Send a Tweet
- Advertisement -
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 27 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/30/19

Great Flood

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   9 comments
Author 28678
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Chris Hedges
Become a Fan
  (452 fans)

From Truthdig


(Image by Mr. Fish/Truthdig)   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

In 2017, Chris Hedges wrote about American society's refusal to confront climate change and sea rise. Now, in a month when a hurricane flooded parts of Louisiana and other states and when the Mississippi and some other rivers were at menacing levels, Truthdig reposts that Sept. 10, 2017, column. A new article by Hedges will appear Aug. 12 after he returns from vacation.

How many times will we rebuild Florida's cities, Houston, coastal New Jersey, New Orleans and other population centers ravaged by storms lethally intensified by global warming? At what point, surveying the devastation and knowing more is inevitable, will we walk away, leaving behind vast coastal dead zones? Will we retreat even further into magical thinking to cope with the fury we have unleashed from the natural world? Or will we respond rationally and radically alter our relationship to this earth that gives us life?

Civilizations over the past 6,000 years have unfailingly squandered their futures through acts of colossal stupidity and hubris. We are probably not an exception. The physical ruins of these empires, including the Mesopotamian, Roman, Mayan and Indus, litter the earth. They elevated, during acute distress, inept and corrupt leaders who channeled anger, fear and dwindling resources into self-defeating wars and vast building projects. The ruling oligarchs, driven by greed and hedonism, retreated into privileged compounds -- the Forbidden City, Versailles -- and hoarded wealth as their populations endured mounting misery and poverty. The worse it got, the more the people lied to themselves and the more they wanted to be lied to. Reality was too painful to confront. They retreated into what anthropologists call "crisis cults," which promised the return of the lost world through magical beliefs.

- Advertisement -

"The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present," philosopher and psychologist William James wrote, "and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose."

We are entering this final phase of civilization, one in which we are slashing the budgets of the very agencies that are vital to prepare for the devastation ahead -- the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration dealing with climate change. Hurricane after hurricane, monster storm after monster storm, flood after flood, wildfire after wildfire, drought after drought will gradually cripple the empire, draining its wealth and resources and creating swathes of territory defined by lawlessness and squalor.

These dead zones will obliterate not only commercial and residential life but also military assets. As Jeff Goodell points out in "The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World," "The Pentagon manages a global real estate portfolio that includes over 555,000 facilities and 28 million acres of land -- virtually all of it will be impacted by climate change in some way."

- Advertisement -

As this column is being written, three key military facilities in Florida are evacuated: the Miami-area headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America; the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, in charge of operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia; and the Naval Air Station in Key West. There will soon come a day when obliteration of infrastructure will prohibit military operations from returning. Add to the list of endangered military installations Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. missile base in the Marshall Islands, the U.S. naval base on Diego Garcia and numerous other military sites in coastal areas and it becomes painfully clear that the existential peril facing the empire is not in the Middle East but in the seas and the skies. There are 128 U.S. military installations at risk from rising sea levels, including Navy, Air Force, Marine and Army facilities in Virginia. Giant vertical rulers dot the highway outside the Norfolk naval base to allow motorists to determine if the water is too deep to drive through. In two decades, maybe less, the main road to the base will be impassable at high tide daily.

Cities across the globe, including London, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Lagos, Copenhagen, New Orleans, San Francisco, Savannah, Ga., and New York, will become modern-day versions of Atlantis, along with countries such as Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands and large parts of New Zealand and Australia. There are 90 coastal cities in the U.S. that endure chronic flooding, a number that is expected to double in the next two decades. National economies will go into tailspins as wider and wider parts of the globe suffer catastrophic systems breakdown. Central authority and basic services will increasingly be nonexistent. Hundreds of millions of people, desperate for food, water and security, will become climate refugees. Nuclear power plants, including Turkey Point, which is on the edge of Biscayne Bay south of Miami, will face meltdowns, such as the accident that occurred in the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after it was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami. These plants will spew radioactive waste into the sea and air. Exacerbated by disintegration of the polar ice caps, the catastrophes will be too overwhelming to manage. We will enter what James Howard Kunstler calls "the long emergency." When that happens, our experiment in civilization might approach an end.

"The amount of real estate at risk in New York is mind-boggling: 72,000 buildings worth over $129 billion stand in flood zones today, with thousands more buildings at risk with each foot of sea-level rise," writes Goodell. "In addition, New York has a lot of industrial waterfront, where toxic materials and poor communities live in close proximity, as well as a huge amount of underground infrastructure -- subways, tunnels, electrical systems. Finally, New York is a sea-level-rise hot spot. Because of changes in ocean dynamics, as well as the fact that the ground beneath the city is sinking as the continent recovers from the last ice age, seas are now rising about 50 percent faster in the New York area than the global average."

