COVID19 shows us why we can’t survive global warming

Greta Thunberg, from FB page.

Greta Thunberg, my favorite 17 year old truth teller , is alone among punditry in voicing some obvious truths that apply to both the Corona19 virus and global warming in general. Long story short, she suspects she’s been infected with the coronavirus. She wrote about it here:

The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father – who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever.
In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves.

I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances.

Now I’ve basically recovered, but – AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultaneously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough.
And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups.
We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others.

So she acknowledges that people who are fortunate enough to self-shelter and keep their homes are the lucky ones. But here’s the thing (and I can’t find the link). She also acknowledges that whatever sacrifice we’re going through right now to fight the virus is a PIN PRICK compared to what we’d have to do to turn around global warming.

Think of what hunkering down for COVID19 has cost us in terms of our daily schedule:

  • staying inside and traveling out of the house infrequently, and then only with gloves and mask on;
  • loss of fulltime work for many people (upwards of 30 million American people unemployed, and very few people being reimbursed for unemployment from the ‘gig economy’);
  • loss of money (see above). This is true in the US, where our people struggle without income (except for the unfortunates who deliver our food or run the grocery checkout)
  • being masked when outside;
  • squirreling away lots of food and necessities (the famous toilet paper emergency we’ve all come to know).
graffiti at an ‘open the economy’ protest.

Does this sound horrible? Does going without a haircut or pedi-mani justify people in the streets? One of the laughers for me during the 2016 Presidential election was when Sanders’ supporters prevailed upon the Clinton campaign to mount a ‘WWII MOBILIZATION STYLE PLAN TO END CLIMATE CHANGE’. I wrote about it here:

That was (to me) a perfectly reasonable stand to take. But Hillary’s supporters mostly pretended it hadn’t passed, and I don’t remember Clinton addressing it during the campaign. Any plan to end climate change would include sacrifice, including rationing. Here’s what WWII rationing looked like:

  • Gasoline rationed. Some folks didn’t drive from Pearl Harbor Day to VJ Day. 
  • No new autos built from 1942 to 1945. If your car needed to be replaced, you were out of luck. 
  • Tires in really low supply. Cars without tires don’t move.
  • Shortages in all sorts of consumer products–women’s hemlines went up because the fabric was going for uniforms and bandages. Women didn’t wear sheer stockings because the materials were being used for parachutes. you didn’t buy new clothes or shoes very often. The ‘zoot suit’ went out of fashion because it used too much fabric.
  • Food rationing–people were growing their own food in ‘victory gardens’ because things like sugar and meat were rationed. people didn’t have much butter, for example.

This was far more draconian than the restrictions we have under Covid 19, and we survived it for four years (though the rationing had lead to lots of black market sales and a thriving barter economy).

But here’s my point about what COVID19 and our response to it tells us about global warming. If we had a snowball’s chance of avoiding mass extinction by 2030 (the date Dr. Guy McPherson has long said was the end of human habitat), we’d have to adopt nearly all the items on the WWII mobilization. We’ve got ‘Muricans who bring up Concord and Lexington to justify why they ‘require’ a hair cut or a bowling date, pandemic be damned. How would they react if you said all THOSE restrictions plus a bunch of others are what was necessary to save human habitat for the current generation?

Here’s one protester demanding that we open everything back up as soon as possible for ‘the economy’.

Which brings us back to the despair of Greta Thunberg. “If the coronavirus crisis has shown us one thing, it is that our society is not sustainable,” she said. “If one single virus can destroy economies in a couple of weeks, it shows we are not thinking long-term and taking risks into account.” The majority of ‘real’ scientists (not the Youtube Cowboys, and not the current IPOTUS) are arguing that best case is that we’ll have a vaccine no earlier than 2021-2022. And if we can’t sacrifice enough to stop COVID19 for 24 months, how would we ever undertake the sacrifices needed to keep global warming from destroying the planet? Greta Thunberg has intuited that humans don’t have enough intestinal fortitude to survive COVID19 for a long period. If we can’t sacrifice to survive COVID19, we don’t have it in us to sacrifice over preventing mass extinction.

Poor dinosaurs. Concentrating on the wrong crisis.

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