/Apocalypse Today

Apocalypse Today

From Shaman’s Rock
By Jim Poling Sr.

Scenes of utter devastation from Maui, Hawaii, the Yellowknife, N.W.T. and B.C. wildfire evacuations, plus the Halifax flash flooding bring to mind a single word: Apocalypse.

We are living a real life apocalypse as fires, floods and drought bring destruction and death. Record wildfires in North America, killing heatwaves in India, Pakistan and Australia, typhoons in Asia and record-breaking rainfall in the U.K. and parts of Europe confirm today’s apocalypse as a global event.

Elon Musk, the business magnate baptised Anglican but now claiming no religious affiliation, issued an apocalypse warming last year, predicting the end of mankind.

Apocalypses are common in Biblical texts and usually refer to an intense confrontation with God in which destruction of evil and the end of time bring divine justice and the visibility of God’s rule.

I prefer to understand apocalypse as a revelation, which is the true meaning of the Greek word apokálypsis from which the English word is derived.

Apocalypses are devastating events but they reveal how our lives can be better by changing the lifestyles that brought about the apocalypse in the first place.

Surely no intelligent person doubts that global warming is causing the damaging weather events we are witnessing. And, there can be no doubt that human lifestyles are major contributors to climate change.

We are beginning to accept that our ways of living must be changed if we are to avoid what Musk calls the end of mankind.

Many governments are committed to reducing climate changing emissions to zero by 2050. They are investing in renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels, reducing environment damaging items such as plastics and promoting more ways of green living.

But governments are cumbersome and slow. They are incapable of reducing global warming on their own. They need a committed partnership with business to effectively change policies and practices. Businesses exist to make money, however, and changes will hit corporation bottom lines.

Collective action is needed and will be achieved only when individuals become deeply committed. That requires individuals to make better choices about where they get their energy, what foods they eat, what items they buy and how they travel.

More than that, individuals need to pressure governments and businesses to change policies and practices. Governments need individuals to vote for them and businesses cannot survive without customers so individuals can be a powerful force in making change happen.

Will individuals take today’s climate apocalypse as a revelation that we must make major changes to the way we live? That’s questionable.

Think about how filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola warned us back in 1979 about the futility and absurdity of war. His brilliant Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now portrays war’s damaging psychological effects on humans and how it indulges the darkest, ugliest parts of human nature.

Yet here we are more than half a century later with Encyclopedia Britannica posting an article on the eight deadliest wars in the still young 21st century: The Second Congo War. Syrian Civil War, Darfur Conflict, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, The War Against Boko Haram, Yemeni Civil War, Russia-Ukraine War.

Those are just the eight deadliest of the 32 conflicts now ranging in various parts of the world.

Whether we learn enough and make the changes needed to stop the current fire-flood-drought apocalypse from destroying the plant remains to be seen.

There is hope, however.

A 2021 study of 10,000 young people 16 to 25 in 10 countries found 59 per cent said they are extremely or very worried about climate change. Most of those also said their feelings about climate change negatively affect their daily lives.

Youth organizations such as Zero Hour, Earth Uprising and Climate Cardinals have been growing in recent years and are working to find solutions to global warming and climate change.

The United Nations has expressed confidence that youth will find a way to make changes that will prevent the planet’s final apocalypse.

Says a UN web page on climate actions:

“Young people are not only victims of climate change. They are also valuable contributors to climate action. They are agents of change, entrepreneurs and innovators. Whether through education, science or technology, young people are scaling up their efforts and using their skills to accelerate climate action.”

Here’s hoping!