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How to Save the Planet and Ourselves

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/18/how-save-planet-and-ourselves


Can it be, a Hedges article with maybe just a tinge of optimism? Hedge’s is right, of course, that it’s now time to fight or face extinction. As someone who has spent her whole adult life actively protesting for social justice, however, I am not optimistic about using the same old methods of protest that we have been using since the 60s, when I and others marched against the Vietnam war. The dreaded “establishment” we fought, then, has adapted and found new ways to immunize itself from protests in the street. Meanwhile, we protesters continue to use the same basic form of protest. While there certainly have been some victories, we now have Trump, endless war, a decline into fascism and, of course, a climate crisis after nearly thirty years of climate talks and little to show for it.

I don’t have the answers, but given our species’ supposed intelligence, maybe, just maybe, we can find additional forms of protest, rather than fall back on the same old, same old. Time to start thinking, people.


Well, Hedges has finally given us the ‘what to do’ that so many have hammered him for, though I believe it has been implicit in many of his other writings. While rebellion is happening in many places around the world, ‘we the people’ are far too comfortable with our meat intensive diets and temperature controlled domiciles to get off our asses and make necessary changes, including mass rebellion. God forbid we should take the chance that we could wind up in jail for a few days! How long will it take before we realize that WE are the frog in the pot of warm water?


I think (okay I optimistically hope) that we have already won but just how good a victory or how complete a victory has yet to be determined. Even though the oligarchy tries to stall the inevitable about getting off fossil fuels, too many people world wide are up and aware of that need. The genie is out of the barrel (bottle) and won’t be going back in. So even though the war to save ourselves from extinction still needs the fighting to be done and the battles won quickly (therein lies the rub), I seriously doubt that climate change will cause the end of our species.

Conversely the extinction event (6th) now ongoing of literally millions of other species may continue to a dire and dreary end. We humans may save ourselves but the fate of much of the natural world remains in doubt.

Nevertheless, our protests (worldwide) have caused a renaissance in the thinking about and the understanding of the limits of our environment and just how powerful is humanity’s effect on a fragile and much imperiled biosphere.

The protests are working but if they stop the oligarchate will return to fossil fuel use in a flash. Take heart and join a protest because each one sets politicians wringing their hands (that used to be filled with donations by the fossil fuel industry) and CEOs of oil et al gnashing their teeth. But yeah, we really are winning! We just need to win faster.


Here’s an interesting dialectic – at heart, a contradiction – in the same article. Hedges apparently accepts the assumptions behind the well-known IPCC warning (also in the subhead):

We must reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the next 12 years to have a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophe.

Meanwhile, his subject, social critic Roger Hallam, grounds his reasoning on completely different assumptions:

In short, we are fucked—the only question is by how much and how soon?

Hallam doesn’t sound to me like he puts much stock in any 50% chance if dot dot dot. Our catastrophe just continues, and compounds, here in California. Tomorrow we’re due for more “public safety power shutoffs” in the Sierra foothills, another “offshore wind event.”

Last Monday might have been the first day in recorded history in which not a drop of rain fell on the entire continent of Australia.

It’s underway, now. The Arctic icecap has been weakened so severely it might as well be gone, as regards the job it used to do: holding together Earth’s climate system. “Catastrophe” is no longer optional or avoidable, by any coherent reading of the word. It is here. We can deal with it hatefully or compassionately. We can go down scratching out each other’s eyes, or else not.


I appreciate your optimism. It helps. Either way, we have no choice. We can’t stop, now.

I think it’s way past time to put the topic of how to prepare for the worst on the table. Yes, we need to keep pushing for needed change, but the discussion now needs to expand to include survival strategies. Good to have a backup plan. if we can’t stop it, turning up the AC is not a survival strategy; it’s the problem.


Our fight is with those who damage our biosphere. Yes people leave lights on in a room when nobody is there but the way to fix the problem is to make that electrify use not damaging to our environment. That person could leave on the lights if they were powered by solar or wind etc… People will use environmentally friendly alternatives given a choice. Why not? But fossil fuel companies do not want to stop using fossil fuel. There is the battle. The Corporatocracy Of Oil and the political oligarchy that protects it and not the planet.


Here we get to a key fallacy of the green growth fanatics, similar to the days when nuclear power proponents told us electricity would become “too cheap to meter.” Green energy, in some people’s minds, is so completely clear of any harmful effects that we should feel free to just waste it. Some people have some re-thinking to do, to avoid indigestion from swallowing whole chunks of sales jive.


Some day in the near future, like next week, everyone will come to the understanding that this is nothing more than “happy talk”. It is not grounded in science, it is fairy-dust. It actually is damaging to spout such nonsense. Gimme some truth, all I want is the truth…sorta John Lennon like maybe.

Both Linneas and Darwin were dead wrong. Homo sapiens sapiens is NOT the man who knows he knows. We’re like all other animals, living wholly in the present without a clue about the future. And Darwin’s English Upper class education tripped him up in his observations. He saw what he needed to see to preserve his culture-that only the strong survive through competition. He failed to see or ignored the level of cooperation between species to form an ecosystem that helps everything.
I would love to go down hard from now on-put all the sociopaths who have no conscience, empathy, and compassion, and are greedy bullies, into a containment camp, rather like what the US of Abuse has on its southern border. Isolate them like a case of the plague. Then put a quarentine on all devices that separate us from each other and the world, like television to Smartphones, so we can relearn to connect, face to face, and learn from each other with the daily tsunani of shit composed of constant ads, news, and must-see programs. It’s much more fun to play games with each other, share stories, and learn from both Elders and children. Because…we don’t have ten years. Maybe five, if we’re lucky.


