What are the signs that the world's resources are running out?
It's in the big things but, by crikey, it's in the little things too. It's found in the culture wars we're seeing around us every day. It's found in everyday conversations with friends and family, and between strangers. We all know something's brewing, and it isn't craft beer.
As the desperation grows it manifests in different ways. For some, it's beyond important to call out every perceived attack on human rights. Concern about immigration or foreign ownership is swiftly categorised as outright racism, for example. And maybe it's exactly that. Or maybe it's inarticulateness searching for coherence.
Maybe it's arrogance completely unaware of itself. Maybe it's just another point of view. Rightly or wrongly.
All I know for sure is, as the resources run out, and the squeeze of the population python intensifies, we're all left trying to make sense of a world that's changing so fast we don't quite know where to put ourselves. This is not a time to verbally, or actually, beat the crap out of each other. It's a time to truly grasp that the perfect potpourri of planetary problems is upon us.
If you can't see that, and believe it's all totally tickety-boo, you're either relentlessly positive to the point of insanity, or you've had - or are having children - and simply can't let yourself mentally go there.
I kind of get that, but wilful denial is not helping any of us. Neither is arguing the toss on social media with someone who you squarely imagine is the enemy, when it's entirely possible they're anything but.
Beating back the bushes to reveal who (or what) the real foe is requires getting down from your pulpit, and taking practical measures beyond your computer screen. It means less lecturing and more learning. More truth-facing and less repudiation.
What are the things we need to face? It's a ruddy great neon sign and if you can't see it flashing, you're either obtuse, changing nappies, and/or too busy arguing the toss on Twitter or Facebook.
Climate change is here. The race between human survival and the melting ice sheets is on. With it, urgency is being replaced by a kind of shrugging acceptance that the tipping point has been reached. Now, we wait.
The storms will be more frequent and deadly; the diseases will come thick and fast; the crops will fail and, if humans are still standing at the end of that, the heat will shut our bodies down and we will die.
Oh, and if technology were to save us, where is it? My guess? It doesn't exist in either a form or a time frame to meaningfully change anything.
Population. The number of people on the planet will rise from 7.6 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to UN projections. Is that number the problem, or is it over-consumption? It's both. One leads to the other, and both are killing us.
Water. The new oil. Without it, humanity is condemned. Climate change is affecting water quality, and the risks are incalculable. Rising temperatures; increased levels of sediments, nutrients, and pollutants triggered by more frequent and heavy rainfall; industrial agriculture. The world faces an imminent water crisis that is affecting every part of the planet. Are we ready for the massive influx of refugees from Australia and Asia?
So, these are some of the external ecological and environmental problems. What about the internal human-centric ones? Fascism thrives in such moist conditions and grows like fungi. Fear drives fascism and given its rise, there's truckloads of it about. And it's growing. Needs must, and all that. Not enough room or resources for everybody means people will do what has to be done to protect their families.
Poverty and inequality are massive, unstoppable forces. Electing new governments, and new faces, is unlikely to meaningfully alter anything. No politician has the capacity to change what's coming. The pendulum is in motion; counting down the beats to our demise.
Depressed yet? You should be. And when you're bored with that, maybe stop blaming others for their point of view, and start blaming the real culprits. Picking off fundamentally decent - and basically planetarily powerless - others is a waste of your time. Anger, sadness and fear is best expressed by doing, rather than talking into a vacuum (which, ironically, I'm likely doing here).
The culprits? Oil companies, industrial agriculture, the 1 per cent, over-fishing, neoliberalism, capitalism, Monsanto, Trump, the "free" market (an oxymoron if ever there was one). You know who they are.
Get off the cyber treadmill of judgment and virtue signalling, and dismount your fat donkey and make a change in the world. Maybe there's still time?
I doubt it, but at least you'll go down trying.