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The Miraculous Hope of Climate Realists


The Miraculous Hope of Climate Realists

Erika Spanger-Siegfried

We’re stepping into a new year in the climate fight. The turning of the year is a milestone both for stoking our resolve, and for noting how deep we now are into climate overtime. In 2018 there was a lot of talk of diminishing odds and despair, and not without reason. So if, like me, you’re heading into 2019 discouraged or even despairing, I have three things to say: you’re not wrong; the fight from here on out is not the one you signed up for; but there’s more to hope, even your own, than meets the eye.


Well things can change, just because hope is reduced now does not mean it will always be so.


Beautiful story. Today’s youth may be restoring nature with the aid of technology.


There are no miracles here. Realistic hope comes from doing well on purpose. Let’s.

We are into a major extinction event–not just from climate, unless you include in climate things like water toxicity and soil loss and death of microscopic life in soils and waters, as you not unreasonably might.

As a large and populous life form in an extinction event of our own making, we are prime candidates for extinction. The event will continue and worsen until we behave differently, whether by virtue of learning, incapacity, or death.

But we can behave differently. The species has done so at various times and places. Outside of some bugeyed-serious questions about human politicking and education, parameters are established and becoming moderately well known.

Not to belittle the suffering that has already happened, we are going to get hit very hard. Processes that we have triggered will continue without our help, and the social momentum of traditional ignorance remains enormous. We still reward the greatest and most villainous extractors with the greatest control over resources and social decisions–a system that puts medieval ideas of Satan to shame.

The crisis must become so great that such control is toppled or abandoned or somehow retreated from. This is not just a replacement of what is formally called government; it is a replacement of government by economy and government by arms. The better an alternative and regenerative system can grow into place before this collapses in whatever way or sense it shall, the better off everyone will be.

Our move at this point has to involve growing that system–reduced energy use, greener energy production, global information to inform local production of almost everything, open source information and individual privacy to ensure autonomy, transparent government and transparent large business.

We have to arrange to use only what can be grown and therefore replaced. We need to arrange clean water, good food, passively or sustainably heated and cooled housing, neighborhood-level support and relevant education, and broad federations of conjoined groups to resist the depredations of the current rulers and minions.

Yeah, there’s hope. We do not really much know what-all we are going into. There’s not a whole great lot of time.


Great story, thanks for this great piece.
When we say “hope”, the unspoken question is, hope for what?
That our children will have a world similar to what we’ve known? Nope, that train has already left.
Among very the different worlds that may replace it, we can still hope and work for an outcome less loss and suffering.
Here is one of the few articles that addresses this directly: https://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf
In the story, the boy was dismembered for being a sexual predator. Should we celebrate the mom who restores him? As with the hope question, we need to ask: what does he become when restored after all that hard work? Maybe she can sew him together just a little differently and he can become a good guy. By analogy, can we put the Earth and human society back together just a little differently, without the greed and exploitation? That would really be hope!


Hi djani… that was a looooong piece but intriguing ideas of what a new reality might be. . I supposed that because so many Americans have lost a lot of everything in the last decade, that adapting is not too hard to contemplate----I suppose too that people will start looking at what they can raise locally, and also work with those existing neighborhood groups, and find who has what skills. It might be a to harder in big cities----and gangs , as always will be here too. Without electricity a lot will change, and hopefully local libraries will be the place to look for what has worked in the past. It is amazing what people can endure when they have a view of the world that is hopeful, : )


Without doubt, Erika Spanger-Siegfried has written the most inspirational piece of prose on the climate crisis that I’ve ever read.


OK, yes, VERY well said, an excellent complement to Ms. Spanger-Siegfried’s article on the nature of the hope that will be essential to propel us on the inconceivable tasks ahead, which you have concisely summarized. There is more I would like to discuss with you, related to the magnitude and plenitude of the tasks themselves, the nature of the “Green New Deal” that we all “hope” will materialize to guide and finance them, and what we can reasonably hope for in a best-case scenario. Unfortunately I am committed for the entire day and evening tomorrow (most unusual), and for much or most of Wednesday morning. I hope you will check back Wednesday evening.


