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Global Inequality in a Time of Climate Emergency

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/17/global-inequality-time-climate-emergency

I’ve become pessimistic thinking along the lines of this article. However, it’s obvious that we can’t give up, and part of that is to have a belief that we not only can but will succeed. But how to get there from here?

As a mathematician, sometimes when I’m stumped of how to get from A to B, I start with B and see if I can get back to A.

I think a really healthy exercise for all of us who are worried about what’s coming down the pike, is to imagine a wonderful future, say in 2100. What WILL your world be like? No wars, right? A much more equal world. A world withouth poverty. A world where everyone has the essentials of life. A world where we live with an understanding and healthy relationship to the rest of the environment. A world where human (and other animal, and plant) rights are respected. A world with a place for everyone and a role for anyone who wants one.

How to we get here from there?

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The French found a solution to inequality in 1789: liberté, egalité, fraternité.

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Forget the Green New Deal, intoned the elite New York Times. Global warming is from too much CO2 gas; lower it and the problem is solved, so why worry about the so-called root causes, those pesky social justice issues beloved only by Bernie, Warren and AOC types. Talk about venting excess gas! Methinks the global elite is fearful that the recent European elections - the Green Tide - might merge with a splurge with the U.S. Blue Wave, and is therefore desperate for ways to protect the elite class’ usual ways of doing things. What are these root causes of global warming? Let me count the ways.

From the coal-and-oil Koch Brothers to the slaughter-house Tysons, extreme wealth concentration owes much to the polluting industries. Hey, they say, we are entitled to our tax free inheritance and billionaire tax cuts. Sure we made big bucks with pollution, but we had to pay for pseudo-science to hide the CO2 and methane pollution. Similarly, we had to pay for phony research when we sold you nicotine and leaded gasoline. Fooled ya with bogus data for decades, and woulda been longer if not for those smarty pants who could afford to go to college, who did the real science, and proved that we lied. We’d be crazy to allow free college education so more kids can learn to think critically. And how dare you disrespect our pal the corporate person, who was recently granted the right to corrupt Congress with unlimited dark money. We need this money to get a pass on license-to-pollute laws by hiring bi-partisan law makers, and former officials turned lobbyists. And as to ill health, those who cannot connect their mushy brains to pollution are valued fans of our fake Fox news outlet. Why provide health care for them, or for the medically indigent, all of whom are slated to succumb to pollution and die early. And what’s with net-neutrality? What harm does it do to let internet giants charge extra for higher speed, while the folks who won’t pay extra get snail speed, or are blocked altogether? Why, these cheapskates are just the type to use the internet to bad-mouth our global warming pollution. Slooow and approved speech, that’s our First Amendment goal post.

To: The Editor, The New York Times: Extreme wealth concentration, free higher education, Citizens evil-legal opinion, saturation political corruption, Medicare-for-all, net neutrality and more, are all intimately connected to either the warming or the warmers of our planet. You would have us file them away under ‘unrelated social justice issues’ (nice try), but they are neither ‘social’ (as in - shudder - socialism) nor ‘justice’ (as in, Ma, my slice of pie is smaller). No sir! These programs are all needed to save us from planet-wide destruction, which only a vibrant, free, and prosperous democracy can accomplish. WE call them the Green New Deal. School kids can see the connection between their ruined environment and the ruins of a democracy. Now THAT is news worth reporting, hellooo NYT. You once misused your powers by convincing our soldiers to die for non-existent WMD in Iraq: for goodness’ sake, use your powers for good thi time.