Naomi Klein understands that President Donald J. Trump is a problem, but he is not the problem.
Improvements in energy efficiency could go a long way in helping to deal with a reduction in available energy if that actually occurs. And there have so many recent technological advances that it appears that renewable energy will be able to play a bigger role sooner than was predicted a few years ago. I don’t think this is the time to start worrying about giving things up. There is too much uncertainly. The most critical task now is to focus on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and increasing the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into plants and soils. That is a clearly defined task that needs to be carried out with great urgency or it will soon be too late for sure.
Great article. Biophysical limitations are already intruding into business-as-usual.
Mass extinction now underway.
Migration from coastal flooding and desert-ified regions now underway.
Human death by pollution now underway.
Peak oil, now reached.
Wars for oil, now heating up.
Oligarchs seeking remote refuges, now underway.
Military planning for climate upheaval, now underway.
The only thing that can save us is more technology. We’re screwed.
Naomi is well aware of the need to literally scale back our material ambitions - that was one of the most notable parts of her message in her previous book, “This Changes Everything.” Your critique sounds more like a jive way to get yourself more publicity. You are repeating what has already been said. And on the other side, when one carefully reads and digests the information and analysis presented in Project Drawdown, it is very clear that we now have the technology to bring emissions down in a variety of meaningful ways - the main obstacle being political will. There really is no limit to the amount of energy that can be delivered through solar, wind and other clean technologies. Read about the effort to get distributed solar power to Africa. There’s no need to terrify people with a stark warning that the only thing we can do is hunker down in caves to make it through. But we have to vanquish the neo-liberal corporate mindset - where corporate values rule the world. That’s truly our biggest challenge, The neo-liberals are a bigger threat than the Republicans.
Hope lies in acts of conscience
Not in their desired results
The word that comes to me is homeostasis, the place where everything comes into balance. Coming back to that place after this 50+ year adventure forced by the descendants of late 18th and early 19th century free marketeers (the soulless oppressors about whom Dickens wrote), back to the baseline of plain humanity that has been distorted to extremes seldom seen in human history, that I know of.
Humanity, after commodification, became optional, and humans can’t live like that without taking on unbearable wounds to our souls. A return to homeostasis is a path of healing, changing consciousness from a marketable item to a being with full volition in their own life, delivering us to the place where resistance - waging nonviolence - can succeed while the alternatives to a dehumanized existence tied to the electronic sugar teat of propaganda are created and lived by a people liberated from Massa - the slave-holder credo of those whose hold on power depends on creating dehumanized, volitionless bags of chemicals and bones willing to sell their time out of we, the people. Healing volition to play the game of praxis (act, reflect, act, until full liberation is achieved, as Paulo Friere described it in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”) - a dead serious game that must remain a game to keep the soul thriving, along with knowing at all times that we don’t get to call outcomes but we can cause outcomes better than what we’ve got now and if we don’t like that one, we cause another. The other liberator is remembering how to make community and live happily within it so we don’t have to face much of anything alone unless we’re the sort who doesn’t avoid the dark nights of the soul that can arise from liberation taking away what had become familiar, the almost comfortable (as long as we don’t think too much) inertia of propaganda’s slaves.
Liberation is a return to homeostasis. The US is 1/20th of the human population on this planet who, every year, seize and consume 40% of Earth’s annual ecological production and, once we’ve discovered the emptiness and moral bankruptcy of the nirvana of stuff, just about as miserable as a human can be and keep breathing. After stuff can’t relieve that misery, a dark night of the soul is at hand. Dark nights of the soul are ways to change paths on purpose, practicing full volition until it gets natural, but it’s never easy, because it requires becoming intentionally vulnerable to the life system.
This is what we turned our backs on when we voted for Reagan instead of Carter, who had a policy that would have supported human transformation into humans with real humanity living happy, high quality lives within the biophysical limits of our life support system, with the path being figured out by a panel that included David Orr and a cohort of like-minded folks.
The odds of recovering from that error (after Massa had the propaganda down to a fine art) grow longer by every day we live in ecological illiteracy and the willingness to continue to oppress our souls in Massa’s name.
It’s that ugly, and we will fix it, or the life system has a solution just up the road. It’s called the Sixth Mass Extinction, and I’d say, give or take a bit, that we probably have perhaps a 30% chance of avoiding the consequences of living as if money was the ultimate solution to human misery. The Sixth was caused by living like that.