I certainly “hope” that the youth of today continue down the path to a more Green world. However, in the middle of this global triage, they are faced with some pretty stark facts, the first of which being, there’s no fixing it. At least 2C is already baked into this ever warming cake (maybe 3C).
They have a daunting task. All the “hope” in the world is not going to stop what can be best described as an apocalyptic 21st century. The only choice the youth of today may have is to try and figure out how to perpetuate a depleted human race in the face of the worst tribulation since the Black Plague. And to be honest, global warming is going to make the plague look like child’s birthday party.
Good luck kids! We’ve left you a mess of biblical proportions. Sorry doesn’t seem to cover it.


JThen you donnot know…ir understand the science. Hope…??? The only hope that ia left for anyone…is that one can die quickly before one dehydration…or starvation sets im…or …one dies before the cannibalism starts. No…I was not here at this point . Until arojnd 2012 ish. Before that, from 2003 when I first learned if climate change…I was all about hooe and activism. But. Then I saw that even Obama was not going to take the bull by the horns and do REAL CHANGE. then I realized. We …especially hwre in the Western developed counties arw NOT SERIOUS …mostly because so many do not know and understand (belief) whAt is happening. So. Then…I realized that 477 nuclear power plants. Will be at risk .as the cllapse happens. And in. There will be a collapse… or shouldn’t say …THERE IS A COLLPASE ?


Uh…are you being sarcastic?? I think so…so…I will take you up on the joke​:rofl::rofl::joy::rofl::rofl::rofl::joy::joy:


Redjced energy use? Oh…are you talking about the stopping things like…Professional sports…or casinos…manufacturing lawn ornaments …??? No more mining …especially of gold and silver…? And a multitude of other things calm which are totally in nexessary for survival?? Because. If that is the case EWAL AXTION you are talking about . Then yeah…MAYBE that would help… BUT. aaaaalll I ever hear is. we have ro take action …we have to take action. .we have to take action…oommmgff.
No know. Ever. Stares what to heck that actions. ACCEPT doing more kd the same. BUILDING…building solar and wind infrastructure…which is based on the ffosil fuels…and… AAALLL MINKNG necessary for the steel ans rare Earth’s … .I mean. I habe said before. Okay. Go ahead and bud this infrastructure…BUT SO NIT ALLOW fkr all those ridiculous and feivilous activities. That SUCK UP energy that should be for ESSENTIALS . CUT BUSINESS FLYING.!! DRASTICALLY …and stop the rich from flying any time any where …but. No one will think of the problem. I. These terms. Peoe will demand their sports and all the consumer crap…we will still make plastic garbage bags from petroleum. We will still have multitudes if plastic because no k e will pass a bill stating that grocery stores have to sell ONLY IN BULK. and you habe to bring your own container. Bla bla bla…no one really has any idea what to do…and nonk e will do it any way.


As the species that cooks its food. There is a maximum population carrying capacity. We are at about double Morton and Sharmas calculation. So, yes, we need to reconfigure with less than half as many of us, a non fossil fuel economy and wide use of resources. How do we get there pronto


Wide =wide


Wise = wise. Will I be allowed to correct spelling


At this point, we may as well hope for the Tooth Fairy to help us. Maybe I can be corrected if someone can explain how we will restore Arctic sea ice immediately, get untold gigatons of greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere, restore global ecosystems, bring back the vast majority of missing insects and 200 or so species we are extinguishing every day, cool and de-acidify the oceans, get world population from 7.5 B to about 0.5 B, change global politics immediately, avoid global dimming, switch immediately off fossil fuels, promptly entomb 450+ nuclear power plants, eliminate capitalism and consumerism, get off petrochemicals of all sorts, develop truly renewable energy in five years or less on a global scale… but I’ll stop there in the interest of time and sanity. I am a strong believer in hope when it is grounded in reality and honesty.


