling about nepotism because it was Smith and Son. Clearly the critics were clutching at straws to get the audience to stay away from the movie. These are probably the same critics who said that Pirates of the Caribbean was rubbish as well.
Suffice to say, it was a good movie for Father’s Day and a lot of fun for the kid in my life.
The thing that also struck me was the vision of the planet a thousand years from now. After the planet is evacuated, Will Smith and his offspring return to earth after a mildly spectacular accident of space flight. The environment they encounter is extremely hostile. Obviously the atmosphere is almost unbreathable and equally obviously, evolution sped up to create the challenges for Smith Junior.
As I sat there watching all the adventure, I wondered what the future will be like for my child? An article on one of the larger sites, hidden amongst all the stuff about spying, brought some kind of truth home to me.
The language of climate change has shifted now. The talk about ‘carbon emission reductions’ will die back. The term will be replaced by the words ‘carbon adaptation’.
Reduction, as an immediate solution, is politically and economically naïve. Unemployment and curbs on consumption are recipes for disaster. People want their wealth and comforts now, and are quite happy to ignore the future
Humanity has shown that it only learns from experience. The experience that humanity is about to gain will be brutal: starvation, poverty, weather disasters, water conflict and a body count that will make the genocidal moments of the Twentieth Century look tame by comparison.
How bad will it be? Take the letter ‘V’ and lie it on its side over the standard Cartesian axes. That’s the most recent version of projected population growth. The population of earth may conceivably begin to decline from this point on.
I have to be cynical and say, “Bring on the disasters.” The quicker we can get past the awful bits, the quicker we can get to the point where our experience begins to teach us something. Aside from adaptation, we will also, finally, learn the lesson of the need to reduce emissions, and how to consume less to balance out our sustainability as a species.
Unfortunately, I think that instead of parceling out the resources on an equitable basis, humanity will revert to type and it will be a competitive nightmare. Those resources which can be held will be denied to all but the strongest.
I look at what I have written here, and it seems difficult to absorb, even though I have written it before. On the other hand, everything points to the reality. The rush for cereal crops has begun on a national basis, particularly in the Mediterranean and Gulf states. Conflict over the Nile has begun, Seaside cities are beginning to take precautionary measures.
I wanted my child to have a prosperous future. Unfortunately now, it seems, I will have to settle for a future that is survivable.

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