"Every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position."
Gee, what a surprise!
Let’s get real for a moment. Nothing, at this point–not the Paris Accord and not “the people”–is going to impede the sixth extinction. Not that we shouldn’t keep trying, but it’s here, it’s now, and it’s inexorable.
The Sixth Extinction, as it is popularly known, is underway, but not yet inevitable.
and according to Peter Ward, one of the true world experts on mass extinctions, there have been more than six mass extinction events, probably at least ten, known so far in the geologic record.
But that’s not my point really.
Like Richard Dawkins and others, who claim to ‘know’ the truth - so far as most scientists see it - what we ‘don’t know’ exceeds by orders of magnitude what we think we know !
It is unhelpful, and inaccurate, to ‘claim’ that you ‘know’.
There is a biodiversity crisis, we have created it - we are responsible - and we can reverse some of the damage.
Edward O. Wilson, perhaps our most distinguished biologist, thinks we need to set aside half the Earth for nature, and the Y2Y inititaive of Harvey Locke and Karsten Heuer (“Walking the Big Wild”) et al seeks to connect via wildlife corridors from Yellowstone to the Yukon in Canada, nature in the raw, or as raw as it can be in a population of seven point two billion going to nine or ten billion by mid-century - where we and our domesticated animals constitute some 97% of land based animal mass as we speak (“The Ends of the World”, by Peter Brannen).
Lets all try and remain optimistic, like Sir Ernest Shackleton:
“Optimism is true moral courage”.
This article is a step in that direction.
As bad as things are, they may well change soon.
Not because our avaricious so called leaders and pathological corporations - operating under a totally misguided and fanciful ideology called neoliberal capitalism - will reform - but because nature is now reacting to our loss of integrity - to our passivity in the face of great trial - to our ‘civilization’ - which is spectacularly ‘uncivilized’ in its behavior.
“Stupid is as stupid does” - “actions speak louder than words” etc…
Nations on this planet behave like predatory beasts of prey, as Jacques Cousteau was want to point out.
At the least - we here on Common Dreams can aspire to integrity - to speak truth to power, and not to distort.
I know this is hard, in a time of pent up rage and fury.
But somehow we must prevail and accomplish what our 'leaders cannot - if we are to step off the road to extinction and onto another path.
The USA under Trump is a world class villain against humanity, a clear and present danger.
This just puts an exclamation point on how extreme the voters who support Trump are. It seems to a be combination of Ayn Rand ideologists, white supremacists, evangelicals advocating a theocracy, various single-issue voters, and some greed obsessed wealthy people, etc which form a unique voting block that only exists in the US. To the rest of the world it must appear that Americans are crazy. And to many Americans it also must appear that many other Americans are crazy. It is kind of crazy to turn your back on a clear threat like climate change which if not checked will probably wipe out your country.
Maybe it would have been one-hundred-percent accurate for EdsNote to have written that it was “extremely highly unlikely” for us to avoid the Sixth (or Seventh or Tenth) Great Extinction. But, honestly, do you really think that the social and (especially) the political and corporate will is there to radically change our current lifestyles and habits of consumption–on a dime–in order to avoid it?
For example, how far are you, personally, willing to go? Would you give up your car (and I’m assuming you have one) this very afternoon? Never fly in an airplane ever again? Buy nothing made of plastic? Eat no food if it were grown or produced by the current (corporate) system of animal agriculture? Because that is what it is going to take to even have a ghost of a shot at getting through this relatively unscathed.
How–in as practical a way as possible–do we “check” climate change?
Because what came out of Paris were, essentially, voluntary pledges by the heads of state of the world’s countries to meet some goals in the future. Assuming that following through on those pledges actually would be enough to forestall catastrophe (which in itself is highly unlikely; it was a very weak and flawed agreement in the first place), what do those changes actually look like–on the ground?
Well, my wife and I gave up our car just over ten years ago - and disconnected our ‘free’ cable for the TV - in our one bedroom apartment, which we have been living in for some fourteen years, and raising our son here for thirteen years, like an Apache, a long story, suffice it to say our son nursed on demand for three and a half years, has home schooled (grade eight now), and we climbed our first mountain together six days after our son was born, without drugs, natural childbirth, on crampons, in November, descending by headlamp and nursing under my red down mountain parka.
Twenty mountains before our son was one year old - together - we three.
I was a consulting wellsite geologist in the western Canadian oilpatch for eighteen years - very successful in the mainstream way of defining success - but still unmarried.
So I gave that up voluntarily, sold my condo, and climbed mountains full-time for seven years, 365 days per year, as a climb leader in western Canada, the southwestern states, Baja California and southern Mexico.
Returning from southern Mexico, I met my wife, also a climber, and the rest is history.
I took up various industrial jobs, including using temporary job services, then switched to framing residential homes with a coffee friend framer for some six years, walking about thirty feet above the very hard ground, winter and summer, in Calgary, Alberta.
Currently I work in a big chain grocery store, receiving mostly, a walk away, as are virtually all the services we require.
