Stephen Fahey: Climate Refugees
With the recent army of storms trying to wipe mankind from the face of creation it appears that we all need to start building arcs and stuffing them full with whatever creatures we can get out hands on. It’s normal now to expect storm Osama or storm Donald or storm whoever to be right around the corner. As are several meters of snow in spring, or summer, or tomorrow, and the hottest day on record being broken year after year. And with the hole in the ozone having miraculously repaired itself and the dolphins not yet having overthrow humanity, and no major tsunamis in a few years, the obvious question is hanging “what is next”?
Perhaps a 9.9 earthquake in Rome or a F7 tornado in London, or maybe the aliens will finally come down, finish us all off once and give earth back to bacteria? Whatever it’ll be it seems that something is coming. Perhaps one day soon whoever is causing all these disasters will spill their coffee on the control panel, or give in to temptation and just press all the buttons at once. Then the so-called weirdoes building their arcs will have the long lost last laugh. At this rate it doesn’t even sound impossible that a new ice age will come and we’ll all be forced to abandon our homes and march on the equator just so we don’t freeze to death.
But should the penguins succeed in taking back the earth and humanity be twisted into a shivering fist of hope clinging to the future with a trembling fear, then what then? And would it be a bad thing, historically speaking? Millions of people would die, but it would reset a lot of clocks: Most of the world’s most densely populated areas would be evacuated and then reduced to frozen wastelands, all of north and south America would become Columbian and Brazilian, Europe and all of Africa would become Congolese and Ugandan and Russia, China and Australia would become Indonesian. But we would be alive.
Even a mini ice age, of say a couple of hundred years, would lead to the mixing of cultures and genes enough that some new balance of DNA would make us all look so similar that racists wouldn’t know who to hate. Of course, such a valiant mingling would require the human race to not kill itself off over resources once bottle-necked onto whatever land isn’t fifty meters deep in ice and snow. It is probable that we would do ourselves more damage in such a situation than even the mass influx of wildlife forced towards the warming regions would. But we have consciousness to bolster our chances.
The Middle East might not see too much of a change in weather, but with the subsequent overloading of climate refugees and the necessary redistribution of resources perhaps their ancient turmoil might suffocate and finally let those people of that region just get on with their lives. As for the governments, monarchs and religious leaders of the world, those godkings would be forced to admit their mortality – the frozen world delivering to them such a definitive shock that the current ways would become the old ways, leaving a glorious, though terrifying void from which some new system would rise up. Admittedly, that system would probably be barter-based, as money would be of little use in a world with no internet, no international commerce and a dwindling, finite coffee supply. But none the less there is the chance that a new ice age could carve such a fresh artery into humanity’s heart. Which would also give us an otherwise unattainable opportunity – I’m just saying.
Of course, wishing for such an ice age to come isn’t an option. However, considering overpopulation and the probability of another great war or plague to come and thin the herd, it might be preferable. We are indeed overdue for some awful disease to erupt. History has taught us so. Furthermore, with so many cures at our disposal and with the rise in the number of morons who believe that vaccinations are a conspiracy, despite small pox having been eradicated, we are vulnerable to a medical storm that could kill billions. Realistically, it would take just one person to drink the wrong pond water or lick the wrong tree to spread the next epidemic that’s just waiting to be discovered (or unleashed at the click of a button). Better the ice than the sores and boils, I say. But not all hope is lost. We’re still alive now in our homes with our electricity and dry socks. We don’t have to migrate, on foot, to the warmer regions. The battering regularity of storms hasn’t risen to a point of intolerable aggression. And we haven’t to discard our national identities… yet.