We are at the precipice of ecological collapse. There are no two ways about it. And despite what you hear, it is about far more than just catastrophic climate change. In a nutshell, our current biological predicament is the result of overuse of natural resources beyond their capacity to regenerate, the creation and mass production of never-before-known (often toxic) substances, and the accumulation of massive amounts of waste and pollution.
Good article, the likes of which always seem to make me go here:
I found this overlooked oldie always makes me feel better. Especially on a sunny day . We really do not NEED a lot to have these kind of days. We need to protect what we already have.
“In an era of widespread deceit, telling the truth is considered a radical act” - George Orwell
Yes, the people that claim it is radical is because they do not want to lose their old green deal!
Dealing with the obvious truth that consumerism will terminate the human species (and in a relatively short time), makes every corporation cringe. The stock market, obscene wealth, banks and capitalism are all predicated on the assumption that ‘more is better’. It is refreshing to read an article like this that delves right into the single greatest factor that is accelerating our mass extinction… accumulating more stuff! So many people are willing to fight tooth and nail or even die just to protect ‘their stuff’. Just to challenge this mainstream frame of thought, is to incite wide spread violence and anxiety in which the degree of negative reaction to eliminating a culture of consumerism, is directly proportional to the amount stuff each person has. The world’s billionaires wouldn’t think twice about sacrificing innocent people in huge numbers if that is what it takes to hang onto ‘their stuff’. Fuelled by their sacred belief that an individuals right to own something, must be protected at all costs, will make any solution to ending the age of consumerism extremely difficult.
I think even the extremely popular AOC, would quickly take a major hit in her growing popularity if she merely suggested that we all had to “stop shopping” to save the planet. But that is precisely the case, as this author has made abundantly clear.
I’m afraid that ending consumerism may be even more difficult to deal with than ending fossil fuels, especially if we show the direct relationship between consumerism and climate change. Until we can have an honest, national debate about the relationship of Capitalism, resource extraction and changing lifestyles to climate change and the survival of the planet, we’re all doomed.
Great article, and the one below is related. This excerpt is a source of hope:
“The viral Twitter clip, which has racked up more than 9 million views, was the first time many people had heard of Feinstein’s alternative resolution, and when climate activists learned about it, they went into overdrive to stop it. Feinstein, facing pressure, this week elected to shelve it.”
Worth a read:
Article spun its wheels too long and in a prose style too indifferent to communication,
It criticizes AOC from an unusual angle: a ‘techno-salvation’ argument that says even GND depends on corrupt and corrupting technology that actually causes global warming.
The ‘is it technology or is it capitalism’ question has a long pedigree - whether modern ills are mainly the result of ‘technology’ versus ‘capitalist technology.’ How far do we go w/that - do we include all science? Is the medicine that can now totally suppress the AIDS virus to be shunned because it was done by corrupted scientific means? Is the medicine that can actually prevent transmission of the virus to be reviled for the same reason? Is medical research to help people inseparable from the capitalistic economic framework that presently exploits science?
- We read: “confronted…about the GND, [AOC] asked, ‘What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?’ Well, the problem is that many of these high-tech innovations rest precisely at the root of our problems to begin with. It doesn’t help that [AOC’s] chief of staff originates from Silicon Valley, one of the most extractive, consumptive, wasteful, toxic, and exploitative industries…’”
Again, a prose style apparently indifferent to its supposed purpose of communicating and persuading people of something urgent. Basically, the passage says, ‘how can technology help when it isn’t the solution but the problem.’ But that’s defeatist and falsely argued. Practically, green technologies have sprung ahead and offer an alternative to polluting energy.
And it is a destructive idea: the simplistic, fixed idea that ‘technology is the root of all evil’ does not merely discard human technology: it will obstruct a necessary politics - with all the compromised means of seizing power, and all the compromised alliances that entails; whereas the idea that only a Flintstones-type existence can save us is a primitivistic, quasi-religious idea that values the purification of souls over implicitly less important life on earth.
There’s nothing radical about the “DEMOCRATS” ’ Green New Deal", after they co-opt it from the Green Party, remove the proposal to STOP THE OIL WARS from the Middle East to Venezuela,
And insert: that fracking and nuclear power are “OK” (Cuomo).
For the censored story about the Pentagon as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases,
please search Sara Flounders’ “Climate Elephant”.
Thanks for this article. It’s stark, concise, and clear. I don’t want greenwash, techno-optimism, soft denialism. You’re not offering to hold anyone’s hand and I appreciate that. Humans must step aside from the delusion that they are the center of the universe or simple physics will do it for them. It’s not, and never has been simply climate change. It is omnicide. It is the murder and death of all.
Embrace your grief and try to be the kind of being your relations might conceiveably forgive.
Green as in “greenback,” I presume!
Yep, I’m with you.
Holy Bleep, Doctor Science! I had seen the headline but it’s been a busy week and I hadn’t read the article. The kids are indeed all right, and all of them are also right.
This really does “change everything” (cf. Naomi Klein). The fossil fools and other fossils (and other fools) are not going to fold their hands YET. But the dam has sprung a very big leak, one that the fools never imagined. Now we hit them with everything we’ve got and from every direction. Gar Alperovitz pointed out several years ago that we’re going to lose some battles, but this one is a big victory.