A society in crisis flees to the reassuring embrace of con artists and charlatans. Critics who ring alarm bells are condemned as pessimists who offer no "hope," the drug that keeps a doomed population passive. The current administration -- which removed Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan from the White House website as soon as Donald Trump took office -- and the Republican Party are filled with happy climate deniers. They have adopted a response to climate change similar to that of the Virginia Legislature: ban discussion of climate change and replace the term with the less ominous "recurrent flooding." This denial of reality -- one also employed by those who assure us we can adapt -- is driven by fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries that along with the rich and corporations fund the political campaigns of elected officials. They fear that a rational, effective response to climate change will impede profits. Our corporate media, dependent on advertising dollars, contributes to the conspiracy of silence. It ignores the patterns and effects of climate change, focusing instead on feel-good stories about heroic rescues or dramatic coverage of flooded city centers and storm refugee caravans fleeing up the coast of Florida.

Droughts, floods, famines and disease will eventually see the collapse of social cohesion in large parts of the globe, including U.S. coastal areas. The insecurity, hunger and desperation among the dispossessed of the earth will give rise to ad hoc militias, crime and increased acts of terrorism. The Pentagon report"An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States Security" is blunt. "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life," it grimly concludes.

But as Goodell points out, "In today's political climate, open discussion of the security risks of climate change is viewed as practically treasonous." When in 2014 then-Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction" and compared it to the effects of terrorism, epidemics and poverty, the right-wing trolls, from John McCain to Newt Gingrich, went into a frenzy. Gingrich called for Kerry's resignation because "a delusional secretary of state is dangerous to our safety."

- Advertisement -

James Woolsey, the former head of the CIA, wrote in a climate change report for the Pentagon titled "The Age of Consequences: The Foreign-Policy National Security Implications of Global Climate Change":

If Americans have difficulty reaching a reasonable compromise on immigration legislation today, consider what such a debate would be like if we were struggling to resettle millions of our own citizens -- driven by high water from the Gulf of Mexico, South Florida, and much of the East Coast reaching nearly to New England -- even as we witnessed the northward migration of large populations from Latin America and the Caribbean. Such migration will likely be one of the Western Hemisphere's early social consequences of climate change and sea level rise of these orders of magnitude. Issues deriving from inundation of a large amount of our own territory, together with migration towards our borders by millions of our hungry and thirsty southern neighbors, are likely to dominate U.S. security and humanitarian concerns. Globally as well, populations will migrate from increasingly hot and dry climates to more temperate ones.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 4   Well Said 2   Supported 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Chris Hedges Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Coming Collapse

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

Rise Up or Die

This Is What Resistance Looks Like

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

6 people are discussing this page, with 10 comments


ed tanner

Become a Fan
Author 513736

(Member since Jun 19, 2019), 3 articles, 40 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

How much will it take? Idaho National Laboratory Wildfire American's are breathing that smoke. The most radioanuclide saturated smoke in the world. East Idaho is not that far away from Washinton state that has Hanford or Denver Colorado, by Rocky Flats. It is blowing to those areas. One has to wonder how much more people can take. Over a million acres burned by and in reactor areas. Several nuclear meltdowns at The Idaho Nuclear Laboratory, over the past 70 years. The area is saturated with nuclear waste. It has the highest number number of the radionuclide-nuclear waste sites in the world. The million acre Idaho Nuclear Reservation and National Nuclear Laboraory burned up and filled the atmosphere with radionuclide smoke. People are breathimg it. People in america, got nuked by Fukushima. Fukushima redux, goes around the world every year. People get nuked from hanford . From Rocky Flats. From radioactive drinking water from fossil fuel radium pollution and fracking pollution. There will be one or major Nuclear reactor catastrophes soon in america. People and their family, in america, will get that too. There will be many more major nuclear waste catastrophes, like Santa Susana and the Idaho Nuke reservation.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 2:59:33 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (4+)
Help
 
Indent

Fern Henley

Become a Fan
Author 78862

(Member since May 8, 2012), 1 fan, 16 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to ed tanner:   New Content

I don't need to quote stats right now , sorry but just remember with each new energy platform we had scary thoughts and, yes, unhappy damages. However this train's already left the station and with or without me it's moving on toward that next Pandora's box if for no other reason than we came from the factory with Curiosity. Our only protection seems to be sticking with Truth and Beauty as closely as humanely possible. 🙏🏽