Bottom line, the need for hope means we don’t yet have what we need to find joy in the pursuit of happiness. Screw hope that has no solution in it, that’s only limp longing for what we don’t have, if we can even say what we want. It’s time to get rid of hope and get to work repairing our volitional selves so we can find our way back to the homeostasis the serfs on the Commons had until the ancestors of today’s neoliberal capitalists had soldiers burn them out.
Build community, restore your humanity, and begin the praxis game.
If we wait for the political will, we’ll get the full fury of the Sixth Mass Extinction caused by the way of life that is not negotiable. We have to heal our volitions and manufacture the passionate love of the life system with which l to do our part of re-sequestering carbon in the atmosphere in the conduct of our daily lives created by ecological literacy and plain old fear. Plant your yards with micorhhezae on the roots so they sequester 2or 3 times more carbon than naked roots would and keep it there longer than any other way that’s not high tech that I know of. I’m certainly not the last word on this subject, happily.
Americans’ ancestors left us responsible for 40% of the CO2 pollution in the atmosphere now, half of it put there after 1981, when the new morning in America tore the solar array off the White House roof and parked tanks in every driveway in the best of all possible worlds.
James Hansen says that, to be safe, we have to take ALL the carbon pollution of the Industrial Revolution out of the atmosphere.
If we don’t go up in a methane fire in the atmosphere that consumes all of the breathable air as it burns this planet back to the bacterial level, those humans who survive the Sixth Mass Extinction better have some outrageously excellent grief skills. Hunkering down in caves is the best it will get.
Capitalism will have won the game, the mother of all pyrrhic victories, largely due to the worshippers of money - a human invention, so they worship their destruction, too,
The Republicans are neoliberal capitalists financed by more neoliberal capitalists (16 or 23 Trump advisors worked for the Kochs before they went to the White House. But the Hillary wing of the “moderate” Democrats - the corporate Democrats, are, too. Hillary is. Brother Bill is. Obama is, or acted it out in the White House. Some said he was a captive in the White House. Trump, of course, is, and, as Naomi points out, he plays the script perfectly, just as Dubya did. Under cover of the distraction, the Republicans steal another huge hunk of the treasury and give it to the nobles.
MLK, Jr. demonstrated what happens to a leader who leads a significant change against the will of the pullers of the strings comes to in the USA, so no Ghadhi is coming. No help is coming. It’s up to us. Today’s little kids will come too late to do what needs doing.
We’re screwed, bigtime, and we’re attached to the money sugar teat, so doing Eastern Europe is unlikely, although it’s the best way to do what we have to do. Who believes that the federal government won’t mow us down until they run out of bullets, if we do what they did in Egypt?
How long will we have the Internet with which to organize this peaceful dismissal of the ruling elite, relieved of their stolen treasure?
I think Bob did a good job of articulating The Problem. His piece gave me joy. After the truth is told enough times, we can fill the streets in every city and large town in the country and stay, blocking business as usual and stay there until the government goes away, and then we can write a democratic socialist Constitution and put we, the people, back in the political power of the consent of the governed.
The author suggests we should understand the enormity of the task in front of us to effect the change we must. This also means coming to terms with what we stand to lose in the process.
I want to suggest an alternative approach. When contemplating what must be done to heal our sick planet and society, progressives like to first pull out the laundry list of items that need to change, or policies that must be implemented. The problem with this approach has always hampered the success of serious attempts to implement such transformations. This is because a laundry list is not a vision that can lead us into the future. By focusing on what seems to be a long list of seemingly unconnected items requiring reform, well-meaning liberals may be satisfying the interest groups that promote the reforms but they lose the overall debate to the cynically monolithic, if over-simplified, message of the status quo/conservative opposition.
What progressives really need is a true progressive vision. Values and a message will naturally flow from this and will tie the various components of the plan together into a unified whole. Now, this will entail some sacrifice. The primary sacrifice will be the need to perform triage in order to determine priorities. Because we will never achieve success by any score if we cannot learn to prioritize and perhaps postpone certain goals in favor of more pressing needs.
On the bright side, adopting a vision would open up new possibilities unforeseen. It can also act to allow components of the vision to fall into place when a natural order of priorities begins to occur. We don’t need to concern ourselves yet with the sacrifices we may ultimately have to make as part of implementing a vision. These things have a way of working themselves out with trust and faith in the process.
The following link is to a site that demonstrates how much can be done with little when you have vision. Enjoy!