If we continue to increase the heating of this planet, some may not be doomed but many will die off due to the fact that heat, especially that over 104F, kills sperm. Even using a hot tub regularly or taking hot showers will reduce the sperm count. There is a reason nature placed men’s testicles outside the body but if one lives in a part of the globe where temperatures are increasingly getting hotter (southern USA?) and staying hotter, say over 104F, then the reproductive abilities of humans will be severely curbed. I guess that would be one way to decrease the population - and make many men relatively redundant.


I am surprised at this argument from you. Are you suggesting that someone who provides all of their electricity needs through solar or wind or some other non polluting source should still need to turn off the lights in a room because electricity production by other means (polluting) for other people’s needs is polluting? Are you joking?

We will make our energy needs non polluting and with the spectacular rate of development of solar and wind et al that can’t come soon enough. The past is not the future just as a prologue is not the actual novel.

What came before is not what will come after.

Ouch! Lol. Redundant? I prefer to think of myself as being better than a warm pair of socks on a cold night madam! Of course I do have high standards.

Except one thing Chris. If Bernie doesn’t win the Nomination there indeed is no political path. However, if that time comes we can try to choose our opposition, and you are beyond tragically mistaken to your lasting infamous shame if you think some toothless pathetic Dem opposition is the same as an almost impossible Trump (hidden) effective dictatorship that will be if he prevails. Dictatorships are almost impossible to change, much more impossible in a USA Dictatorship. The effect on Global governance will also be dramatic at that point. In short if Trump prevails it probably won’t matter in the least and we can kiss everything way way way goodbye at that point!

I think universal vasectomy (except indigenous male populations) is even a better way to control the population. Especially in the US Empire and their white sycophant enabler countries that destroyed the environment in the first place for the elite’s profits.

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Well sir, I applaud your high standards and hope that you and other men with high standards are those who would not be condemned to infertility in order to populate the planet with people who hold these same high standards around the globe. It would be a far better world worth rebuilding to a progressive, socialist and sustainable future, enabling all to survive with dignity and ending the dictatorial corporate plunder that impoverishes all - human and non-human alike.

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I can only 100% agree with your point of view. Our First Peoples are those who are best able to save our white butts, however, why should they after the genocidal policies still in place in both North and South America. The only reasoning the First Peoples have in saving the rest of us is that they too are as affected by the warming climate as we, if not even more so after centuries of oppression, disenfranchisement and containment.


Like back in the sixties… look to the courage of the few and the strength and impatience of the young. Nevertheless whether it was back then or now, it is all about the ones who are first. Others will follow the lead of the most courageous but not of those who are rash or foolhardy. The courage of the heart when joined with the logic of truth produces a change in people. Truth has to be there as much as courage. When a lone woman sat in her seat it inspired the Civil Right’s Movement of the sixties. The sit ins and then the marches. The truth of it was there along with the feelings in the heart and people of all kinds knew it.

The young see the truth of this fight. The rest of the world is now seeing it too but the young (as always) have the strength and will to be first. Don’t believe the fatalist and those who assure everybody that things will never change because things always change when people make them change. Anyone with common sense can see that the climate movement has great power and is spreading world wide in every sector of society. The reason is because the truth of its goals are obvious to everyone. That gets communicated to those who come late… that they are lagging behind everybody.

The denialists are having a harder time finding people who believe their crap. In short… people the world over are seeing more and more people participating in the fight to stop climate change. At this point it isn’t if but when. It isn’t should we but more it’s how to.

We used to chant “The whole world is watching” but this time maybe we should chant “The whole world is helping” …because it is starting to.


One possible response to said rebellion: non-lethal drone technology:

legislative provisions against weaponizing drones usually explicitly prohibit only “puttingguns” on the drones (Brustein 2013). As I suggest elsewhere (Sandvik forthcoming), efforts toequip drones with less lethal weapons are already well under way; thus, weaponization shouldbe thought of as an evolving process, not one that is necessarily tied to a single legislative ortechnological moment.By the late 1990s, drones were already being proposed as a means of helping lawenforcement to “deliver and deploy non-lethal agents” such as smoke canisters (for crowdcontrol) and steel spikes (to destroy tires) (Murphy and Cycon 1999, 1). The drone industrycontinues to show substantial interest in such uses: the ShadowHawk, for instance—whichhas already been purchased by local police departments in the United States—is capable offiring rubber bullets and releasing tear-gas canisters and Taser projectiles; reportedly, it alsohas the capacity to launch grenades and to fire 12-gauge shotguns (Kindynis 2012).In the realm of weaponization, traditional manufacturers are being joined by a motleygroup of drone startups—one of which, Chaotic Moon Studios, has developed the CUPID(Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone), a “stun-copter” capable of delivering an80,000-volt shock that, according to the manufacturer, could be used by law enforcement toapprehend fleeing suspects (Aamot 2014). (In 2014, Chaotic Moon Studios provided a livedemonstration of the effect of the CUPID on a human.) More controversial is the Skunk RiotControl Copter manufactured by Desert Wolf, a South African company. Designed to be usedto “control unruly crowds . . . without endangering the lives of the protestors or the securitystaff” (Smith 2014), the drone is equipped with both blinding lasers and on-board speakers tosend verbal warnings to a crowd; it also has four high-capacity gun barrels capable ofshooting up to 4,000 paintballs, pepper-spray balls, or solid plastic balls at rates of up toeighty balls per second, to be used in an extreme “life threatening situation” (Smith 2014)

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You shouldn’t be surprised to hear me making sense, Wereflea. Maybe I don’t always make sense, but it shouldn’t be totally suprising when I do.

In the future, which is now, electricity will be very precious. There will be no thought of anyone wasting any, however it is acquired, stored, and used. There’s no longer any margin for waste, my friend.