The Earth exclaims that our ways are destructive by unleashing withering droughts, monster storms, shattering freezes, choking air pollution, rapidly shrinking ice caps and more.

Every year seems to be the hottest. Climate change is speeding up and soon will become uncontrollable. The result will be catastrophic.

In California, the bone-crunching, worst-in-500-years drought is a pivotal time. Moving massive amounts of water over great distances to the south by draining and wrecking northern rivers largely grew this state into abundance. Those days are over.

From now on, it's less water; like this year, it could be drastically less. For the first time, the State Water Project stopped all deliveries for agriculture and municipalities, and the federal Central Valley Project reduced its output by more than half.

In the broader perspective, agriculture gets 80 percent of the water at relatively cheap rates, and 80 percent of that is for alfalfa, cotton and rice, relatively low value crops. The arid, far from water sources western San Joaquin Valley has toxic soils that shouldn't be farmed but has teeming acres of newly planted, guzzling almond trees.

This inefficiency was created by deep-pocket lobbies and pliant politicians, until this year, when nature forced a stop.

California will suffer, jobs will decrease, prices will increase, standards of living will deteriorate, and a marked depopulation may result. We're just one example of many, and it will get worse, unless.

Whatever the problem, government is incapable of instituting sensible solutions for the greater well-being because its primary purpose is to lavish the rich and squeeze everyone else.

In the U.S., the richest 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 180 million, and the richest 1,000 people in the world have more wealth than the bottom 2.5 billion. Democracy? Only the gullible are fooled.

Although scientists conclude that catastrophic climate change is inevitable unless major changes are made, we heedlessly ignore their warnings and the Earth's powerful messages and race toward the cliff because we're chained to capitalism's requirement for perpetual growth and profit maximization.

Perpetual growth is impossible, and the more we grow, the more we kill the Earth. The addiction to profit maximization results in a system that feeds on itself and everyone but the superrich in a cannibalistic frenzy.

Elites know hard times are coming, but they aggressively defend the status quo. They know that a massive uprising is the most serious threat to their extreme privilege, so they weaken civil liberties, increase state surveillance, and stoke fear by insisting that it is for our own good and to protect against terrorism.

We teeter at the precipice of unthinkable devastation largely because of a tiny minority's greed for power, prestige and obscene extravagance, and heartlessness.

It's the same mentality of megalomaniacs and selfish elites throughout history, but this time everyone's survival is threatened.

We must radically change our ways to cooperation, respect for all living things and living simply. Only the masses can make that happen. When conditions become intolerable, the masses rise up.

It already has started, in Greece, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, and it will spread.

The fight will be long and incredibly difficult, and the state will strike back forcefully, but we must win to prevent disaster.

Keith Nakatani is an Oakland resident.