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just another canary in the coal mine…

July 25, 2013

The most fascinating statistics to me are (what I call) – the first timers. They are the type of statistic you fall over when you open a magazine or newspaper (like I did today) and you read that “for the first time in recorded history, and for the first time in the last 10,000 years, on July 22nd, 2013, it was hot enough to melt the ice on the Arctic polar ice cap; in fact it was hot enough to create a lake of water atop the ice on the Arctic Ice Cap.”

I call these by the obvious and often over-used cliche: my canary in a coalmine stats.

Other recent examples include: in 2006 or 2007 (I can’t remember now), for the first time in history, more people on the planet now lived in urban developments rather than in rural areas. More people now live in cities, than in the countryside.

It is expected to be 75% urban by 2030. (Canadians are about 85% urban dwellers.)

Last week I read that for the first time in modern history, in the first quarter of 2013, more of the world’s GDP came from the “developing” world, than from Europe and America. 51% of global GDP, in the first quarter of 2013, came from the developing world. To put this perspective, in 1973, the US alone accounted for 75% of global GDP; all by itself. It is now less than 25%, and dropping year-to-year.)

The canary-in-a-coalmine-stats tell us that the times are about to change in amazing and magical and confusing and frightening ways, and when I tell people about these stats, (and always assuming they will be as fascinated by these stats as I am!), I am always amazed at how indifferent most people of my generation are to these things. People just shrug their shoulders and give you a “Meh, what can you do?” And the quick “Whattya’ya think of that Leaf’s trade?” conversation re-direct.

I am heartened by the fact that there is a whole new generation of activists coming up behind me, that more and more young people are interested in going “back to the farm” (and are doing it); that more and more people are supporting local Farmer’s Markets, and are bicycling, and are grateful to the farmers and small businesses that are trying to make it in the world by growing and selling organic food; that more people are focusing more of their food spending on local consumption. I am glad that like ideas like sustainability, solar, and food security are gaining traction in popular culture.

Their numbers may only still be in the minority, but their voices are growing, and more and more people are coming around to a sustainable way of thinking.

And I am heartened to know that some of these young people know that they may very well be (like certain people knew in the Dark Ages, and in Revolutions), that they will be the keepers of the monasteries, and the seeds of the gardens; and they will protect, as best they can, (some with their lives) humanity’s scrolls of knowledge – that “fresh sea breeze of history” – from the fires of ignorance and fascism, when the collapse comes.

(And if you do not think that the fall is coming, then you know little about statistics, or Historical processes. (And I’m not talking about the Biblical Fall, or bullshit like that. I’m talking about the fall that starts happening about a 1/4 – 1/2 century before the end of Empires.) 

But, at this point, I am not convinced, in any way, that their numbers will get large enough, quickly enough, to stop the tide of historical inevitability. I think they will be the first to pick up the pieces after the ransacking is over, but I also know that a lot of them will get trampled to death in the process.

What is most sad for me, is the seemingly inevitable-ness of it all. It is here that I can now most understand George Orwell”s lament, that he sent in a letter to a friend 15 years before the start of the First World War, (that I first read as a 22-year-old) when he sighed in resignation at the fact that the European Men of Power were so desperately in want of a good and hearty war, that they would drag the whole world down just to get it going. 

Look at America. It is so primely situated to economically and environmentally and socially re-design itself, to stop caring about being the #1 economic superpower in the world, and just focus all that enormous wealth on being a mature well functioning democratic society. They have more than enough resources, more than enough sunshine, more than enough intelligence.

Rather, like in all times of economic turmoil and new forced-upon external economic realities (the primary being: China and India, if allowed to replicate the American capitalist model, will not be be matched for economic power once their economic societies are realized), America would rather tear itself apart than move forward. No, that’s not entirely true. That’s carelessly worded. I think it is more accurate to say – “that those who want to be political leaders during these times of change, often seem to rise from the Pits of Hell, for they slather and snarl at each other, and at those who don’t agree with them, in a way that reminds me how easily the Brownshirts could re-appear, or the burning crosses, or the lynchings. They are destroyers and they find they have the most power, and the most success, in the spaces between civilizations. They are minions of the Four Horsemen.) 

So our young ones are going to be ‘up-against-it’, as the old timers say. The drums of fascism are again in the air. Maybe they are only a quiet steady rhythm far off on the horizon – but the canaries in the coal mines are starting to drop like flies – every day the drums beat just a little bit louder – and soon, (for we have the stats to prove it), there will be no canaries at all.  



One Comment leave one →
  1. August 2, 2013 2:15 pm

    As a US Citizen I can only quietly agree with you while hiding in the closet and hoping no one can tell that I clicked the like button on this post :-).

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