Everything is Falling Apart

07 September 2021

Things haven't felt "normal" for a while. I guess you could say it started with the pandemic, even though it really didn't; it just became noticeable to more people.

To name a few acute problems the world is facing today:

  • Climate change denial from big businesses and the government (which is propped up by big businesses).
    • Climate change is still being denied by the most offending industries.
  • Natural disasters (likely caused by climate change) destroying homes and businesses with little support from governmental or insurance agencies.
  • Worldwide contagious pandemic worsened by people who refuse to believe it exists.
    • Deniers are doubling down on their decisions, going as far as to take horse dewormer to fight the virus (instead of getting vaccinated). Despite people arguing 'it doesn't affect kids that bad', more children are hospitalized now than they were in the original waves of the virus.
  • This 'labor shortage' we keep hearing about which isn't a labor shortage at all but a wage and worker's rights shortage.
    • The retail and service industry isn't showing any sign of increasing wages OR rights. Recently, Walmart is being applauded for pledging to raise certain positions to slightly over $16/hour even though this is still considered poverty wages in most areas.

The strangest part, for me, is having to continue my mundane day-to-day life while all of this is happening: talking to my coworkers about their weekend, seeing my relatives announce their pregnancies on social media, talking to friends who have resumed their vacations, parties, concerts, etc.

I can't tell if the people who are going on with their lives happily are doing so out of ignorance (because they don't realize there's a problem (or how big the problem is)) or if everyone is just stuffing these feelings of impending collapse way down, refusing to acknowledge them.

It feels surreal to me, stepping out into the world to do my seemingly useless small-scale daily duties while so much of the world is falling apart.

Looking at just the first two bullets above, it's easy to predict how things will develop. Climate change will continue getting worse and result in more natural disasters. Agencies like FEMA and Red Cross will protect less and less people. Disaster insurance will cost more while covering less.

Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the town has still not recovered. In fact, whether an individual and their family have received the means to recover largely depends on their socioeconomic class. Gentrification in New Orleans has increased wildly since Katrina.

It's almost like the people in power (and their generous donors) view the effects of climate change as a way to "cleanly" wipe out the poor, leaving no blood on their hands.

All of this is not to say that it's 'hopeless' and we need to 'enjoy life while we can, since everything is going to shit anyway'. I see that type of discourse on Reddit all of the time and it's not only unhelpful but untrue and  actively hurtful to our collective future.

But if we, as ordinary people, refuse to understand and/or acknowledge the trajectory of these problems, then we're giving up without a fight.

The world today overemphasizes our individual presence and power. It tells us, "you can do anything you set your mind to" so that when we can't do the thing, it's our own fault. But the truth is, this mindset is designed to separate and divide us.

Everything related to making real social change, whether it concerns ecology, workers' rights, or anything else, is rooted in organizing. Organizing means banding together with many others who feel similarly and fighting for change.

I just hope that I'm not fighting alone...

Sadness

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller