(Notice: This will not be a pleasant essay to read, and please click the links)
Global Warming, Climate Crisis, Climaticide, whatever you want to call it, is not some future calamity waiting to happen. It is happening even as we speak. It is happening now. Its devastating effects may some day be dramatic enough to be worthy of a Hollywood movie….which is how we are conditioned to think of disaster these days, if it doesn’t have explosions or tidal waves, it is not REALLY a disaster….. But that is not how it works.
That is not the form that this disaster takes. It takes the form of a slow, rolling, building crisis, unnoticed at first, then easily explained away, then easily dismissed as someone else’s problem. Until it is too late. Starting with the worlds poorest people and gradually working it’s way up “the food chain.” The food chain of all of human society, every nation, every state, every city every village, every human. Until the ‘elite’ are finally affected and alarmed…which will be too late.
Oh, there will be explosions…in fact there are explosions right now, as the first of the resource wars rages in Iraq, (please read LithiumCola’s essay) resource wars will be the dramatic face of Climate Crisis. Resource wars started by the very ‘people’ who are denying that there is a crisis now. Denying it in order to ‘steal a march’ on the rest of the world that they are purposefully attempting to keep in ignorance of the future they are creating. All for their advantage. For their profit. In the mistaken belief that somehow this will save them. They know what is happening, and have known for years, their response has been to try to profit off of this knowledge, instead of working to stop the damage. Resource wars will be the dramatic face.
But the face of a starving child will be the real face of Climate Crisis.
Ban Ki-Moon announced today that the UN must combat food shortages across the globe or risk “widespread hunger, malnutrition and social unrest on an unprecedented scale.”
and water wars, have already started and will continue. And will get much, much worse.
This is not, as Mr Ban says…
“There is an urgent necessity to address structural and policy issues that have contributed to this crisis as well as the challenge posed by climate change,” he said. “Further research must be undertaken on the impact of diversion of food crops to bio-fuel production and all subsidies to bio-fuels should be reviewed.”
An “as well as” situation, these are the effects of Climate Crisis. And no matter how many light bulbs we change (though we each must do all we can) or how much we recycle….Climate Crisis is not going away. (please read)
In many, many ways…if not in all ways, this is the only ‘story’ that matters.
The web of life…food…water…fuel…that sustains us all on this, our only planet is relatively delicate, and dynamically interconnected. All based on systems that take much longer than a human life-span to adapt, all incredibly vulnerable to “rapid” (in planetary time spans) and “slight” changes. The changes that, even though we are aware of them, even though we have been warned for decades, we not only are not stopping ….thought the consequences are quite clear…we are actually still increasing carbon production at an astounding rate.
Our planet, at the behest of the worlds political and corporate leaders, and in the name of economic expediency, is committing Climaticide….killing the Climate that sustains us all. In other words, suicide.
What can we do about it?
As Patriot Daily eloquently put it in her essay Gore: Crisis of Citizenship Impedes Addressing Environmental Crises:
What we can do to move toward establishing that sense of urgency needed to trigger active citizenship which then triggers solving environmental issues is to understand the facts and analyze the issues. Once we agree upon the facts and analysis, then we must take action to change our political culture. This happened in Australia, which faced such a devastating drought that the people unified in a campaign to “lift the sense of urgency for the people about global warming and drought.” The campaign included participation by newspaper, TV, radio and the internet, and it created the sense of urgency that led to a changed government with a new prime minister whose first action was to change position on global warming by ratifying Kyoto. Gore warned that we can not wait until we face water shortages like the drought in Australia.
Gore’s road map to resolve an environmental crisis makes sense. We must be informed, understand and agree on the facts of the particular environmental crisis. Acknowledging the environmental crisis has been sufficient to trigger some personal involvement in conservation, but not sufficient to trigger substantial conservation efforts and not sufficient to trigger sufficient political citizen action to change the political culture in DC so that laws are changed. So, we need agreement on the facts of the environmental crisis + some extreme in-your-face event (like a severe drought) to trigger the sense of urgency that leads to campaigns or movements to change the political culture.
That really is, unfortunately, and aside from the changes we can make in our own behaviors, about the best we can do. And there is literally nothing more important to do. Nothing.
It is, to me, a distressing and depressing reality, to watch the planet being destroyed for short sighted gain and the lust for power. But it is our reality.
As individuals, and here on Docudharma, we can at least take some comfort in the fact that we are working (as hard as you can on a blog) to change the political culture…and the social culture that drives it. Speaking for myself, it is behind everything I do, everything I write, the reason I started blogging in the first place. The reason I have, lol, no patience for the pettiness of the candidate wars. I hate the role of Cassandra, not to mention that it is not an effective tactic to achieve change. But every once in a while there is a convergence that forces me into that role, as happened today, triggered by, as LC put it “NYT Lets the Truth About Oil Slip, for a Second” the truth slipping out. We are in deep, deep trouble…and it is not in some far future, it is now. Everything we do here, big and small…including laughing and flirting with each other, lol….is a part of what Cheney called the “long war.”
Building this community and connecting (at least “in Spirit”) with the growing number of other like minded communities across the planet….to both fight the “old world” which is based on greed and competition and is destroying democracy and freedom and the planet all at once…while we at the same time work towards building a new world, based on equality and cooperation, is to be immodest, noble…and necessary. We are in our small, human way….fighting to save the planet. It may not ‘work,’ it may even be too late, but it is all I can think of to do. Thanks for helping!
I leave you with this oft repeated, hopeful thought:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
And a less repeated one, that for some reason, I am quite fond of!