All valid objections. Somebody mentioned Mattis, whom I regret to say I had never heard of, and I turned up a couple of her earlier articles in a similar vein via a search on CD before it occurred to me to check yesterday’s list. Links to them are in a comment I made on "Why the “Anthropocene” Is Not “Climate Change”
Her prose style is indeed brusque and sometimes overstated. Some academics still write very well, but a good many who attempt to write outside their discipline do much worse. I think her take on technology is overstated, both in itself and in its implicit interpretation of A O-C’s intention. Even deep ecologist Derrick Jensen backed away from his earlier claim that the only truly sustainable technology is stone age technology. It may come to that, but I’m pretty sure we’re not there yet, and that’s good, because we’re going to need a lot of new technology to de-commission the old and repair the damage it has done. At best the challenge facing us is almost like trying to turn a supertanker in a bathtub.
Technology is a two-edged sword–or possibly many-edged. Over the past half-millennium we have squandered a lot of resources beating each other up, and a lot more doing things that were simply not worth doing. The task now is to quickly get a handle on the technologies that contribute the most to the common good, and the ones that are most detrimental to the common good, and wind the latter down as quickly as possible while examining and discussing the former in great detail.
Ultimately this is a human problem, a societal problem. There is no telling where we will be in a decade, much less a century, although I think numerous factors will converge to leave the planet with a significantly smaller population a century from now. But for the first time in human history large numbers of people are taking seriously the question of what kind of world we want to live in, and what we have to do to move in that direction while dismantling as much of the stuff that only bullies, charlatans, and fools want. Once again that old Chinese curse of being born in interesting times.
Hi economagic - appreciate your thoughts - went back to read the Anthropocene article and the thread you were active on. Yea, I’m not prepared to repudiate all technology interventions as necessarily worsening the problems it has created. Rather, as you put it, “need a lot of new technology to de-commission the old and repair the damage it has done.”
In the one example supporting the ‘applying tech to reduce pollution will only make things worse’ - the case of Chinese “rare earth” mining - it’s not at all clear to me that the author (or the link) got it right…
(Article does not deal w/ruined water supplies - but it doesn’t sound at all like the rare metals are actually required for green technologies such as wind power.)
Plus I don’t like YET ANOTHER attack on AOC, however well-meaning and anarcho-libertarian earth-respecting the writer may be!
A-bleepin’-MEN! I’m so disgusted by the “centrist Dems”–centrist between annihilation and not-annihilation, WTF?–that I probably glossed over that part of Mattis’s rebuke. I think I recall mentioning that she overstates her case at times, and this is a prime example.
I see it as a “both, and” situation: I’m a big-picture guy and a “systems thinker” (yet another buzz-phrase we could do without), and the way I see it we have about 30 years to avert a high-carbon atmosphere that could could effectively end life on Earth as we know it. We have about 10-12 years to lay the groundwork for the massive mobilization without which we all get stewed in our own juice. To that extent Mattis does NOT overstate the case.
The Resolution is not the GND, but a preliminary and incomplete statement of what that mobilization entails. We don’t even know all that it may entail, nor can we know in advance whether success is even possible. The tone of the Resolution is relentlessly upbeat, as it must be to avoid paralysis of the populace. Mattis’s essays are so grim as to be on the edge of nihilism, which has a lot of adherents in these CD forums. What is needed is faith, which has nothing to do with a “supreme being” or “organized religion” or even a “belief in things not seen.” Kierkegaard nailed it pretty well in Fear and Trembling, although “the father of Existentialism” was steeped in theistic religion, which paradox confuses many readers. I’m an atheist, but most of the vocabulary we have for dealing with such a dire collective threat comes out of the Abrahamic tradition, and such workarounds as exist fail to get to the root (sic) of the matter.
We need to put at least a hundred A O-Cs in the House in two years, and fifty-one in the Senate, because that chamber is overrun with the fossil fools. And we need them to hold fast to their youthful exuberance and optimism even as the magnitude of the task ahead unfolds before their eyes. I’m not convinced that there is a single member of Congress who has any clue as to the nature of the challenge, much less its scope and scale. If there is, s/he will be found among the sponsors of the GND Resolution, although they will be a small minority.
Humankind collectively has two options: We can putz around for the next thirty years as we have for the past thirty and be assured that not long after the middle of the 21st century we shall find ourselves in a hell that the authors of the worst dystopian fiction have barely grasped. Or we can tackle this crisis head-on and maybe survive as a species, possibly at a fairly high level of modernity, possibly not.
I neglected to mention that all of the “goodies” in the Resolution, the programs that the fossils are calling “impossible” and" unrealistic," are absolutely essential in order for the mobilization to occur. There has to be something in it for everybody, because it will require all the resources at our disposal but mostly human grit and endurance to (as one of Garrison Keillor’s fictitious contributors used to say) “Xavier Onassis.” Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches” comes to mind as representative of what we must undertake. Naomi Klein discussed it from another perspective in her “LEAP Manifesto” in the last chapter of No Is Not Enough, and in at least one article online since the beginning of this year.