By Dave Ewoldt | December 15, 2011 at 07:58 PM EST | No Comments
Anyone else notice how insidious the latest spin around global warming and the economy has become? Especially as the UN climate talks in Durban have failed (yet again) and the Occupy movement gains more traction. It takes advantage of people's innate desire to help out, to contribute, and the fact that no one likes to feel helpless, or like there is nothing they can do that is meaningful. We all want to believe, or have hope, that a better future awaits us, or at least our children.
American culture in particular, though, just tends to leave out the bit where we're responsible for active engagement in ensuring this occurs. We're told, Just do your job and report any suspicious activity of your neighbors.
I've been seeing comments in various forums from environmental, justice, and equity activists that point out two ways this spin and misdirection is occurring. And most disheartening is how change agents are buying into it.
The first is one that's been around a while, and is the idea that individual actions can avert climate catastrophe. Now, these actions can most definitely help and must be embraced. We desperately need to power-down as a culture and as individuals. But the estimate is that if every American fully deployed every suggestion Al Gore makes in An Inconvenient Truth, and not just for one day or two weeks out of every month, we'd only be about 23% of the way toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions to where they need to be for a livable planet. Not to mention deforestation, etc.
The second is the idea that the 99% create jobs through their purchasing decisions; that it's not the wealthy and connected, the bankers who extend easy credit (mainly to governments to maintain empire), or the debt based usury of economic cannibalism that makes up the foundation of the Industrial Growth Society. We're told on one hand that the elite idle class are "job creators" and on the other hand we're told that the captains of industry only manifest what we consumers clamor for; just don't consider the incessant stream of propaganda for manufactured desires. The implicit directive, of course, whether stated or not, is that true American patriots, in order to make America strong again and contribute to economic recovery, can best contribute by going shopping. And don't even think about the fact that the quest for infinite economic growth is what lead to our rapidly converging global crises in the first place.
And since these two ideas are normally presented separately, as disconnected concepts that don't impinge on one another, you're not supposed to notice they are pretty much diametrically opposed.
We do have to do something; to become involved. That's part of being human. People want an action plan. As the Occupy movement shows, everyone from poets to veterans are willing to endure state suppression, police brutality, media ridicule, and sleep on freezing concrete as an initial expression that things simply aren't working for us; it's time for change.
The concrete actions necessary to deal with global warming, resource depletion, environmental toxicity, biodiversity loss, the widening wealth gap, angst, despair, depression, and outright paralyzing fear is shutting down the paradigm of dominator hierarchies and their reliance on infinite industrial growth for power and control, and their willingness to misuse, abuse, overuse, and otherwise trash our one and only life support system to maintain it. We must also honestly admit that the fear if growth stops so does any hope for progress and prosperity is highly irrational. It has no supporting evidence.
Then (or concurrently, actually) we must replace this system and its attributes with the mutually supportive relationships of living systems. This means steady-state local living economies, bioregional governance based on an Earth jurisprudence, and reconnecting our intimate bonds to the natural world--which includes to each other and our communities--as a starting foundation.
Oh, and abolishing corporate personhood, shutting down the International Monetary Fund, disbanding the World Trade Organization, outlawing genetically mutated organisms, removing all subsidies from BigEnergy, BigAg and BigPharma, and instituting the Precautionary Principle would be some nice, concrete beginning action items as well.
The core shift of relocalizing and reconnecting is very doable today. Nothing new needs to be invented. We don't need to wait for an evolutionary jump in levels of consciousness--or rescue from beings from Pleiades. We can voluntarily reduce global population to sustainable levels over the next couple of generations and improve overall quality of life with currently available clean renewable energy technologies--even if zero-point free energy is being brutally suppressed by a shadowy elite conspiracy. We can hold technology to its long withheld promise of increased leisure time by designing high quality products that are built to last and be easily repairable instead of chucking them into the landfill every time the color changes. This by itself could give us full global employment with about 60% fewer hours and not a single "new" job being created.
We just need to wake up. Take the red pill. Allow god's children to start acting like god's adults. Reclaim our humanity and our sovereignty. However you want to phrase it. We have the ability. It is inherent within us. Just do it.