Reality check! Climate chaos and civilizational collapse is a done deal. It’s time to stop with the articles about how we must act now or bad things will happen. Look around! For decades we failed to act. Today we will fail to act. Tomorrow we will fail to act. Yesterday, today, tomorrow: people and land were/are/will be washing away. Most wild animals are dead. The coral reefs are more than half dead. The atmosphere in which we evolved is gone and not coming back. The storms we see today are breezes compared to what’s coming. At this point, there are no changes we can make to avert what’s here now and what tomorrow will bring. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it’s what I believe; it’s my truth.
Case in point: recycling. Fifty-plus years ago one of my older brothers organized a recycling “event” around Earth Day where a group of high school kids volunteered to sort glass by color and smash it into bins if only people would bring the glass to the high school parking lot. I remember watching him in safety gear gleefully smashing bottles. The local paper saluted the kids for their vision and leadership.
Fast forward. Today, every community recycles, and tremendous effort has been put into special bins, outreach, and equipment to handle and sort materials. We have different trucks drive by to collect our separated garbage, recycling, and compost. It’s arguably the most pervasive change in environmental behavior we have undertaken as a society. Almost everybody sorts and disposes of recyclables every day. Bottom line? Put simply, it’s all well-sorted garbage. There is no market for our recyclables. China stopped accepting it some years ago, and it’s been stacking up in our ports and other facilities ever since. Why? Because we don’t do it right. It’s all so contaminated that it’s useless in “the market.” In a recent interview, a recycling facility spokesperson said that if people aren’t willing to do it correctly, they’d best not do it at all. After decades, we can’t even get recycling right.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal–the periodical of record for the elite capitalists driving collapse–published a full-page opinion piece stating that only the “free market” can solve the climate crisis (just as it solved our need to recycle materials, right?); that government intervention and regulation cannot work. Of course, we all know that this is capitalism as religious fundamentalism (“invisible hands” and all that malarkey), but that is the dogma of those with the money and the power (and the police and the armies).
So much for “transformational change.” So much for saving humanity and the world. Let’s be real. We are in collapse. Now. Today. Just look!
Now for the part where someone righteously and rightfully exclaims, “Well, we can’t just give up and do nothing! We have to try!” Yes, of course. All we can do is try; that’s what makes a good life. Try to live well. Try to survive. (Hell, keep recycling.) “Do not go gentle…” But do not for a moment think that the world we live in now will be the world awaiting us ten years hence.