How We REALLY Deal with Climate Crisis
Climate activism is filled with despair for a reason — it is now the year 2017 and we have committed ourselves to planetary-scale catastrophe. Why do I say this? Simply read this ambitious plan to completely redesign the global economy by 2050… then give yourself an internal reality check. It provides a roadmap for keeping the effects of global warming below 2 degrees Celsius with the necessity to have the majority of countries in the world moving in lockstep by the year 2020.
This is a mere THREE YEARS AWAY.
Do YOU think humanity has the political capacities, ethical maturity, and ability to cooperate to get this done? My assessment is that we are nowhere close to being able to do this in time.
This is the same time period when the United States is moving into a political death spiral after decades of anti-science propaganda, systematic defunding of societal infrastructure, consolidation of corporate-owned media, and a corrosion of social values that made possible the likes of Trump as a viable candidate for the presidency. It is the time when a financial network of banks is pumping unprecedented amounts of debt into an already bloated financial bubble. We are now in a period of “weaponized” media systems where lies and confusion are heavily funded to preserve status quo configurations of political power.
There are now several billion people who struggle to feed themselves, find shelter, and survive on a daily basis. This is the perfect breeding ground for rising fundamentalism, rejection of scientific modernity, secular and religious violence, and entrenchment of tribal tendencies that divide people in the intensifying struggles to acquire scarce resources.
Those of us working to avoid the worst of the climate crisis must be honest with ourselves. Humanity does not have the cultural capacities to make the transition and avoid systemic collapse. We have already overfished the world ocean, depleted more than half of the top-soils on the planet, initiated the release of Arctic methane that accelerates everything, and we have done this during a period of “economic capture” by Neoliberal corporatist thinking that seeks to convert everything of value into money so it can be extracted by those who control trade agreements, tax havens, future investments, and the buying of elections.
Let us cast aside the pollyanna delusion that ExxonMobile will lay down its propaganda machine in the next three years. The United States will not be a world leader in climate policy. There is little hope for the United Nations sustainable development goals to get unstuck from the cancerous focus on GDP growth. So we have to do our best in this real-world context.
It is here that I make the call for a deep and fundamental reframing. Let us no longer work to avoid climate catastrophe. It is too late for that. Instead, let us work to create resilient networks of communities that will be the seedlings of a new spring after a century of deadly winter. We must think like geologists now. Time is large and slow — not short and fast. The cultural sickness that created global warming is a cancer that is eating itself. Let us dislodge ourselves from its “growth at all costs” logic and design regenerative cultures everywhere we can to survive the winter with as much collective knowledge and wisdom preserved as we can muster.
This is my declaration of deeply honest and rugged hope. I write these words not in despair but as an affirmation for how deeply I love life. I take the threats of global disruption seriously enough to be honest with myself, even though the truth is more than inconvenient. It is outright terrifying and debilitating.
Yet still we must face the calamities to come for the sake of our children and grandchildren — many of whom will survive the cataclysm of 21st Century ecological collapse. We cannot know how far the population level will decline in the next 70 years. But we can know that the current system needs to collapse as quickly as possible to unleash resources for birth and renewal. It is a time for composting the dead as it falls into disrepair. This is a very different way of thinking than to put a price on carbon in the capitalist system.
I leave you to ponder how you will participate in the redesign of cultures around the world. After you have given it the reflection this moment deserves, let us begin the conversation about how we might collaborate to weave a tapestry of resilience that holds enough of humanity intact to survive the coming storm.
Onward, fellow humans.
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