Climate Change is the elephant in the room everyone ignores
"According to a new UN report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet."
In 1977, political scientist Charles Lindblom wrote, "Relentlessly accumulating evidence suggests that human life on the planet is headed for a catastrophe. Indeed, several disasters are possible, and if we avert one, we will be caught by another." He enumerates population growth, resource shortage and global warming. "All this assumes that a nuclear catastrophe does not spare us the long anguish of degeneration."
Despair seems a natural, or indeed even an appropriate, response to such a reality. It is genuinely difficult to know how else to relate to threats to the existence of our species that we appear powerless to halt.
Before we can think seriously about what to do about the threats of doom, therefore, we have to think about our own responses. Is despair warranted, and if so is it the only appropriate response? Is it already too late to do anything? If a situation is hopeless, isn’t psychological denial appropriate – if we can’t do anything about it, shouldn’t we just ignore it and get on with the rest of life as best we can? Is the threat of doom likely to spur us to action? Or is it more likely to make us feel helpless and turn us to apathy? Can despair be a bridge to something else?
We have good scientific reasons to expect that, without any help from us, the human race will sooner or later become extinct and that eventually our planet will freeze or burn up or shatter into bits. And we have good reason to think that nothing we can do will avert such a fate.
But self-inflicted, man-made doom is different. It cannot be regarded as something human beings are inherently powerless to avert. What we appropriately experience is that we are powerless to avert it as individuals. But collectively we could reverse the drift toward doom in a day – if we agreed to do so – simply by halting those activities that are generating it. The powerlessness we experience is not the result of our destructive capacity, but of our apparent inability to organize ourselves to prevent ourselves from using it to destroy ourselves.
My opinion is that since there is no magic in the world, no god, or gods (that have ever had credible evidence shown of their existence – the burden of proof lies upon the accuser) to save our “souls”, eventually mankind will die, either on this planet or another, if we even manage to scrape enough materials together to colonize another, and we’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, so to speak. Of course this knowledge has led me to be a nihilist trapped by despair. My only current goal in life is to survive awhile longer, for a chance to see the beginning of our society’s downfall, out of morbid curiosity. Will it become like mad max, with desolate deserts roamed by gangs seeking fuel and food wherever they can find it? I suspect our society will stagger on at least a hundred years or so before it becomes that bad, in which case I won’t get to see the really interesting stuff, but time will tell…
Not that my doom-and-gloom is meant to excuse myself from my (self-imposed) moral responsibility to leave the planet a better place than I came into it, but we have to be honest here – what good can I do compared with how much global corporations are messing up the world? All of the gas companies wasting resources and polluting the atmosphere, the mining companies, logging, etc, in addition to the healthcare protection racket and wall street all squeezing the world’s economy for all the spare change they can get (healthcare alone is about 1/5th of the USA’s economy, and almost everyone outside of the industry says it’s broken, corrupt, horribly inefficient, etc.)… it’s enough to make one feel useless. Will my recycling of a few bottles a week really do any good? I still do, but it just feels pointless.
So, you might challenge me to try to do something, anything, to make the world a better place. Should I join local environmental groups, to engage in petition-writing and phone-calling to senators and such? Such efforts are generally a useless waste of time. Even if you go to extreme measures, like the Red Army Faction did, such as robbing banks, blowing up department stores, etc, they barely affected contemporary society. The corrupt government just went to more extreme measures in kind, to track them down. These days such a group would barely get off the ground, with the amount of surveilence allowed via warrentless wiretaps and internet searches. And even if they did, in the meantime the banksters would keep on robbing another trillion dollars from the economy and transferring it offshore, like they did in the last 10 years from just the US economy alone. All this of course is to ignore my long-term belief in the inevitability of humanity’s extinction. I, along with many others, prefer to go down with some dignity. My nihilism does not allow me free reign to looting, raping, and murdering whoever I want, unfortunately. Consciences are the burdens of the good people in our society, and most rich people became so rich because of their lack of decency, and their wealth has done nothing to change their behaviors.
If I was in charge, I’d do my damndest to outlaw fossil fuels (gas, coal, related stuff) immediately, legalize all drugs, but tax and regulate them via the FDA or ATF or something (cops haven’t stopped the drug trade yet, all they do is get themselves shot and make the shooters rich – mexican gangs, Al Quaida in Afpak, etc), and kill corporations bigger than 100 people or whatever, and/or that do business over a certain dollar value per year, say 1 million or something. I’d seriously write these policies down the first day in office and say they’re enacted, and who cares if it’s legal or not, because it’s what needs to happen if we want any chance to stave off further disasters down the road. I’d obviously do other things as well, such as FINALLY close gitmo, etc, and just free all the prisoners. Almost all of them were tortured and almost all of them were innocent to begin with. If they became “terrorists” as a result of our inhumane and illegal treatment of them, we deserve the consequences. Tax the rich, reduce the military to 5% of its current size (just enough to keep tactics in practice in case we ever need a huge citizen army ala WW2 again), and spend all that money on useful things, like infrastructure, schools, etc. Hell, schools are the best value per dollar to build in countries that don’t support us much. We should’ve built 1000 schools in Afghanistan, not invaded it. Cheaper and more effective, plus if we legalized the growing of poppies in the US, the guys who are going to buy drugs anyway would fund local businesses, instead of “terrorists”.
This is my first post, it’s just some ramblings I’ve been writing the last couple days.