My two most viral tweets are about cows.
Why? Because any hint that beef production is contributing to climate destruction is met head-on by a brigade of deniers.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out these people are paid by the beef lobby to shoot-down anything that threatens the industry. They're clearly not experts because their arguments lack substance. About half their responses spout debunked theories and the other half rank with schoolyard ad hominem attacks. Sprinkle in the occasional threat and a handful of cohesive arguments and you've completed the pro-beef circle.
But this article isn't about beef.
My experience writing about existential risks
Writing about climate change, environmental collapse and existential risks is painful. It's painful because these are frightening and open-ended subjects. I'm meshing complex data with sociology and geopolitics to derive a thesis. The future is unclear, and to make predictions and investigate potential future pathways forces me to put my head on the chopping block.
I started Collapse2050 because discussing these issues is difficult. I wanted to share my thoughts - some unconventional - with likeminded people who could help guide the content. Writing online seemed the best way to do this.
So far, the experience has surpassed my expectations. I've met many insightful, thought-provoking people over the last few months. I feel like we're building a supportive community.
However, the pain goes beyond the subject matter. If one of my posts is picked up by the wrong crowd, the vitriol, lies and hate dumped on me because of what I write is shocking. These people see a headline, skip the article and craft an entire narrative that supports their worldview. And then they attack, relying heavily on literal and linear thinking, accusing me of things I never did or said.
I don't engage, but I do make the mistake of reading the comments. I have to - there's no way of knowing in advance.
I bet many of you have experienced something similar. Perhaps with work colleagues or family who refuse to see what's happening to the world. I know of many families that have split because those with opposing views couldn't be civil. I've seen people fired because they were considered a "party-pooper" (actual words used by the VP at the time).
Perhaps this is why so few discuss the existential risks we face. Why open yourself up to that punishment? It's why I use a pseudonym.
Regardless, writing this newsletter is my passion - I spend hours every day ruminating. The comments and feedback from likeminded people outweighs the negativity every time. Moreover, these topics are simply too important to collect dust on a shelf.
I don't write prescriptive articles and I'm not a soothsayer. Rather, I explore possibilities and investigate hypotheticals. I observe, reflect and share. I surface feelings many of us bury. Through this process, if we end up more aware and a bit more prepared then I've accomplished my mission.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for reading my writing and supporting me. I promise to continue digging into the existential issues and swimming against the stream of vitriol for as long as I can operate a keyboard.