A modest apartment (Photo - IHA).

      A modest apartment (Photo – IHA).

      Most scientists estimate that the devastating combination of global warming, chemical pollution, over population and peak oil will result in global environmental and societal collapse within thirty to forty years.

      By Thom Hawkins

      A few scientists say collapse will arrive in about eighty years. Even fewer scientists say collapse will be here in ten to twenty years. However, an increasing number of scientists have lately been edging towards this accelerated timeframe, because environmental destruction has been happening faster than expected.

      Whether it’s ten years or eighty years, or even a hundred years, this is a very short amount of time–basically one life span. Someone who is one hundred today probably has vivid memories of people starving in the street during the Great Depression. Things can change in the blink of an eye. It’s not too soon to prepare for the worst. For some of us, the collapse is here and now, well ahead of schedule.

      Survival will require that each of us make difficult choices, decisions currently being made for us by the greedy top two percent. They decide which communities get poisoned by oil wells, refineries, and chemical plants. They decide which countries get bombed in an endless search for natural resources. They decide the cost of housing.

      My rent is
      now costing me
      …a total
      60% of my
      gross income

      We, the other 98%, are losing. That’s all we need to know. It is a rout of epic proportions. Just sit with that a minute. Nothing else that I have to say is more important. We are losing.

      This is a very personal loss for me. It means that I have to move away from family and friends to a state that has rents I can afford. My rent is now costing me $5,000 more per year (a total 60% of my gross income) for the same modest, small, one bedroom apartment that I moved into six years ago. Statewide rent inflation will continue increasing at least 10% yearly for the foreseeable future to satisfy an avaricious market that is out of control. My home is being exploited, my life fragmented to buy more caviar for the greedy.

      What happens when we lose a battle? We die on the battlefield or we retreat with honor and regroup to mount a stronger assault on the citadels of exploitation. In other words, find a refuge. I will not let myself be drained dry and left to wander the mean streets in ten years when I’m ninety, as so many seniors are doing right now. There are plenty of states where I won’t be robbed by rent.

      Thom Hawkins was a staff writing instructor at UC Berkeley for twenty-two years and has published books and articles about teaching, as well as short fiction and poetry. He is currently preparing his first poetry chapbook, “Wild Decrepitudes,” that will be available later this year.

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      1. Reni Fulton says:

        Amen. I also felt the need to move out of CA to preserve my small savings. I just couldn’t afford rent without dipping into my savings every month. I did not want to become dependent on my family for help so I moved 2500 miles away so I could continue to be financially independent. And when the middle moves away every part of the community is affected. I’m thinking in particular of my beloved church community in Pasadena that loses members because the high rents force people to seek more affordable housing elsewhere. This is about the same greed that has infected every part of our society. It’s a sad state of affairs.

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