Perfectly serious. Old people won’t change in time to prevent ecocide.


I will hang on to your notification and try to pass through tomorrow. Meanwhile, these are some of the sorts of actions that I regard as promising. The list by no means includes all the sorts of things that must be done.

  • Permaculture, a craft of design of gardens, households, farms, and communities that are sustainable and regenerative, allowing for a perma nent culture. Leading thinkers include Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, though there are now far more than I can track.
  • Transition towns, a movement started by Rob Hopkins and focusing on the social and community aspects of permaculture.
  • Permaculture-related agriculturists who have various relationships to the movement and do or do not accept the term in relationship to their own work–Masanobu Fukuoka (The One-Straw Revolution), Ernst Gotsch (Syntropic Agriculture), Emilia Hazelip (Synergistic Gardening), Mark Shepherd (Restoration Agriculture), Sepp Holzer, Allan Savory (and the integration of grazing animals).
  • The organoponicos movement in Cuba in the periodo especial after the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • Various efforts at carbon sequestration
  • Various localist movements
  • Earthworks that retain water within a landscape (rather than big dams and reservoirs and aqueducts)
  • Various efforts at seed saving. Vandana Shiva is interesting in this light.
  • Various efforts at alternative currency
  • Low-cost and low energy housing, including Earthships (see Michael Reynolds and Earthship Biotecture), earthbag or superadobe construction (Nader Khalili and Cal-Earth), straw bale houses, cob houses (see Ianto Evans and Cob Cottage Company).

There is also going to have to be considerable need for organizations of people involved with these things to interface with the various attempts to shut such things down.


For the now, see my response to Economagic in this thread. But yeah, there’s a lot of still has to happen.

Yes, I am talking about far more reduction in energy use than making energy through other sources, and that does involve giving up some practices that have somehow come to be regarded as useful or “efficient,” but that in the aggregate are not.

But part of the error in people’s thoughts is that they do not grasp that this need not and should not be a matter of deprivation. There will be deprivation aplenty, but because of errors already laid down–because of doing things in ways that apparently appear useful or efficient, but are not.

The trick is to a) fulfill human needs by b) caring for the Earth and ecosystems by c) returning surplus to said systems. Where we cannot start on a large scale, we can start on a small scale.

But yes, we’re doing this with Homo sapiens, so there will be all sorts of ideas about it all. All of this chatter appears to be part of the process, since we are not going to be able to do it in a top-down way, ,by mandate.


We do not have time…for SMALL…AND…larger actions
… .probably won’t work either …doesn’t anyone here…know about the BLUE OCEAN EVENT…AND THE METHANE HYDRATE ISSUE??? these…are on our doorstep . …There is NO QUESTION…that the blue ocean event will occur…as for the Methane issue…not far behind I…there isn’t any way around these two aspects if the physics of this planet…What REALLY GETS ME IS …that the green house gas theory was discovered and understood in the 1850’s. and yes. It may have taken a few decades before it was more clear …how FAST INDUSTRIAL CIVILIZATION was building up .but at that point …it would seem that SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION would have beenn shared with major leaders…and probably was…by 1950 when the co2 measuring device was put up a mountain on HAWAII…BUT we did not have REAL LEADERS…because real leaders…PAY ATTENTION to the well being if this they lead…no we mostly had sociopaths …AND NOW WE HAVE ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE WREAKING HAVOC AND KILLING PEOPLE… YES. KILLING PEOPLE…but those who are guilty …walk free . In luxury …and are looked up to . As in political leaders…and leaders in the oil industry. A FULL OUT WORLD ECONOMY WAS BUILT ON AN ENERGY SOURCE…THAT WAS A KNOWN PLANETARY KILLER…OH …YEAH…AND IT IS NOT THE ONLY ONE…WE ALSO HAVE TO WONDER WHAT BRIGHT EYED MRANS DECIDED TO BUILD ALL THIS NUKE PLANTS. THAT WILL MELT DOWN …ONCE TSHF.