Here’s what one Ohsweken woman said when talking about this week’s weather: “our mother (earth) is going to go through some major changes and so will we”.
There are stories about what happens when the world changes. Stories include fireballs, angels, and great monsters devouring humankind. Movies like 2012, Knowing, Armageddon, and Deep Impact show sudden catastrophes striking the world. The number of gloom-and-doom movies numbs the mind.
The Old Ones don’t say that. In our own master-narrative called the Great Law (Kayaneresherakowa) change happens slowly. We see climate change, increases in new diseases, strange behaviour by wildlife and more. We also see social conflicts resulting from battles over the world’s resources. These changes happen before we should worry about the ‘Big One’. Change is slow.
Indigenous People predicted the influence of the sun on changes to the earth. Changes to the sun and the earth changed human history in the past, where humans were forced to shelter themselves, but emerged to begin a new era of human life on earth. These events are in the collective-memory of Indigenous People.
Our women say these changes are coming here. And the most important change is the effect of the sun on our weather and growing food. The result — food shortages and higher food costs. Food shortages facing populations from economic collapse are related to increases in climate change and natural events that are beyond human control.
In the same way, modern western researchers predict effects on human life similar to those of our Old Ones and our women today. Throughout the past 20-years international experts warned about the collapse of the paper-money economy. The economy coincides with changes to food production. In the near future you could be driving around with a trunk-load of $20 bills and you won’t be able to buy a loaf of bread.
Here’s what happened: at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, Bush had printed $1.5 trillion printed that was then pumped into the world economy. Experts say that Bush’s 2009 move only delayed the inevitable collapse of paper money that was predicted in the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World Reports in the 1990s. Experts like Noam Chomsky and Gerard Celente projected the effect of injecting paper money into the world’s economy.
Chomsky, a professor at MIT in the U.S., sees Bush’s money move as a stalling tactic for an inevitable collapse. Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute, describes the money struggles as the basis of coming social instability. Major urban centres become sites where people use any means necessary to feed themselves. Similarly, Chomsky also predicts social chaos.
Both forecasters say that economic problems lead to social and economic instability where large unemployed parts of society will riot for food. Dire predictions include the formation of marauding bands of homeless people travelling the country from town to town, pillaging and stealing. Celente and Chomsky say this type of increased social instability increases after 2010. These experts suggest that printing money in 2009 only delayed the inevitable collapse of the dollar-economy that was forecast in the 1990s.
Ironically, the wealthiest oil-rich countries on earth are already experiencing social chaos. The collapse of regimes like that of Moammar Gadhafi and Saddam Hussein resulted in civil wars in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The rise of ISIS and increased numbers of refugees shows the resulting social chaos.
The social chaos stretching from Libya to Iran is coming here.
Though the focus on the financial markets and the paper money system creates fear about life savings and investments, these factors distract people from the simple truth of human life — those who eat survive. In our society, this is translated as “those who can buy food survive” for people who depend on others to make their food.
A stark picture of climate change shows up in the Arctic and Antarctic. Canada, the U.S., Russia, Norway and Denmark continually address issues related to the Arctic Ocean sea-lanes as the ice melts. Science raised alarms about the Antarctic ice-melt raising ocean levels by two-feet. The Edmonton Journal (May 3, 2009) article “Dawn of a new Arctic” describes political change in northern politics that has a context linked to ecological disasters like the sinking of the Exxon Valdez.
In an attempt to balance gloom and doom predictions in his 2001 article “Climate change and astronomy” astronomer David Chapman makes a clear distinction about what constitutes “normal” for the Earth’s climate. The Earth’s climate continually changes with eras of warm and cold. However, the Sun flares have a direct impact on the Earth’s climate. The researchers pose that human impacts on our environment needs to be balanced against the effect of the Sun’s cycles over which humans have no control.
Clearly, the effect of solar cycles on the Earth has economic implications. According to Sten Odenwald and James Green in their 2008 article “Bracing for a Solar Superstorm” the electromagnetic affect of solar activity potentially could disrupt the world’s telecommunications systems. Their warning concerns the economic impact for replacing $70 billion worth of satellites.
In 2007 the National Academy of Science (NAS) in the U.S. said that increasing solar storm activity will disrupt communications technological systems. They report that the Sun has an 11-year activity cycle that increases space weather. Solar wind emitted by the sun from flares or what they call “coronal mass ejections” cause large magnetic storms — what our Old Ones called “the Big Man giving the Earth a kick”. The NAS recognized that catastrophes and extreme space weather incidents also occur.
Though the focus has been the effect of solar storms on our technology-driven world, NAS also says that the global climate will be affected. The NAS research focuses on financial costs, but the report assesses the effect on ocean currents. Called the “conveyor belt” (most famously known in the Pacific Ocean as El Nino) the ocean’s currents carry direct solar energy. The recent warm weather shows that the increase in solar storm activity from 2010 to 2012 has effected global climate change.
A warming world melts ice. Under that ice are organisms that have been imprisoned for centuries. Rising waters flood areas where food is grown. Growing seasons change. Water supplies change. The land area becomes smaller forcing populations to move. The world becomes a harsher place to live.
The earth is going through changes — and so will we.
Thohahoken Michael Doxtater is an educator from Six Nations