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After Coronavirus Triggers 17% Emissions Drop, Experts Say Only 'Fundamental Structural Change' Can Save Humanity's Future

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/20/after-coronavirus-triggers-17-emissions-drop-experts-say-only-fundamental-structural


Kind of a depressing study, isn’t it? We literally shut down most human activity on the planet for almost two months, and our big reward? A 17% reduction in emissions.
Dr Mann is correct. Only complete systemic change can save us now.


The American Friends Service Committee has posted a petition to be sent to Nancy Pelosi:

One Minute for Peace (the cost of war)

“The United States is budgeting to spend $634,200,000,000 of your tax dollars on the military this year. That’s about $1.2 million spent every single minute for war and so-called defense. Please sign our petition and tell Congress it’s time for a change of priorities.”

For any who are interested in keeping the messages going on record with respected organizations


Only 'Fundamental Structural Change’
…in just about every facet of Western Society will save the Future.



Climate heating has not gone away just because we stopped polluting:



Anti-truth in the forms of mis- and dis-information are also two pollutants that must be throttled back if we are to achieve Progress. The “both sides deserve equal time” meme has got to go. Unless and until we get our decision-making frameworks in order we will remain subject to the greedy short-sighted who do not and perhaps cannot think holistically. They are an existential threat to Life on Earth as we Value it. The rules must change.

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One big lesson is to not wait for the White House to run everything. Doesn’t that sound like a pretty good idea in retrospect?

Vermont did all the right things despite being right next door to New York State and its 350,000 confirmed cases. Vermont had 2 cases per day averaged over the last five days. That was intelligence at work!

So, get on Zoom or get on the horn and plan!

For the coronavirus we needed innovation and we needed it fast. We needed N-95 masks and lots of them. We needed to improvise with the few ventilators that we had. We needed to roll out massive testing and tracing, and we still aren’t there yet.

I think I’ll copy and paste a sentence from the previous paragraph. For climate, we need innovation and we need it fast. We need buildings to heat and cool themselves mainly with the sun landing on those buildings, just like passive solar buildings only with 100% control over not going below 68 degrees. We quickly need 100% 24/7 coverage for renewable electricity, particularly after sunset. We really need to replace freeways and not just stick electrics on the current freeways, but we need to do transit in a coronavirus-sensitive way. Finally, we need, or else humanity really suffers, to inhibit and then stop the Arctic meltdown. Failure to stop the Arctic meltdown is the kind of flunking out where they don’t let you back into school ever again, so don’t you dare ignore this and don’t bungle this.

Let Mr. Trump do it again? No.

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Question: How is the global economy like automobiles in traffic?

Automobiles in traffic pose an impediment to other modes of travel - walking, bicycling, public transit. The Global Economy is likewise an impediment to the lesser - though no less fundamental - scales of economy local, regional, state, nation.
The question why globalization is like automobiles “in traffic” is to note when traffic congestion, pollution is severe and roadways abused. I’ve been zipping around town on a 90mpg Honda 2-cyl motorbike loving the lack of traffic wondering why shouldn’t this crisis inspire visions of roads less travelled?

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We talk very sanely, we all agree, we are all on the same page, but we don’t have the power, not govenmentally nor in the media! How do we get our civilsation to see our societies’ radical insanity properly!?
We have to do something THIS decade!


Mind. Don’t forget the mind.


Zoom is for profit, just like Google.

Here, try this:

That’s free and open source.

List of servers here:

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Yeah, but we still won’t discuss the one change that really matters - reducing human overpopulation - drastically. Quickest way in the world to be called a Fascist-Nazi-Eugenicist. I ought to know, I’ve been talking about it for years, and all I get, even, sometimes especially, from supposedly “woke” progressive feminists, who continue to deny the need to sacrifice their unlimited right to pop out babies in order to have a livable planet for ALL life. That’s right, a really radical idea that it’s not only Homo Sapiens that have a “Right to Life”, and indeed would not be able to survive without just about all of the other life on the planet.

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Mann – “What this means is voluntary actions (like not flying) are inadequate. We need systemic change.”

This is an interesting specimen of the confused rhetorical war between personal, “voluntary” change and “systemic” change. Confused, because systemic change entails personal change: we will not be driving, flying, housing, eating, buying shit, etc. in an unchanged manner if we achieve “fundamental structural change.” Therefore, if people do not embrace personal-level change as meaningful, they will resist system-level change and the personal-level changes it brings – and, to whatever extent they are not mere slaves, they will impede or defeat it. Denigrating the view that personal-level change can be meaningful defeats systemic change.

I get that an atom doesn’t make a locomotive, and that my not flying to Aruba doesn’t save the world. But there are no locomotives without atoms, and unless a great many of us will voluntarily give up flying to Aruba – and welcome a thousand other changes to our lives – the world will not be saved. The personal is systemic, the systemic personal. Not as as an avant-garde slogan – physically and politically.


While the deaths directly related to covid -19 are bad, there are also numerous positive affects. One of these is the cleaner air throughout many of the world’s large cities causing significant reductions in respiratory illnesses. And as millions of the deaths annually are attributed to respiratory illnesses aggravated by air pollution; it may then be that covid-19 will have actually reduced the overall number of deaths that would have occurred had air pollution worldwide remained on a normal deteriorating trajectory. Ironic?

Hi PaulK. An excellent comment. The only error in the whole paper was in the first sentence, so I offer a correction:
One big lesson is to not wait for the White House to run ruin everything. Doesn’t that sound like a pretty good idea in retrospect?

Do better. Park the motorbike (even if it is electric) and go pedal-bicycle.

And speaking of roads less traveled, one fundamental change (among many) that will be necessary is giving up on traveling. If you can’t walk (or at most, bicycle) there, you pretty much never should plan on going there.

“Automobiles in traffic (fast, excessive and wasteful) are an impediment to other modes of travel - walking, bicycling, public transit. The global Economy is likewise an impediment to the lesser - though no less fundamental - scales of economy (innumerably) at local, regional, state and nation level. Globalization, like the car, is now presenting an impediment to its own most practical and least use.” (edited)

The bike is a bad black Rebel saddled and left mirror gone. It’s fast only up to 55mph. I’m able to survey road travel and traffic conditions much more completely on it. I could write it off my taxes. It’s much safer passing bicyclists on narrow shoulders. I’m able to recognize which roads are unsafe for bicycling and force complaint for reduced speed.

As for cars, an EV in the garage is a backup power supply. Don’t drive it unless you have to. Use grid and rooftop solar to keep it charged and cooking pancakes, fridge cool, phone, crappy computer going when the regional utility grid fails. You want a small battery EV there, plugged-in, not over in some damn giant garage, maybe it’ll show up to carried the injured to the hospital, maybe not. The driverless idea is utterly ridiculous. Anyway. My bike has further carried our urban study. The Rebel is rated 70mpg but get 60mpg. My carb trick increased mileage to 95mpg a 30% increase and reduced emissions. The road less travelled out starts by travelling it.