'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' - The Sign of the Four
At the beginning of this year, the media began reporting on the phenomenon of mass animal deaths that were occuring almost simultaneously all over the world. Frightening to read, the articles and photos strongly resembled the tension building scenes from a typical Hollywood apocalyptic blockbuster - the scenes that occur right before the destruction of the planet unfolds on an epic scale.
In countries all around the world hundreds to thousands of dead birds fell out of their skies, for no obvious reason. Reports poured in daily of thousands to millions of dead fish washing up onto beaches in both hemispheres. And there was more to come - mysterious livestock deaths would occur in the hundreds and whales dead from starvation would wash ashore in waters far from their natural habitat. During the most bountiful season, inexplicably starving animals would attack humans as food and sharks would attack swimmers in unprecedented numbers. This was bad. Really bad. And we weren't sitting in a comfortable cinema chair with popcorn in one hand and a Coke in the other, this was happening for real.
Everyone was becoming unnerved, strange things were happening all over the world, things we weren't used to hearing about. What made matters worse was knowing scientists didn't have any clear answers as to why so many creatures were dying or behaving as they were.
When the devastating M9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan's north east coast on March 11, the threat of a real global disaster felt imminent. Without answers to help us, man did what he has always done throughout history when something he doesn't understand threatens him, he finds a way to explain it, to make sense of it. Over the next six months there were many theories, some more elegantly presented than others. 2012 and the Mayan Calendar. HAARP. The NWO. Project Bluebeam. The End Times. Global Warming. Nibiru/Planet X. Comet Elenin. Alien Agendas.
But despite this parade of horribles, many were perversely excited about it. Google searches about what was unfolding on Earth turned up thousands of comments and videos revealing many who were bizarrely looking forward to the planet's demise, all jockeying to be the first one to have their theories proven right. A few exhibited actual disappointment when Elenin failed to bring the apocalyptic end to Earth they had confidently predicted. However, instead of considering they might have jumped to conclusions, Eleninists formulated elaborate ad-hoc hypotheses explaining why their predictions did not manifest. Without a parsimonious explanation for the events we experienced this past year, it is understandable some would rather persist in believing in a false theory than accept the possibility of moving into the future completely blind.
For those who had been making it their life's work to build bunkers and stockpile every imaginable form of survival kit to ride out whatever is going to happen, whenever it happens, these events must have felt like real validation. And even though the rapture did not occur as planned, Christians still felt the need to quote Bible verses admonishing others to pray for forgiveness. According to them, these events proved we were in the end times and the Lord would be coming back any day now to punish the wicked. When put together, the over-arching global pattern of thousands trying to make square pegs fit into round holes in order to keep their paradigms intact must have been a very interesting development for anthropologists to observe.
And now we are experiencing the tenth month of this strange year. Fatigued from the continuous onslaught of bad weather and mysterious animal deaths, people have become resigned to our new, unpredictable world. No longer are people as concerned when another massive fish kill happens, or when there are mysterious deaths of livestock which occur rapidly and without a clear cause. Just like our new climate reality of unpredictable and extreme weather, the abnormal deaths are becoming 'normal'.
Additionally, many of this year's predictions of planetary destruction have now come and gone, the rapture did not happen as expected, and Elenin simply disintegrated in the sun. After so many months of expectation, perhaps people are getting tired of waiting for the end to come, or perhaps there are not enough strange events being reported anymore to keep justifying the expectation. In any case, it seems what was terrifying at the beginning of this year is now nothing but old news. Maybe things just happen. Maybe in time, it will all just go away.
But what if it doesn't? What if the animal deaths and extreme weather continues? The helplessness of governments in Asia, Africa and Central and South America is stark in the face of out-of-season extreme weather decimating entire villages or even entire regions of farming communities; crops and livestock being simultaneously destroyed by torrential rain, hail and ensuing floods. Food aid, fresh water, temporary shelter, preventing the spread of plague and providing the means to help these people rebuild are certainly much higher priorities for them to focus on than the increasing number of starving whales and other dead marine life washing onto their shores. In short, governments are far more occupied with their share of the miseries the changing climate is doling out to them to be able to muster the energy and resources required to seriously investigate what is happening to the creatures inexplicably dying around them.
Although the media still reports these events, the stories are no longer top news articles and must be teased out from sources all over the world. When one looks at these developments daily, it is nearly impossible not to begin to formulate theories as to why these things are occuring. But this is a mistake, to try to create an answer from mere scraps of information is akin to predicting the winner of a race when it is only at the half. Although it is terrible to realise one must do so, one's best efforts in the face of these events is to try to learn about them. Since there is no known benchmark to proceed from, we must start at the beginning and observe and carefully record the developments, continuously seeking for a pattern or clue that will hopefully lead one onto the correct path of investigation.
If none of the apocalyptic Hollywood-esque scenarios manifest themselves over the next year - and especially by the fated date of Dec 21, 2012 when millions seem certain that something will and should happen - then those who supported these theories could be left wondering what really is happening. It is an uncomfortable thought to realise one must account for all the time lost supporting a failed theory, and to accept the planet has continued to change in ways which favor neither man nor creature.
While it is easier to follow than to lead, we are dealing with the matter of life being extinguished, and grave changes such as these cannot be treated as a game to play on our free time, where we choose a popular ready-made theory that appeals, and spend our time cheering it along until one comes out the 'winner'. These are sentient beings dying en masse around us; these are our brothers and sisters losing their homes and livestock to terrifying weather conditions. For victims of these changes on earth, this is not a game, or a competition. It is annihilation.
After a brutal year of extreme weather events, many have begun to realise we are not so immune to the effects of a changing climate as we perhaps once thought. While the media are clearly not reporting the changes as much as they did at the beginning of this year, the changes do continue, and for those affected by them, the devastation is real and heartbreaking.
Despite these terrifying climate developments, man's paramount concern should be inquiring into why these changes are happening, and as most of the evidence seems to be coming from the oceans, perhaps a good starting point would be to ask why so many marine animals are dying, and why they died of starvation. This year there has been a remarkable increase of jellyfish swarms massing along shorelines all over the world - resilient creatures who have lived on this planet for the past 500 million years. Their presence seems to signal a significant change in the balance of the oceans' ecosystem. While it is true that wind patterns and currents are contributing to their sudden numbers, it seems arrogant to ignore their sudden proliferation in the face of all the other changes we are witnessing. The oceans are changing, we see the symptoms in the continuous thinning of the arctic ice, the global spread of the mass deaths of its inhabitants, the increase of algae blooms, and the sudden proliferation of its ancient (and most resilient) lifeform, jellyfish. All life came from the oceans of earth and it is from there that all life continues to be nourished. Changes such as we are seeing in our oceans carries a grim warning, one that ought to be heeded with urgency by our world's scientists and governments.
We live in an ecosystem held in a fragile balance, and that balance seems to be shifting away from a favorable one for man and creature to something far less favorable and hostile. Now is the time to watch and learn, to probe the clues the marine environments are hinting at, to support scientists, and to lobby governments to make serious inquiry into the possible causes of the recent massive algae blooms; to learn why whales are dying of starvation half a world away from their natural waters, and to study our core and magnetosphere to learn how they are affecting our oceans and subsequently our climate. The time is ripe for man to rise to the occasion, and to listen to what the earth is telling us. If we choose not to heed her warnings, she will not suffer for it. As she has done for millions of years, she will continue to change and life will adapt to her changes. No, it will only be us who will fall to our fates, accompanied by the millions still refusing to believe that the power to change their destiny was in their hands all along.
Originally published on Paradigms Bend Oct 13 2011