Lee Gum and Craig Hewett of the Kansas City chapter of Extinction Rebellion spoke August 21 at Jacobs Well Church, 42nd and Wyoming in Kansas City, Missouri. This episode is excerpted from that presentation.
The event had two main themes: a review of the peer-reviewed climate science that suggests that humanity may be careening toward extinction, and a discussion of how we should respond, both practically and emotionally. This may sound alarmist and radical, but only because the mainstream media have largely suppressed any honest discussion of the range of responsible research and expert opinion on these issues.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate activist from Sweden, said, “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act.”
The global climate system is a highly complex system with many parts crudely similar to the “Triple Crown” sculpture at the south end of Crown Center, consisting of roughly three dozen large aluminum tubes held together yet apart by a system of cables. We don’t even know all the components, but we do know that substantive changes to any one could lead to a total collapse of the entire system.
The global dialogue about the climate system is dominated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which said last year that humanity had “12 years left to prevent climate catastrophe.”
Other than researchers paid by the fossil fuel industry to promulgate climate denialism, the IPCC is the most conservative voice in the world of climate science. The IPPC does not consider many processes that are well-understood and widely established, but difficult to accurately quantify. For example, no scientist disputes that melting permafrost will cause global warming. Yet the IPCC does not consider melting permafrost at all.
However, in 2007 the IPCC predicted that sea ice would by gone by 2070. In 2017 they said that sea ice would be gone within a decade, by 2027, 43 years sooner. The reality has been as bad or worse than their previous worst case predictions.
Papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the US in 2018 and in Nature Geoscience in 2019 suggest that global temperatures could increase by 12 degrees C or 21 degrees F by the year 2100. A child born today would turn 81 in 2100 and will almost certainly have to deal with the consequences of this.
The Syrian civil war that began in 2011 and the companion refugee flows into Europe were triggered by major crop failures there created by climate change. Climate changes we are already seeing are generating political instabilities worldwide, which will likely become massively worse. This could easily include a major collapse of the world’s food system leading to substantial starvation worldwide, possibly the extinction of humanity. These are not fringe claims but possibilities discussed in peer-reviewed scientific publications, which are less likely to be censored to please corporate sponsors or underwriters.
An international Extinction Rebellion nonviolent Climate Strike is being planned for Friday, September 20. The local Extinction Rebellion Kansas City group next plans to meet
Tuesday, September 3rd, 6:30 PM,
Jacobs Well Church,
42nd and Wyoming, Kansas City, Missouri.
They are also planning nonviolent civil disobedience training to support their efforts.