I was feeling morose about the fiscal cliff talks, but there’s nothing like a morning read of the other news to put things into perspective. The United States is still dealing with the effects of the worst drought since 1956, which is a good reminder of the real cliff looming out there–the planetary cliff, or the world cliff, perhaps. If the effects of *that* cliff are anything like what we suspect, with our climate going off the rails over the next century, the arguments over small tax rate differences and deficit amounts are going to seem laughable to us one day.
Even if you don’t believe that man-made climate change is real, the coming shortage of resources is, as a growing human population outstrips the available energy, water and food supplies. Countries like India are already facing water shortages, and major American cities are urgently trying to figure out long-term water supply plans. If you’re not happy about the coming fiscal cliff tax increase–and I’m not–just think about how expensive food and water are about to get in the future.
There might be a silver lining for some in this scenario. The world could become a libertarian’s wet dream, as instead of unifying into a global community, we splinter again into divided countries and tribes, fighting each other for the resources we need to survive. Take that, United Nations–right? Then again, things could go in the opposite direction. A desperate crisis could force us to think in much more collective ways, at least within our own country. Either way, our current ideological differences–which are so hot and intense at the moment–will be irrelevant in the face of a real threat. As much as I dislike how polarized we’ve become, I don’t know that I’m happy about the thing which might end this polarization–the possible end of the world. And we’re talking the real end here, not the Mayan bullshit. So with that said, I’m going to go boil some water for a pot of tea, and feel very grateful that I still have the water to do this with.