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 3:27:27 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 
Indent

Daniel Geery

Become a Fan
Author 1198

(Member since Jul 9, 2009), 69 fans, 356 articles, 3551 quicklinks, 16512 comments, 180 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to ed tanner:   New Content

I sent and had posted about 50 letters to the editor of the Post Register, in re the SIS (special isotope separation project, designed to refine plutonium for nuclear bomb triggers). Got great responses, until the head editor told me to shut up. Long story short, but ten thumbs up for your speaking the most unwelcome truth. Appreciated!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 6:49:57 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (4+)
Help
 
Indent

David Watts

Become a Fan
Author 10429

(Member since Jan 31, 2008), 13 fans, 18 articles, 26 quicklinks, 2198 comments, 27 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to ed tanner:   New Content

There are about 450 nuclear reactors worldwide. A quick check informs me decommissioning a plant takes about 60 years and costs hundreds of millions of dollars.

"As of 2017, most nuclear plants operating in the United States were designed for a life of about 30-40 years and are licensed to operate for 40 years by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The average age of these reactors is 32 years. Many plants are coming to the end of their licensing period and if their licenses are not renewed, they must go through a decontamination and decommissioning process."

As global heating eats up human habitat quickly around the world and civilization disintegrates, nuclear plants will be left behind to melt down. With 450 of them sitting around as "time bombs," it is time to plan a trip to Andromeda; a nice galaxy I am sure.

Btw, the term "China Syndrome" has always bothered me. I mean, what do they call it in China, the "What-goes-around-comes-around America Syndrome?"

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 7:46:21 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (7+)
Help
 

Fern Henley

Become a Fan
Author 78862

(Member since May 8, 2012), 1 fan, 16 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

TRANSAQUA Project will take water from the Congo to Lake Chad. Why on God's not always so green Earth have we not started on Project NAWAPA 50 years ago? With the work and discipline that would be required North Americans would regain some much needed real self esteem. 🙏🏽

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 3:28:39 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
 
Indent

Daniel Geery

Become a Fan
Author 1198

(Member since Jul 9, 2009), 69 fans, 356 articles, 3551 quicklinks, 16512 comments, 180 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Fern Henley:   New Content

A link to your suggested project click here

And my answer: We are the most seriously dead-end species that has evolved on Earth.

At the same time, we are evolution on steroids, aka memes, which spread with relative lightening speed through our species.

So fight till the end, is all I can say. In the most unlikely even that the "powers that be" actually bury me, it will be my raised middle finger that they bury last.

Chris is the best, or certainly one of them, for speaking Truth. But he is severely lacking in potential solutions. So I question why he does more and more to depress us and make us even more useless than we already are.

Chris: A good teacher listens and responds to each student, by definition. Yet you never responded to my responses and questions, which are many. IMHO, you need to buy some bigger britches, near as I can tell.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 7:02:14 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

David William Pear

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter

(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 48 fans, 78 articles, 346 quicklinks, 3605 comments
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

I am not worried about global heating because I have confidence in the human race. I am positive that they will become extinct from a nuclear accident/war. Chances are that it will happen in the next few decades.

Homo sapiens are an evolutionary mistake, and their limited time on earth will very soon be resolved.

For example of a superior species, dinosaurs roamed the planet for about 250 million years and became extinct due to a random event---not suicide. They were a much superior race than humans, which have only been around for about 200 thousand years.

P.S. According to George Bush humans have only been here 6,000 years! That is what is called human intelligence, and he was POTUS.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 11:03:53 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (5+)
Help
 
Indent

Daniel Geery

Become a Fan
Author 1198

(Member since Jul 9, 2009), 69 fans, 356 articles, 3551 quicklinks, 16512 comments, 180 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

I posted this one long ago and many times. I see that Google has downgraded the original quality, but f'm, it's still well worth the watch click here

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 at 6:47:49 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

David Watts

Become a Fan
Author 10429

(Member since Jan 31, 2008), 13 fans, 18 articles, 26 quicklinks, 2198 comments, 27 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

I just read the comments again and I see you had a link I did not click on. I just did click on it. That is darn funny! Thanks.

Submitted on Monday, Aug 5, 2019 at 12:49:40 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Lee Beacham

Become a Fan
Author 502584

(Member since May 30, 2015), 1 fan, 624 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Why isn't retreating for lower sites on effected coastal sites? Wouldn't that be more effective since we can't control weather and we're certainly not going to reduce the population levels that would be required to reduce man-made climate warming? WE can acclimate and accommodate warming much quicker and better that changing the climate. The future is not known.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 at 3:58:53 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment