As the world braced for President Donald Trump's expected announcement of withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement on Thursday, environmental organization 350.org laid out steps for how an energized people's movement can "rise up like never before" and stop the anti-science White House from destroying the planet.
Hooray for all those who are organizing the climate movement because as climate change worsens, the movement can only grow. The world is not under the thumb of Trump and his Band of Billionaires cronies. There is no dropping this issue. There is no forgetting the urgency. There is nothing that Trump can do to keep up his anti-scientific denialism for very long.
America's problems are exacerbated by a non functioning mainstream press. Our media allows Trump and the Repubs to get away with all this autocratic oligarchic corruption and disdain for democracy BUT...
...there is no escaping the truth of climate change despite Trump's attempts to play down and dirty and dumb (and crass, crude and corrupt) about it.
Growing climate chaos will continue to make people here and around the world pull together and finally push these corrupt deniers out of the picture!
Trump is like the medieval king Canute, who waded out into the sea and commanded the tide not to come in. Luckily for him his attendants and the advisors who assured him of his autocratic royal power had to rush out to save him from drowning!
Trump commands that climate change is a hoax.
This is the single most important issue: The ecological crisis. Without a livable planet all else is moot.
We will probably need to start with working on local sustainability: Individual; neighborhood; town, borough, and city councils; and county officials.
Trump's philosophy -- Money over Life and the Environment which supports it
There is a lot to do. But there are also many other issues for people do deal with. Such a saving democracy and preventing fascism, stopping the white supremacist movement. protecting undocumented immigrants from inhumane treatment, protecting Muslims, protecting public education at the k-12 level and higher education, protecting science, etc. Nobody who wants a better country and better world should be bored with nothing to during the next several years. Had Hillary Clinton won life would have been much more relaxing but she lost the electoral college vote despite wining the popular vote by almost 3 million votes so now we much find the energy for more action than we ever anticipated.
"anti-science White House" Really just a White House supporting short-term greed somewhat more than usual. Remember too that Trump is there because he captured a significant proportion of the lumpenproletariat who vote with pie-in-the sky promises. (A component of the electorate that the opponents of Trump and his ilk will have to find a way to communicate with.)
The 'world's greatest democracy' baloney is long past its use by date. Instead of endlessly regurgitating it, its time to rethink the whole system.
For all the talk of direct political action, there is actual direct action that can be taken and it is important to remember that our responsibility starts there. Soil carbon sequestration is something we all can do by starting an organic garden, for example. Avoid fast food, eat less red meat and factory-farmed poultry. Make your next car purchase a hybrid, or better yet, an electric. Bicycle to work. These are all things everyone knows, of course.
Realigning the priorities of the economy can only happen if consumers realign their priorities first. It is a fundamental truth that the economy produces what the consumer wants and needs, however, what we want is not always what we need. It is important that we all become more conscious and not confuse our wants with our needs, remembering that sometimes what we want (that SUV) is at cross-purposes with what we really need (a clean conscience and clean air to breathe).
I think the public needs to remember that there is an order of priority for things. One of the issues that kills Democrats at the polls is that it is made up of a multiplicity of interest groups all with their laundry lists of demands of the party at large. All these things you name are part of these laundry lists but do not constitute anything that has direct appeal to the average white male voter. Now, maybe you do not want to appeal to that particular interest group, but until the Democrats wake up and realize they need a message and, yes, a vision for the future that has broad appeal even to the white male voter, they will languish in minority opposition.
Of course the climate should be first priority. A full embrace of climate remedies will also solve our economic difficulties. Since a rising tide lifts all boats, this is where the Democrats could, if they have the political courage, resurrect their own party and lead us into a new era of economic prosperity, global security, and mitigate the worst of the climate damage.
The other things on your list are important, but they should be secondary concerns for now. Many of them may be addressed indirectly as a consequence of addressing the climate and economy. It will be important to first prioritize the climate/economy with massive public investment in green energy infrastructure funded by massive disinvestment in the fossil-fuel industry. This will fuel (pun intended) a new era of economic growth and prosperity.
I truly love people people like you at a spiritual level with all my heart
Simply? Because I am unsure of what you want politically.
Here's why I'm always leery of persons or groups who advocate anything that can "save the planet." First off, it's an inaccurate misrepresentation of what's happening. The "planet" doesn't need saving. It's fine and will continue orbiting the sun till enough more billions of years pass and the sun uses up its fuel, goes all red giant, and blows up and burns up the inner planets.
As the late George Carlin said, "The planet isn't going anywhere. We are."
A bit of poetic exaggerated overstatement. We are headed down a path that could cause a total human die off, the total extinction of our entire species. But even that is not necessarily a certainty. Realistically, what our environmental activities are doing is trashing is the biosphere and biomass, the sum total of life on the planet. It would take a pretty drastic something to render the whole living shebang dead and gone for good, but research biologists have said that it would be possible. A mass extinction is more likely one that is taking out all the higher life forms -- that would include we humans -- knocking everything back to the one cell stage.
One of the early pioneers of ecological catastrophe pop non fiction, Dr. Paul Erlich, who along with Rachel Carson ("Silent Spring") got me thinking along these lines way back in the long ago days of my adolescence, and whose writings are why I bought into "live now, the future is an all in your head" eco-psychedelic hippie mindset that prevented me from being able to take seriously concepts like planning for the future. Which is why I am astonished to find myself having reached early stage old age, and that terrestrial electromechanical human society has lasted as long as it has. I never expected that.
Dr. Erlich in one of his books put forth the concept of the "lynchpin species," one life form that can't be eliminated without also destroying the whole ecosystem they are embedded in and for which it provides something essential to the whole ecosystem's continuation. One such example would be the honeybee which is the critter that is responsible for pollinating human plant food crops. And we are all aware through tittilatingly scary news reports and documentaries that the honeybees are in trouble and are mysteriously declining. If the time comes when their disappearance reaches critical mass and there aren't enough human beekepers left to pollinate the crops, welcome to Big Time famine. At the very least those whose solution to global warming being to have everybody switch to being vegan and stop eating animal flesh food. The edible animals left would need pollinated plants to eat if there be enough to replace crop yields as the primary source of human calories. Insects may be able to feed people who are able to overcome their gag reflexes and able to the learning curve to know which bugs are poisonous to eat.
So the best thing we can hope for is that the processes that can be fatal to us can be slowed down to give us time to adapt, to learn and develop coping strategies. That's why getting as many people as possible to buy into the concepts of global warming due to human caused climate change. To get people to think in terms of trying to learn together and work together to create conditions where as many people as possible can survive long enough to create conditions of sustainable liveabilty.
And to do that people are going to have to find ways to get over all the political, religious, ethnic, and ideological differences that keep us blaming each other, plotting how to get over on each other or get rid of each other, putting a majority of our brain power into developing weapons of mass misery creation.
It remains to be seen whether people can get it together or whether worsening conditions will make everyone go into a murderous mad panic and succeed in destroying everything even before it would "normally" happen.
I'm probably too old to see how it all comes out. I hope there is some sort of an after life that can provide me with a comfortable balcony seat from where I can see what happens to the rest of the crown of creation magic apes.
Not to split hairs here but buying a 2017 automobile leaves a 4.5 Xs larger carbon foot print than buying an older used one, I'm told.
Which speaks to the trade-offs we face. Going after publicly owned utilities, to clean up their act, and old power sources which use coal, etc is benign in the sense that it doesn't interfere will our private consumption choices. And, most importantly, doesn't interfere with the manufacturing and sales of all things " newer, bigger, better ". Which supports the cry for jobs, jobs, jobs.
At some point all the low hanging fruit will be picked ( coal, oil, natural gas, etc. ) and personal consumption ( lifestyle choices ) will be limited by government fiat, not markets.
Then watch all the upper classes howl and push back. And, scream about " freedom ".
While many view this as important because of the importance of the Global Warming 'issue', I view this as even more strategically significant as the meta-causal and first fissure in the U.S. HQed Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE's fall/collapse.
And while the initial First American "Political Revolution against EMPIRE" [Justin du Rivage] was the 18th century's New World breaking away from European Empires' disease on the world at that time, this initial fissure of a more progressive Europe (and the rest of the anti-EMPIRE world) breaking away from the orbit of this current U.S. secretly developed, HQed, DGCEmpire only 'posing' as our former country is not only hopefully the culmination of Revolutions in 1776, 1789, 1848, 1917, 1960's, and 1989-91, but possibly the a final "turning away" from Empire at last.
I will not hazard a guess on whether the current epoch of Trump as faux-Emperor of the DGCEmpire is a result of Empire planning for their 2016 regime 'front' or whether unplanned circumstances to Empire strategy occurred exogenously.
However, whether planned by the Empire to 'expose' an overtly and extreme 'Emperor-like' figurehead (eg. Trump) in order to drive the political dial back toward the 'smoother-lying' neoliberal 'D' Vichy party type (eg. Bill Clinton or Obama-like) faux-Emperors as 'cover' for the underLYING DGCEmpire, or whether Trump was an erroneous quirk who is more dangerous and "visibly imperial", and possibly 'off the leash' (like the banking and industrial installed Herr Hitler), the net effect of our current situation is that 'we the American people' have been presented the opportunity to see and understand that BOTH the Vichy parties and all of the faux-Emperors that have been presented by the DGCEmpire over the last 9 'least worse voting scams' need to be 'exposed' and expunged (if not non-violently 'excised' from any functional democracy worth being called 'our country'.
It is critically important at this uniquely propitious time in human history to recognize that BOTH Vichy Parties and BOTH types of 'rougher-talking' neocon "R' Vichy Party candidates, AND 'smoother-lying' neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy Party candidates must never again be allowed to show their deadly specters across our former country's 'body politic' if the body of anything approaching a real functional democracy (or even a minimally representative Republic) is to be revived.
While I've been saying substantially the same effin thing since 2007, and yet, unfortunately the American people, even the supposedly more informed sector of the American people here and elsewhere who appear to be leftish, pseudo progressive, and read supposed alt media appear to be TSTSTFE (too stupid to save themselves from Empire).
"And so it goes", as Kurt Vonnegut died saying.
To be a bit more fair to some Americans I should perhaps have said TSADBTMPSTSTFE (to stupid and deluded by the media/propaganda-sector to save themselves from Empire), but that's a pretty long acronym to unpack.
I stop here because your examples are things that need to be much more individualized. For instance, I can't garden (my property isn't suitable, either) so I'm doing sequestration by allowing what was lawn when I moved in 19 years ago to become meadow, then brush lot, and now a pretty nice grove of poplars and beeches (etc.). I can't "use" it, so it may have decreased the resale value of my land, but I have other values. I do buy my produce locally as much as I can, and limit some things to the times of year when I can get them within hours of harvest (asparagus, corn) or within my state (blueberries). But you can't grow avocados in NJ, and even though I know they come with a lot of baggage, I want and need them in my diet. I have a disability that makes it nearly impossible to stop and go into a restaurant when I'm traveling even locally, or to cook for myself when I get home. But I'm selective about which drive-thrus I patronize and what I buy when I do use them. I don't, for instance, even go through Wendy's because they refuse to commit to tomatoes raised and picked by fairly paid workers, or McDonald's because they have their uniforms made by prison slave labor.
A hybrid car is less efficient in the exurbs where I live than my 10yo 4-cylinder manual-transmission coupe (36 to 40 mpg, and about 11 gallons a week). An electric car isn't much help if the power is made by burning coal. But if more of us in the car-dependent areas learned to drive stick shifts and demanded them, and used them with care, yeah we could change the market and reduce our emissions. But it takes individual evaluation and decision-making.
I've just this morning learned of Project Drawdown and bought the Kindle book,
I'll be looking there for more I can do, and inviting others to share the possibilities.
And on the state level.
Already my California has agreed with New York and Washington to go beyond the Paris recommendations. And we will soon be negotiating with Canada, Mexico, China and beyond.
Aside from deep racism, which is harder to influence, the average white male voted for Trump because of the economy.
It is our job, therefore, to convince them of the truth - many more new jobs are being created by solar, wind and efficiency than by fossil fuels; and that renewables, even aside from climate change, don't kill any workers.
Let's not get carried away. They don't kill in the percentages that, say, coal mining does, but coal mining doesn't kill in the numbers it did in its day, before unions and OSHA and similar regulations. But you can fall off a wind turbine, and making and installing photovoltaic structures is not without danger. Just last night I came across something about retraining coal miners for renewable-energy jobs, and even it pointed out that wind installers couldn't be afraid of heights. I thought that was pretty funny advice to give recruits from an underground industry, but I was in search of other kinds of information.
For those discouraged, who think that big $ always "wins," let's remember that Buddha died leaving only his bowl and robe; Mahatma Ghandi died with less than 2 dollars to his name.