Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

The Fallacy of Climate Activism

In Around the web, Climate Change Series on August 31, 2009 at 7:14 am

From Adam D. Sacks
Grist Magazine – Excerpts

August 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

…the battle against greenhouse-gas emissions, as we have currently framed it, is over.

It is absolutely over and we have lost.

We have to say so…

If we climate activists don’t tell the truth as well as we know it—which we have been loathe to do because we ourselves are frightened to speak the words—the public will not respond, notwithstanding all our protestations of urgency.

And contrary to current mainstream climate-activist opinion, contrary to all the pointless “focus groups,” contrary to the endless speculation on “correct framing,” the only way to tell the truth is to tell it.  All of it, no matter how terrifying it may be…

If we live at all, we will have to figure out how to live locally and sustainably.  Living locally means we are able get everything we need within walking (or animal riding) distance. We may eventually figure out sustainable ways of moving beyond those small circles to bring things home, but our track record isn’t good and we’d better think it through very carefully.

Likewise, any technology has to be locally based, using local resources and accessible tools, renewable and non-toxic.  We have much re-thinking to do, and re-learning from our hunter-gatherer forebears who managed to survive for a couple of hundred thousand years in ways that we with our civilized blinders we can barely imagine or understand.

Living sustainably means, in Derrick Jensen’s elegantly simple definition, that whatever we do, we can do it indefinitely. We cannot use up anything more or faster than nature provides, we don’t poison the air, water, or soil, and we respect the web of life of which we are an intricate part.  We are not separate from nature, or above it, or in any way qualified to supervise it. The evidence is ample and overwhelming; all we have to do is be brave enough to look.

How do we survive in a world that will probably turn—is already turning, for many humans and non-humans alike—into a living hell? How do we even grow or gather food or find clean water or stay warm or cool while assaulted by biblical floods, storms, rising seas, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, and hail?

It is crystal clear that we cannot leave it to the technophiliacs.  It is human technology coupled with our inability to comprehend, predict, and prevent unintended consequences that have brought us global catastrophe, culminating in climate disruption, in the first place.  Desperate hopes notwithstanding, there are no high-tech solutions here, only wishful thinking—the tools that got us into this mess are incapable of getting us out.

All that being said, we needn’t discard all that we’ve learned, far from it. But we must use our knowledge with great discretion, and lock much of it away as so much nuclear weaponry and waste.

Time is running very short, but the forgiveness of this little blue orb in a vast lonely universe will continue to astonish and nourish us—if we only give it the chance…

Keep reading complete article at Grist
Thanks to Dave Pollard

See also David Suzuki Foundation
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