I’ve been stuck on this section for a long time. His direct address to the reader floored me the first time I read it, cost me sleep for several nights. He writes:
Our norms of behaviour, that we call our “civilisation,” may also degrade. When we contemplate this possibility, it can seem abstract. The words I ended the previous paragraph with may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.
I mean, that used to be my favorite fiction. But reading that made it clear that I don’t want it applied to me. And yet, for hundreds of thousands, it is already true. We have discussed climate migrants here before; those are the intentional migrations, moving with some hope. But the wave of refugees from climate crises in Syria and Central America show what desperation driven migration is going to be like. My friend observed that it only took one migration event from a drought-and-war dissolved country to severely test Europe and America, bringing out bigotry that may yet break our countries. But we are going to have dozens of waves of desperation driven migration, from dry places, flooded places, places inundated by the sea. If we can’t handle even one of the early events… .
One reader wrote me that Bendell’s assertions are only that, no more authoritative than Bendell’s understanding. With that in mind, I noticed another assertion with no support in Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order. In the Whereases:
Frankly, Bendell’s assertion that we’re all gonna die seems a lot more likely than the EO’s bland assertion that doing it all is necessary and possible. Where’s the evidence that it is possible?! Our watersheds are not being kept alive on the water rations they have now and the resistance to transferring water from the monetary economy to the physical ecosystem is fierce. The only way I can make sense of that statement is that perhaps the vagueness of the collective nouns disguises a contraction of community, ag and industrial water use.
This is all I’ve got on the Apocalypse Uncertain section, despite its considerable effect on me. I am eagerly looking forward to the next section, because I’ve a lot to say on Systems of Denial and California water.