Chris Hedges, in his pessimistic way, outlines the problem but not a helpful solution.
It is like this across the planet. Forests are cut down. Water is contaminated. Air is saturated with carbon emissions. Soil is depleted. Acidity levels in the oceans skyrocket. Atmospheric temperatures soar. And someone, somewhere, makes obscene sums of money from it. Corporations, indifferent to what is sacred, see the death of the planet as another investment opportunity. They are scurrying to mine the exposed polar waters for the last vestiges of oil, gas, minerals and fish. And since the corporations dictate our relationship to the ecosystem on which we depend for life, the chances of our survival look bleaker and bleaker. The final phase of 5,000 years of settled human activity ends with collective insanity.
Our political leaders, Democrat and Republican, are complicit in our demise. Our political system, like that in the declining days of ancient Rome, is one of legalized bribery. Politicians, including Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, serve the demented ends of corporations that will, until the final flicker of life, attempt to profit from our death spiral.
Civil disobedience ... is the only meaningful form of resistance. Voting is useless.
Corporations ... are determined to be the last predator standing. And then they too will be snuffed out. [emphasis mine]
I envision a generation of climate change victims rising in rage to destroy the current corporate structure and economic system. Perhaps today's adults are content to distract themselves with petty spectacles. Our children will face our betrayal with horror. With nothing to lose, they'll organize the mother of all Flash Mobs to tear down the Eco-cidal Corporations and their political puppets.
I wonder! Slavery wasn't ended by the Executive branch of Government ... until resistance became too powerful and the practices had to stop. Racism wasn't ended in the halls of Congress until people marched, riots erupted, buildings burned and people died. Women didn't get the right to vote because of any action of any branch of government; women marched, protested, gave speeches; organized women were jailed, forced fed, and traumatized until the public sentiment changed. Steel workers didn't get fair wages until strong resistance arose. Miners had to strike and picket and organize until the corporations relented out of self-interest. Child labor existed through a large part of USA history and it wasn't from the benevolence of the corporations that the practice ended.
How does change occur in society? Is it through dialog? or negotiation? Usually not. There has to be a fire behind the dialog and negotiation to make change happen. When corruption in businesses and government render a population without remedy, there naturally follows flash mob action. History abounds with such conflicts.
Is there a better way that works? I would like to know! Civilization descends into chaos and no one wins.
Indeed. Changes aren't made at the corporate negotiating table, and few changes are made by negotiations among governments. The people rising up gets some action, although usually at great human cost.
This is not just a US problem, and is not a problem which will be solved by having a different party in the white house or congress - not another 4 years of a Democratic president, and certainly not by having 4 years of yet-another Republican president. It won't even be solved if someone like the Greens, or the Whigs, or the Libertarians or some other third-party win a majority of the seats and offices. This is simply a problem that cannot be solved by the US, not by the US alone, and effects far beyond US boarders or influence.
It won't be solved by the corporations, who can scarcely see beyond next quarter's profits.
The people could rise up, but it would have to be a world-wide, coordinated uprising. The internet could facilitate such a thing, and allow it to happen. Like past movements for real change, there will be a huge human cost in the matter - beyond a doubt.
I'll be more pessimistic here, and suggest that even if people do rise up, and get governments and corporations to actually listen and change, or disappear and be run by a different philosophy, there is still the matter of how to clean up all of the greenhouse gasses already there. Not putting any more up will be a help, but the ones already up there will continue to make the problem worse before it gets better. Moreover, there's a problem in getting public support. All of these uprisings in the US will be for nothing if everyone drives to discreet events in their SUVs and drink their bottled water. It might make some people feel good, but no change will happen. Not until we get the buy-in of every person living on the planet - or nearly everyone.
I fear the author was right in his sentence, "The final phase of 5,000 years of settled human activity ends with collective insanity." Indeed, our corporations, governments, and a significant amount of people appear to be collectively INSANE!
Here's a humorous take on corporations dictating our relationship with nature.