I have attended three universities in Canada, McGill in Montreal (geology), the University of Saskatchewan (geology), and the University of Calgary (geophysics).
I was and am I suppose, an avid canoe-man and outdoors-man, and a small plane pilot, VFR, 1975, Regina Flying Club.
Once our son was born, I became an out and outright environmentalist, which is why I blog here now.
The history of life, planetary sciences, cosmology, particle physics and the history of the west are all continuing pursuits, as is, I suppose, the philosophy of life, of morals, or lack thereof etc…
I should be happy to fill in any further details.
I think you are being too hard on the agreement for several reasons. First, it had to be voluntary because the US Senate would not have ratified a legally binding treaty to reduce emissions. Second, the agreement for the first time got developing countries to make pledges to reduce emissions and they would not have agreed to anything but a voluntary emissions. Third, everyone (excluding deniers) knows the pledges fall short and that is why there will be an effort to make the pledges stronger in 2020. But can this happen without US leadership? Not having Hillary Clinton as president may make this impossible. If nothing else, she was needed to play this leadership role on the international stage. Maybe it can be accomplished even without Clinton. Let us hope so because as you noted the pledges are very weak compared with what is needed. The rapid increase in solar and wind in many countries is at least one hopeful sign that the pledges will be considerably strengthened at the 2020 meeting.
Yes, yes , and yes.
I am currently doing all those things AND more.
My car is all electric. My lawnmower is battery electric. I maintain a large organic garden. I compost everything I can. I have a geothermal HVAC system. I repair, repurpose, reuse, or recycle everything possible. I capture rainwater in rainbarrels. I save the cold water coming from my kitchen sink hot water tap before the hot water gets there. I eat 1/3 the red meat I used to. I am currently taking bids for a solar array that will double as a patio cover and charge my car. I also subscribe to a program to have some of my electric service come from renewable sources.
In addition to these measures, I have cut up all my credit cards and gone to a cash only existence and stopped shopping corporate anything. I buy local whenever possible and stopped buying consumer goods just to keep up with the Jones’s.
Not everybody can do all these things.
Some of you can do some of these things.
All of you can do one of these things.
Just do it.
When you say without drugs I sure hope you do not mean that you did not vaccinate your babies? You can live like an apache, but theres a reason why the average native American did not have a life expectancy of 78-80 years in the 1500s.
And the answer is: Virgin soil epidemics such as flu, measles, and chicken pox wiped out entire populations as a result of European contact via the “explorers” from Italy, Spain, and Portugal…native societies had NO immunity to such diseases. Later on, add to that the US Cavalry trading smallpox infested blankets with unsuspecting Native Americans causing even more decimation on entire populations. As for vaccinations, they were not extant for almost three centuries later when Louis Pasteur created the first live attenuated bacterial vaccine (chicken cholera) in 1879 and research into diseases did not begin until the mid-18th century (1721).
I’m aware of European’s disease introduction to the new world, but you cannot suggest that native americans had life expectancies equal to that of people living in developed societies today. It is a fact that modern medicine is better for society that native American way of life pre-colonization.
Geronimo lived to be 79, as did many other native Americans.
No drugs in my reply earlier meant no drugs to ease the pain of childbirth.
Unfortunately you sound like a dogmatic one - so I;ll end the conversation here.
I understand that people need to believe that the impending collapse of the global ecosystem and consequent chaos can be averted. It’s difficult to carry on when it seems futile, so people must reject that feeling. But if “our most distinguished biologist thinks we need to set aside half the Earth for nature” in order to save the planet, and that’s really what it might take, then forget it! Not gonna happen!
I’ll take Riz’s point in response to yours: given the uncertainty in projecting even well established trends into the future, I can’t claim to “know” we’re fracked; I’m just 99.99% certain we’re fracked (the same way I’m 99.99999999% certain there are no supernatural gods). And if our job here on Common Dream is, in part, “not to distort,” it’s equally poor service to pretend we can radically (magically) upend the entrenched world order of pathological capitalism that is now more dominant than at any time in my sixty years.
“As bad as things are, they may well change soon.” Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt! But that’s okay, you can play Polyanna to my Cassandra anytime! (For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure your attitude is better for mental health than is mine, and I would never take that from you. Sometimes I air my despair just to be heard.)
I appreciate you backing me up. As the replies to your comment show, there are those who make personal changes in their lifestyles to reduce their impacts. Good on them! Still won’t matter in the long run…
The political system has changed some with the Virginia election - it is reported.
And people are still just waking up.
The changes in nature will see to that -
When the people wake up - the politicians will change their tune - and not before.
So, following this way of thinking - the first imperative is that the people wake up.
Yes - we may not make it - that’s certainly a distinct possibility.
But it is also a distinct possibility that people will wake up - because, if you think about it - they will have no choice.
Necessity will take over - and that is why I maintain hope, and blog here.
Necessity is quite different from false hopes, don’t you think ?