My friends, we face a host of problems, any one of which could be absolutely catastrophic and a threat to our very existence. It’s not a topic we generally like to explore or confront because it’s rather depressing, to say the least. I mean, it can ruin your whole day.
For starters, there’s the monstrous debt that characterizes most countries all over the world, pushing European states to the brink of financial meltdown and bankruptcy and, if it happens there, America won’t be far behind. Global unemployment is rising exponentially and the tremendous gap between the rich and the poor is getting larger, leading to revolt and geopolitical instability and collapse.
Then there’s the alarming problem of deforestation as we decimate entire ecosystems, including gigantic swathes of the rain forests that produce much of the essentials of life – like water and oxygen. And there’s the awesome amount of garbage we generate every day – some of which, like the stuff at Hanford, is so deadly it’ll knock cockroaches off their feet – and the immense problem of disposing of it. How about the increasing frequency of super-violent storms like Sandi and Katrina? Then too, the world’s population is growing by leaps and bounds – presently on course to double in the next 10 or 15 years – causing food shortages and predictions of mass starvation, which may not materialize because the lack of clean water will kill us first. Furthermore, governments seem unable to react to or deal with any of these disasters.
Stay with me. We’re just getting started.
There will be mass population migrations, often to the U.S., which may find itself unable to absorb or control. Furthermore, since the mean temperature of the earth is rising, melting the Arctic icecaps and mountain glaciers, the sea levels are rising, which will flood the earth’s coastal areas and cities. Nations with nuclear armaments are often unstable – countries like Pakistan and North Korea – and you never know what the hell they’ll do next. Terrorists are after nuclear bombs and I suspect, sooner or later, they’ll get them, whereupon every two-bit thug on the planet will be carrying an A-bomb around in a suitcase. Of course, the air in coal-fire countries like China isn’t fit for human consumption, which is also true in several American cities. Indeed, the polluted air is acidifying the oceans, killing marine life that feeds half the world’s people. And tropical diseases, which are foreign to our hemisphere, are moving North and “super bugs,” against which we have no antibodies, are sprouting up every day, leading to a very real possibility of worldwide plagues.
There are tribal wars and religious wars and civil wars and national wars and class wars, and lord only knows what other kinds of wars and rumors of wars. And when incurable plagues start sweeping across entire continents and food is getting scarce and the economy has buckled and snapped, then entire cities – hundreds of thousands of people – will start running amuck in the streets, turning into roving bands of desperate, cannibalistic savages.
Faced with such apocalyptic events and situations, what the hell is a young fella supposed to do? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m heading to Rendezvous.
And people wonder why I drink so much!