Pondering Pessimistic Possibilities
BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Sometimes undesirable outcomes cross everyone’s mind. Here are five of mine.
What if the oligarchic circles in both Armenian republics get their act together and REALLY launch a counter-revolution? A coarse course instead of velvety vision! It’s not very improbable. They may not currently have direct control over the levers of power within the government, but the people working there, at all but the highest levels, are the same as before (it can’t be any other way, they’re the bureaucrats, the technocrats, the people who know how to get the actual work done). The oligarchs could easily still have leverage over these people. They worked together for the last three decades. They know each other. They may have loaned money to people in need. They may be owed favors. Heck, we saw how easily people sold their votes in the last election, what would keep them from jumping to the oligarchs’ side if they thought there was more to be gained on that side of the current political divide? I really hope I’m wrong on this and am fretting over nothing.
What about plastics? Some people are mocking the actions of some jurisdictions which are banning plastic straws, to varying degrees. The problem of plastics for human civilization is very real. Some people just don’t seem to understand the depth of the problem or are blinded to it by other, ideological considerations, let’s call them the denialists. They are the ones whose derisive response may one day lead to a nasty outcome. Despite years of public education and effort, the bulk of the plastic produced on the planet is used once then goes into a landfill or ends up in the ocean where it wreaks ecological havoc. I fear that one day, some very clever biologist or geneticist is going to develop a bacterium that eats plastic. Don’t laugh, there’s already some kind of bacteria that consumes petroleum and is sometimes used on oil spills. What are plastics made from? Petroleum! While this might be a solution to the problem of plastic waste, these bacteria could easily get around and start “eating” plastics that are still in use. Heck, someone who’s sick and tired of the denialists antics and all the problems stemming from plastics and petroleum might intentionally release those bacteria in places they shouldn’t be. The results could be catastrophic given how many different critical uses plastics currently have. I hope we tame our taste for plastics before this awful scenario has a chance to come true.
What about the weather? This one may seem petty and selfish, but it would really be awful if we had another winter with minimal snow dropping onto California’s mountains. Not only is that white stuff the source of the state’s water, but it’s fantastic for recreation and pure joy! How can you ski, snowshoe, have snowball fights, build igloos and snow-caves, go sledding, or even just make snow angels without that wonderful white stuff? I really hope the mountains get socked in with snow this winter!
What if the Democrats don’t manage to win a majority in at least one house of Congress, preferably the Senate? All indications are that they are poised to do well. But because of the spinelessness that has afflicted the party at least since the Bill Clinton era, they have managed to lose elections they should have won. It’s really crucial to reign in Donald Trump’s presidency and the ruin it is bringing to the positive reputation long enjoyed by the United States. It’s truly scary to consider the extent of the damage, especially on the international front, that Trump’s erratic “policy” will end up causing if there’s no check on his actions from Congress. Whether or not you think he should be impeached by the House, then tried by the Senate, it’s difficult for me to grasp how people can accept his recklessness.
Finally, what if the recently reintroduced Armenia-Haiti reforestation bill doesn’t pass through the House and Senate and get signed by President Trump? This is a fantastic way to both restore some of our homeland’s savaged forest cover. Not only does the proposed law enable improvements to the environment, but it also helps reduce the Republic of Armenia’s debt load. The idea is that since planting trees and thereby increasing planet Earth’s forest cover helps sequester carbon, helping to fight global climate change, that benefit has a value to the world as a whole. Thus, that value is applied as a payment against debt owed by the country. This bill was introduced before, some two or three years ago, as I recall, but it went nowhere. That’s why I’m worried that it might again stall. Let’s all work towards its passage.
Link: Pondering Pessimistic Possibilities