As much as one wants to wish Greta and all youth every success with their campaign, in a recent essay, Britain’s Tim Watkins, a social and economic scientist with a background in public policy, examines in detail the terrifying predicament youth, and all humanity, face in trying to prevent planetary collapse. Consider, too, that “even the cleverest of adults struggles to understand the full complexity of our predicament.”
Here’s a small sample of what students will be up against.
For starters, Watkins declares that “… few of our political leaders are taking their [students] protests seriously.”
A possible showstopper is that students are at an immediate disadvantage because they are unlikely to understand “the full scope of the human impact crisis that is breaking over us. The phrase ‘Earth System’ refers to the entirety of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes. Climate is just one element of this system and if we focus on that alone, we will misunderstand the complexity of the danger.”
In brief, here’s the dilemma humanity faces, and students must understand — To avert collapse, resulting in the deaths of more than six in every seven humans on Earth, every person on the planet would have to immediately stop using fossil fuels. However, if we stop using fossil fuels that supply 85% pf Earth’s power, our oil-dependent economy will collapse, causing a global famine that will kill more than six in every seven humans worldwide.
Thus, reducing our problem to climate change, then to CO2, and finally to measuring emissions only at the point of energy production is a dramatic misrepresentation of our dilemma. Slowing climate change is crucial but navigating its challenges is only possible if it is understood as just one facet of planetary overshoot.
Finally, consider the irony of the students’ protest — Their global protest march demands an unwarranted faith in do-nothing governments. “When our school students call upon government to ‘do something’ to address climate change (itself a mere subset of the growing collapse) they [students] must engage in a high degree of denial [themselves] to overlook the fact that the government they are calling upon is made up of rank incompetents.”
Here’s a Shortlink to Watkins’ essay — https://wp.me/pO0No-4D0
Both Trump and AOC’s GND promote 5G “smart grid” deployment, a disastrous swap of fossil fuel pollution for cancerous electrosmog as well as unfettered surveillance, all without a national discussion first.
We need immediate action to implement CLEAN alternative energy sources. Blanketing the nation in mini cell towers would be anything but clean.
“The greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields. I consider that to be a far greater threat on a global scale than warming, or the increase of chemical elements in the environment.” – Robert O. Becker
Connecting EVERYTHING to one source leaves us very vulnerable. Marc Ellsberg’s novel, Blackout, is about how easy it would be to create a global electrical grid shutdown, similar to what is happening to Venezuela today. Are outage wars the new future?
“Who is demanding a hundred devices in his home that spy on him and record his actions? With 5G, the ultimate goal is: every device in every home that uses energy will be “its own computer,” and the planetary grid will connect ALL these devices to a monitoring and regulating Energy Authority.” ~ Jon Rappoport
“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.” ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, Between Two Ages, 1970
BETWEEN TWO AGES - Democracy to Technocracy
Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. ~ Dr. Ian Malcolm
But neither School Strike nor XR mentions capitalism in their websites or literature. They still do not understand that the problem is capitalism. The politicians and corporate executives who block climate legislation are not simply stupid or crazy; they are doing that because they are PAID to do it by the big corporations who profit from the status quo. We must end capitalism soon, or it will end us.
It’s the banksters–full-blown fascism with business and government united in a death embrace.
Solar energy is strong enough to supply all human energy. Dirty energy is not needed.
Yes, I am in the process of drafting my own personal version of a Green New Deal. The situation is dire and the challenges are almost beyond imagination. For that reason my version will be a good deal more specific than the aspirational Resolution, especially with regard to the really big issues, such as a shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative one, which mandates equally large shifts in the structure of society. I am a card-carrying economist who did not drink the Kool Aid, but my native language is “STEM,” most unusual among economists.
"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’."
–Bob Dylan, 1964. You may go now.
It is in a state of almost disbelief that I read these words from the young.
What a disgrace we are - the ones currently in charge.
Yes this is the truth …
It grows Hemp too which helps us replace all hydrocarbon manufactured products at a tenth of the cost .
Hemp can replace so many non-renewable resources .
It is a lifeline for humanity…
There’s always solutions to our self created problems. The Earth will regenerate if we let her
We must make it happen …It’s time for repair not despair.
Hopeful as they are, giant protests are little more than a photo-op moment if they are not followed up with the struggle for power. Unless support for the Green New Deal is a requirement for candidate support, nothing will change beyond rhetoric and empty symbolism. We must either take power through elections or revolution or engage in self-defensive sabotage.
