Being sustainable now will be the difference of who survives and dies in future.
Besieged by snow and wind for weeks, a great storm sent a 1,200-year-old oak tree crashing to the ground. The Pontfadog Oak growing in Wrexham in Wales was one of the oldest trees in Britain, a meeting point of the ancient Welsh armies who fought the English, recorded as far back as the Viking Age of 802. This tree, which had been a source of shelter, meetings, feed for animals and fencing for the community was cut down by entropy.
The Pontfadog Oak could be a metaphor for what human civilisation is now facing. If the oak tree is human civilisation, then the storm that brought it down is entropy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is behind the idea of if you take too much energy out of an energy system, and damage its ability to renew itself, then entropy is the result. An energy system that loses too much energy without replacement collapses to an ever increasing simplicity through disorder. Social, political, economic and environmental systems are like the Pontfadog Oak, all energy systems that will crash to the ground when entropy reaches a certain tipping point.
By degrees the Pontfadog Oak had been weakening due to the siege of climate change conditions, then the tipping point emerged without warning that smashed the tree to the ground. Plenty of warnings had been made that the tree needed support from its stewards and stakeholders, but nobody wanted to give the tree the love and attention it needed, so it died. Everyone now misses the tree they neglected and took for granted.
It no longer matters what is responsible for climate change, it is too late to do anything about it. Any historian or anthropologist would be aware climate change has been behind the evolution of humanity, it killed the Neanderthal and pushed our present human species to the technological progress it now has. Climate change has always been the game changer, unsustainable human waste, greed and inefficiency will be laid bare as climate change wipes out food, water and energy sources in a world of seven billion people.
Whilst I try to be the optimist, I am the realist. Like the Pontfadog Oak the decision makers and citizens of this world will carry on in their unsustainable ways, they will be negligent and blind to the obvious, then the energy systems that are already crumbling will collapse. Large numbers of people will no longer have access to the basic essentials of life, they will use the only options open to them, they will begin to move and fight.
In nature some plants depend upon wildfires destroying wood and grassland, destruction that triggers new growth. For a better future the human race is going to face a period of anarchy and violence of a magnitude that will seem horrific. The human race is going to have to experience a good kicking to experience a paradigm shift of the type needed to survive. For those of you like me who are on the ball, making sustainable choices now which benefit principally you, your family and the community assists you in surviving what will be a challenging and dark time ahead.