I think it's going to go quickly because the attrition of human cost and cost to communities is going to reach critical mass. Watching the 60 min piece I linked to really drives that concept home imo. Unless someone has lots of wealth reserves, a job loss in a struggling local economy will devastate entire families. I am starting to believe we will see riots and social unrest, how can you not take to the street when your mother was literally murdered by a financial collapse that rewarded banks and the ultra elite?
I also wanted to mention food was pointed out to offer a better return well before the stock market crashed, that's how fast prices were going up. Because, if you recall, the price of oil spiked before the crash and drove prices up. PO became mainstream in 2008 and I find it interesting that it coincided with an awful lot of speculation.
I hope we are decades from PO but many, many respected geologists and engineers think it is now. And further I don't doubt that PO can make the price of oil outpace inflation--PO price spikes will be in addition to inflation imo. Plus, the last major oil find was something like 30-40 years ago in Saudi Arabia. There has been nothing big enough to matter since then. I highly recommend the documentaries End of Suburbia and Crude Awakening (which won several awards) as they are succinct and quick ways to learn about the issue.
You can watch most (all?) of End of Suburbia here
I think the US has lots of resources and could well be better off than a lot of nations, but I also think it's a fallacy t think none of this is going to touch us. And I personally am disturbed that other people elsewhere will starve due to the way we wield power in this world and control the supply chain.
And I am not full up on all the water facts at the moment, but I think we have this tendency to think 100 years from now doesn't touch us. But it does. It touches me through my children and through the incremental changes that happen over time to get to the big change at the 100 year mark. A 100 years from now is happening today. We may not be around for its peak, but we're marching up the mountain.
FREX California shut down irrigation due to water shortages this year, $1 billion in lost revenue, 40,000 jobs gone. CA is 50% of the US's fruit and nut supply. In a 100 years they don't think CA will be able to support large scale agriculture. There won't be enough water. There isn't enough water today. It's all connected. You can't ignore 100 years, because it the impact of those future changes is already hitting. In India, they already have to drill an additional 20 feet for a well, the water line has dropped that much, that fast as demand has gone up. Climate change will thaw the source water for the world's major rivers, which supply billions of people with water.
Climate change will bring dust bowl drought alternated with badly timed deluges of water (i.e. floods that wipe out crops or rain that falls outside the growing season). Right now, today, demand outpaces supply for grain and world stockpiles are dwindling. Right now today, 1/2 of the world's top exporters of grain have limited exports because they are not sure they can feed their own people. A large portion of the world's breadbaskets are experiencing drought. China was recently in the news with the statistic that 43% of their wheat crop is affected by drought, meaning their yields will be way down.
If China has drought and the US has drought (and floods) and Argentina has drought as does Brazil and India has made it illegal to export rice...exactly who is going to pick up the slack on grain production for this crop season? Russia is the only major grain producer without any drought and yet they've limited grain exports, which I find very interesting.
So yeah, I think you do need to garden. It says something that the Obamas are gardening and the Dept of Agriculture started a garden outside their building.
I think we could easily return to food being 45% or more of family's budgets. Easily. Food may be on the shelves, but we will be able to afford it? It's not just about availability, it's about price as well. Ask the people in Zimbabwe.
If scientists think we're locked into a 4 degree increase over the next 100 years, this means that in my lifetime we will see more and more drought, more intense storms, the coral reefs will be gone, most of the ocean's fish will be gone. It's not like nothing happens until the 100 year mark and then *poof* it all goes to hell in a nanosecond. We will be living through some catastrophic ecological changes. Our children could see even worse.
What can I do about climate change? Reduce my carbon footprint, buy local food, reduce, reuse, recycle. I can help others reduce their carbon footprint. I can be sure my family lives in a sustainable place with readily available water because, while it may not be an issue today, it will be an issue in the future and owning land with water will be valuable.
The world is not coming to an end. A way of life is. And geopolitics are shifting meaning the power chips are falling and where they land is anyone's guess. There is profound change ahead and I don't think Nasa's ability to turn my urine into potable water is going to take the edge off.