Sunday, January 01, 2017

State of the me 2016-2017

Since 2011, I've been writing these yearly posts about where I'm at with my life and my goals. This year I've got a lot going on in my personal life -- in particular, I didn't quite finish part 1 of my comic as planned (there's still the difficult stretch from page 5.5 to page 9 remaining), but I got quite a lot done, and it looks good. But, unfortunately, my personal life has to take a backseat to the tragic state of the world that has arisen this past year.

Specifically, critical amounts of Arctic ice have melted, which means that the feedback loops for catastrophic runaway global warming have begun. The amount of methane frozen in the Arctic absolutely dwarfs the amount in the atmosphere right now. We are dangerously close to having an atmosphere that the ecosystems we rely on can't survive in (and from there, potentially an atmosphere that is too hot for humans to live in at all, even if they had something to eat, which they won't). We are very likely facing extinction within the next twenty years.

The one thing that could potentially halt this deadly course would be if the industrialised world were to recognise this for the international emergency that it is and drop everything to stop it. Unfortunately, the United States has just elected a facist monster who is reigniting the nuclear arms race by conducting foreign policy by posting nuclear threats on Twitter (not to mention defunding NASA's climate research and looking to increase fossil fuel extraction). As the increasing climate catastrophe causes more situations like Syria worldwide, it would take a genius of diplomacy to maintain any kind of global peace. As it is, we will likely be heading into WWIII at this critical moment, and then it's probably curtains for us.

Interestingly, when I mention this situation to friends, I've gotten reactions like, "Back in the 80's, people said acid rain would be a big problem," or "People said we'd run out of fresh water..." But none of these past scares are things that even had the potential to kill everyone. This one can, and if we don't stop it, it will. It's happening -- the global temperature rise is already off the charts.

Naturally, this leads me to a bit of an existential crisis. All my life, I had just assumed the human race would continue long past the end of my expected lifespan, and that I (and my husband and children) would all likely live to old age. Now it's looking possible, but decidedly unlikely.

Is life worth living if we have maybe only another ten years or so of things being more-or-less normal, and then another ten or so of war/starvation/terror, and then death? And not just for me, but for everyone and everything I have ever cared about? As a humanist, I would generally say that my life has meaning due to the positive impact I can have on others' lives and on society, but... it's kind of not the same if all others and society will all be dead too. Now as I look at all of the wonderful things I love about humanity and about life, I feel like I'm saying goodbye.

More than anything I hope we can solve these looming disasters. My deepest wish is that I'll be rereading these words in 2040 or 2050, looking back on how we made it through the critical moment and created a more sustainable society. Alternatively, it would be great if I were simply wrong and delusional -- I'd rather spend the rest of my days locked up in a mental hospital with my drawing tablet than have the situation be as dire as it appears to be.

I'm planning to write another few posts in the coming month or so, to discuss what we're up against, and what we have going for us that may allow us to survive this. I'm not going to sit back and wait for this to happen. We'll succeed in rolling back climate change or die trying...

Happy New Year. :'(