Home | About | Donate

La Grande Négociation: While We Bargain, Our Ultimate Fate Comes Down to Acceptance


La Grande Négociation: While We Bargain, Our Ultimate Fate Comes Down to Acceptance

Asher Miller

I have to confess a certain reluctance in sharing my views about the Paris climate talks, knowing as I do that it’s all too easy to judge from a distance while so many wonderful, dedicated colleagues are in Paris trying to ensure that some kind of meaningful, tangible progress is achieved at COP21. And, after all, the talks have only just begun.

That said, a few things already seem pretty likely:


"Too many environmentalists are engaged in their own version of bargaining—placing their faith in the assertion that all our energy needs can be met affordably from wind, solar, and water technologies by 2050. Now, I would agree with this claim if we thought long and hard about what we mean by the word “needs.” But the (sometimes spoken but more often unspoken) expectation is that we won’t “need” to significantly change how we live."

YES! YES! Exactly what i keep repeating over and over in these threads! OK i'll finish reading the blog post...


OK, no mention of war and the intimate links between the warfare state, the war economy, and the fossil-fuel industry. "Post-Carbon" is NOT just about changing "the American way of life" at the level of consumer choice and options in the marketplace. It is also, and absolutely necessarily, about ENDING WAR.


Mr Miller, you mentioned Kübler-Ross and her belief that the last stage in dying is acceptance. Not this time, I think. It's understandable that most human beings, asked to believe that our species and almost every other form of life are almost certainly going to be wiped out, will go on denying it right up to the end. We won't get to the acceptance stage. You can't, Mr Miller, your last words say that "rewarding work"!
Unconsciously aware that the situation is hopeless, we will become more and more angry, frustrated, frightened and violent. More than now: it's hard to imagine, isn't it? But men are already lashing out: ISIS, Taliban, American police, rapists in college and the military and, here in the US, Republicans in Congress who refuse to change the gun laws and openly admire terrorists who murder social workers, children, doctors, anybody who is vulnerable enough to get at easily. Sorry, Mr Miller, people like you and me and most of the commentators on this site are going to have to admit that "the game's up" and find some way to accept, accommodate and do whatever we can to make our families, communities and the country as fair, decent and peaceful as we can. And go with dignity.


It's complex. More than 40 years ago, as the '60s turned into the '70s, i "accepted" as obvious truth that humanity was headed for planetary and civilizational disaster, and that the "odds" of turning aside from this path were minuscule. Nonetheless, with my one life to live, i have spent my life working to help turn us aside from this. My explanation is, "What else am i going to do?"

Is this a failure of acceptance, or simply a reasonable way to spend one's life under the circumstance?


"China’s President, Xi Jinping,said in a speech on
the first day of the Paris talks that “addressing climate change should
not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty
and improve living standards.”

Yes, Mr Xi. And when sea-levels rise because of bloody-minded Chinese obfuscation, the Yellow River will back up and burst its levees, killing millions, just as happened in the 1930s when the Nationalist Chinese army broke the levees and flooded huge areas of country, leaving hordes of people to die from starvation and drowning. And when the great Asian rivers are reduced to flash floods in the monsoon and mere trickles in the dry season because the reservoir of Himalayan glaciers is gone, what then irrigation for billions? Well I suppose the deaths of millions of poor will ensure that poverty has gone and that there is more room for the wealthy whose living standards will improve thereby.........

A title for a Chinese opera, as sea-level rises," Don't cry for me, Shanghai". And for its title song, "Here we go , Aiming low, Bye Bye, Shanghai".


"the climate crisis is a systems crisis"
Thanks for the ideas in this article, and for the wonderful cartoons. Thank God for the JOY to be found in laughter. I laughed til the last moment I could handle, and from that experience (outside my conscious control)seemed to have gleaned some personal insight into this larger bubble of denial we call our non negotiable 'way of life', or, our 'lifestyles'.
Of course, quit kidding ourselves, we have all known all along there is no way we humans can continue our present consumption agendas unless many more Earths can be found and populated right away. Already we need some five new Earths ASAP. Is it any wonder as a species we have remained essentially frozen in indecision til the last moments.
Personally I feel strongly in my HEART, we CAN and WILL find it in US to CHANGE, and believe COP21 is telling us we have already BEGUN.
And just as the body let's us know to back off from laughter before bursting, NATURE is now telling us ; BECOME SUSTAINABLE (AND QUICKLY) OR PERISH.