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The Climate Movement: What's Next?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/10/climate-movement-whats-next

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while I’m glad Bill hasn’t given up, I think he has to realize that the “other side” isn’t just the fossil fuel barons. That is a good feel-good soundbite it is also the billions of people who want to drive and fly everywhere, eat as much meat as they want, use as much convenient plastic packaging as they want, have as many kids s they want, turn up the air conditioning whenever they want… The notion that renewable energy can overcome all that is absurd, even the limited amount we have now is destroying hundreds of acres of our state’s woodland for solar “farms” as population growth and desire for suburban living erodes real farms, transmission lines threaten the landscape too, and the manufacture, maintenance, and disposal of renewable facilities all have significant impacts too.

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SOTT media global summary of extreme weather in June

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“Business as usual” is killing us. The fossil fuel industry fighting tooth and nail to maximize our consumption of CO2 belching oil, coal and natural gas; our war industry which is an ecocatastrophe in itself, but more to the point fights to preserve US fossil fuel rights (where are we fighting – the fossil fuel-rich Middle East; who are our enemies: Iran, Venezuela and Russia, all among the top 10 oil producers); then there’s the agrobusiness industry, rapidly creating strains of multipli-resistant bacteria (and polluting the local environment) with its brutal factory farms.

Why? Because the “bottom line” is profit. All else is secondary – our communities, our children, our families, our countries, even the future of our species. The system that puts profit first is killing us.

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Until imperialism and then industrial capitalism ends! with a transition to sustained living in a communal setup the world will continue to be ravaged by industrial practices. This won’t happen until after a major collapse of industrial, financial, and commercial systems. The powers that hold these in place is too powerful to take on head on. What remains afterward is where to start planning for a different future. A simple one, that is if there’s any one left after the calamity. Highly problematic as I see it today. Hard cold facts. Things will change no matter what. Either now with huge shifts in EVERYTHING or later after Earth has her fill with human trashiness, excess, and hubris.

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Thanks to Bill McGibbon for an interesting and enjoyable piece. I actually agree with him that he does not appear to know what changes are needed in the system, and I do not share his optimism that we do not need to find out (though I may be misrepresenting his view here). However, I do applaud his honesty and energy and efforts, and I also applaud the results.

It is inspiring, after all, to see such success in another human being who, like myself, has but partial understanding.

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I agree with what you say about people, no one wants to give up those comforts society has become accustomed to. If we ever switch to renewables, like we’ve need to for years, stiff monetary penalties will have to be put in place for overconsumption, most wont do it on their own, even if all our lives depend on it.

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What do meteors and earthquakes have to do extreme weather events or climate disruption due to CO2?

A consensus is certainly forming, but exactly what to do and how to do it remain vague abstractions as things continue to go the wrong way. Solar and wind farms are not the clear-cut solutions to it all we wish they were. If there is any margin of error left, it must be extremely thin.

“Seventy-five years from now, we will run the world on sun and wind because they’re free,” says McKibben. It’s not true, nor is it an accurate definition of how energy, transport and production systems combine to create livelihoods and occupations whereby needs now and then may be met. Legal recourse, like that taken against the tobacco industry, has a better chance to force polluting industries to make changes. We’ll still need cars and trucks, but they won’t be self-driving, nor will they be all-battery types like the Tesla ‘S’. We’ll need better buses and mass transit with cities and suburbs redeveloped to be less car-dependent, less centered around big box stores and commercial strip parking lots. We won’t continue air travel except in real necessity with reliable passenger-rail as a replacement for vacation travel. These are specific changes that for some reason McKibben fails to mention. He’s organizing the victims into convenient rows for extermination. Shut up, Bill.