It’s a requirement for my support, and in a strong form. I have voted Green for president ever since Kerry’s punt on second down in 2004, despite some bitter arguments with good people in 2012. There is no way that the mobilization that will be required to do what Ms. Thunberg accurately describes without massive central planning and coordination, just as there was none in 1941 against a less obdurate foe.
FWhite’s first comment sums up a lot. His linked essay should be worth reading. Sunflower, do make specific solar on rooftops, sheds, neighborhood centers, rather than vast solar farms in distant rural settings still vulnerable to utility grid outage. Then consider EVs in the garage as backup power supply, rather than automated ‘driverless’ showing up in an emergency too late. Then redo transit design altogether. Standard 40’ bus chassis do not convert well to EV, nor are they suitable for stop-n-go tight maneuver corners. Seriously question all battery freight trucks as resource hoarding. Plug-in hybrid is the more applicable technology for freight truck. Yet trucking firms are all on board along with self-driving nonsense (or actual fraud because Koch industry heads know better).
Jeff Bezos predicts Amazon will collapse someday.
Now I hate his sneering smile a little less. Amazon has to go.
Is all that specific enough for everybody?
Mostly agree. We only need to slow our lives down by a few percent, back, say, to 1970 levels, to do away with ALL large trucks in favor of rail freight, and anyone who has lived in a city with comprehensive mass transit (such as San Francisco and NYC) realizes that private automobiles are counterproductive, even though China is now moving in that direction.
On the other side, I have read Watkins’ essay and consider it defeatist bunk based on myriad unacknowledged unlikely assumptions, some of them almost certainly false.
I am sympathetic to FWhite’s fear but absolutely disagree. Since 1959 I have researched alternatives to global civilization collapse from dirty energy. Resisting propaganda from fossil fuel corporations is a lot like going to Sunday church proclaiming there is no god.
The economy and technology of CO2 emissions mitigation is not complicated. It only seems so from ignorance. Rule #1 – Do the simple low cost stuff first. Rule #2 – We do not have time for games with toys.
Haven’t read the essay yet, but large and mid-size utility vehicles are fundamental transportation technology. It’s either all-battery or plug-in hybrid for whatever uses they will continue to provide. Rail cannot substitute for most trucking needs. Large and mid-size utility vehicles require huge battery & charge resources that should be distributed to households for basic energy storage and power supply needs. Koch think tank fellows know this a FACT, an inconvenient truth. Why then do they promote all-battery self-driving big rigs? Answer: They want to the rest of us to die. Denial of global warming is an act of war. Actual fraud is being committed by Koch and related international industry and corporate business interests.
Technology that addresses CO2 emmissions mitigation is most certainly complicated, Sunflower. I pointed out uses for solar, specifically ‘rooftop’ vs ‘solar farms’ dependent upon regional utility grids, and how EVs and mass transit may operate most effectively, most fuel efficiently, yet these you left unaddressed. My usual obtuse perspective expressed concisely is yet complicated. Rooftop solar is being shut out of the market despite its equitable distribution of resources and ability to improve utility grid resilience.
My 20 kW solar collector (just now turned on) uses no wires nor pipes. It is a 40 m^2 covered skylight.
Whole cities can be 100% heated in the dead of winter from heat collected in the summer. Borehole seasonal heat storage has an annual efficiency of 90%. Whole cities can be cooled in the summer with district cooling powered by absorption chilling. Just two examples.
I can’t follow your argument. First you say that larger utility vehicles are “fundamental transportation technology,” and that they must all be battery powered or hybrid. But then you say the “huge battery & charge resources” they require “should be distributed to households for basic energy storage and power supply needs.” That seems contradictory: Typo?
But if they are “fundamental transportation technology,” and if they must/must not be battery powered, how do you propose they be powered?
I dispute that “Big Rigs,” i.e., any but the smallest semi-trailer vehicles, are necessary. I haven’t studied that issue in detail, but IMNSHO, restoration of the rail system for both freight and passenger service as existed well into the 1960s would be superior in all or most respects for bulk and long haul freight carriage to trucks.
Carbon Capture and Storage is indeed complicated, and it is not showing nearly as much promise as its supporters expected. Mitigation of C02 emissions is simple: halt all use of fossil fuels ASAP, starting with the simplest and lowest cost as Sunflower333 suggests.