Much as I want to see the ongoing climate change stopped and reversed, I honestly don't have hope that humanity has the ability to stop, turn around, and ease our way back from the tipping point that may already be irreversably tipping. I personally tread a narrow knife-edge between pragmatic and idealistic. First, I have not given up driving to work. I may work on practices to reduce my carbon footprint, keep the heat down, not using air conditioning (fortunate to live in mild climate), drive a modest car that is not a gas guzzler, mainly eat foods that are cooked at home, garden, compost, recycle, reuse, repurpose, but still I know that my personal carbon footprint is far, far greater than the vast majority of people in other countries. And I'm fairly motivated. Most people are not.
Add to that, the US and world's political and economic systems are not motivated to bring about rapid movement toward reversing climate change. It's not even fair to ask countries like China and India, and the African continent, not to develop in ways similar to the West. Then there is religion, with narcissistic "god made the world for us to suck dry" mentality, and "the world is going to end anyway, for god to make the new world to come". A billion catholics, give-or-take, all being told to reproduce like rabbits. A billion muslims, give-or-take, who knows what they are told, but I doubt they are going cut back today's population for tomorrow's children. A billion Chinese, with a country rapidly developing and growing, seduced into flashy comfortable fun consumer society. A billion Indians, also headed that way. A western culture, elite, addicted to consumer goods and amazingly wasteful commuting lifestyles. And the great portion of humanity just doesn't agree or have the where-with-all to think about climate change.
So is there a choice other than hoping for the world to "listen" and "act" in ways that it doesn't appear willing to do, vs. nihilism, vs. survivalism? Is it time to think about a "third way". Which could be, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Climate Change".
Hoping for, and decrying, climate change diverts resources from finding ways to adapt to, and maybe thrive, in a changed world. The future will belong to people and cultures and companies and countries that embrace the future, plan for the future, and devote resources to the future. As individuals, what can we do to anticipate the changed world that may well arrive during our lifetimes, and certainly in the next generation?
Searching on the topic, most hits land on decrying climate change, deer-in-the-headlights "The end is near", or denying climate change, or arguing about the cause, or decrying the climate change denialists. It's much harder to find ways that people think about learning to live in a changed world.
I may well get slammed for suggesting this. I am re-reading the book "1491", which describes the Americas prior to the incursion of invading people, animals, plants, philosophies, economic, political, and religious systems, and most of all, microorganisms. Bottom line - the native peoples had no way to know, understand, or prepare for the apocalypse to come. They were decimated, according to the author, 90 to 97% dying off in the greatest destruction of humanity in history. The "pristine" world that explorers found, was the result of local peoples and their agricultural and social systems vanishing.
We have the advantage of seeing, imperfectly, the world to come. How do we prepare our society and culture to survive and even thrive in that world?
I don't have answers. I would love to see discussion on how society can realistically prepare. Should we continue building metropolises at sea level? Should we be working on farm crops that will do well in expected climates of the future? How do we, if imperfectly, preserve and promote biodiversity? What happens to the people who will be displaced from coastal areas and new deserts? Think New Orleans / Katrina. I don't want to see a "survivalist" mentality, so how do we prevent that and still prepare? If there will be a changed world, what would a successful society look like?
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Not to nitpick, but ancient native americans did have dogs, many centuries before european contact. They did not have cows, sheep, chickens, or horses, but they did have dogs. Dogs are thought to have come with the early Native Americans when they crossed the Behring strait. The indigenous dogs may have been diluted out by european dogs.
Thanks, that's interesting, I'll be reading more about that. :)
I understand what you mean by "colonial culture" in relation to eating dogs and horses, but you must realize the role these animals played in the lives of Native Americans in the northwest. Before the arrival of horses, people carried their villages from place to place in their migrations. Horses made a big change in the native population. Also, the old woman who told us her story, had great emotion attached to it. She spoke as an old woman remembering terror as a child. Part of her remembered terror was starving, and the other part was consuming their beasts of burden.
Yes, the Native cultures "lost" but what did they lose? Their culture, language, religion, migratory patterns of living, their way of life, their freedom. What the old woman retained was her dignity and pride. Though bent with age, she told her story with power, not defeat. She was not a victim. She/they had been victimized, but she was not a victim.
You correctly identify what you call, "Arabian telephone" game, if I understand your meaning. Explain to me what you mean; am I "guilty" of falling for oral stories? My experiences reveal that different stories do come from oral histories and they are very different than historical documents, usually written by people who won an argument, or had the skills to tell one side without seeing the other side, or who had an axe to grind.
When you write, I feel accused and blamed for not doing enough, or not being aware of the seriousness of the problems attached to global warming. I want to read your acknowledgement of my attempts to awaken public knowledge, and of making life-style changes myself. I feel as though you expect me to be a "Norma Rae"; well, I've been there, done that. Now it is your turn.
I have many friends who say/do what you say/do, and I denounce their actions/sayings also. Us Westerners have been taking this approach for over half a century and have accomplished nothing, we have barely made a dent in the speed of degradation. When a method fails, it's time to give it up and take a different approach. People who in my opinion "don't do enough", no, sorry, but I won't be an enabler. I say my words. I have oft been accused of being a native romanticiser... I will confess to being a pre-colonial one, but not a post colonial one. I have not practiced social activism every single year of my life, I am no nun for a cause, but in between bouts of activism, I recharge, in my own ways. So it's not a matter of "turns". My family were never 'activists', they simply 'lived sustainably'. My sister and I are first generation activists, we are both radical, and both in our mid-life period. My mother at 65 has only started being an activist when she turned 55 or so, following in her daughters' footsteps? But I will never quit. no, it's not about turns. But I do expect from people of a certain intellect to recognise when a method has demonstrated its total inefficiency.
So no, I don't expect 'you' to be Norma Rae, I expect EVERYONE to be her. :)
Yesterday I read an article where an analyst figured out we'd have to be 50 times as activated toward stopping climate change, because of the enormity of the problem. While this sounds daunting, if you look at it from the perspective of us being addicted to fossil fuels, addicts do dramatically turn around and fight their addictions. We haven't hit bottom yet, enough to face up to reality. We're in "soft denial", often recognizing intellectually that the planet is warming but acting as if it weren't.
I think once people feel the pinch of rising food prices and make the connection to climate destabilization - that's it's not in the far future but NOW - we can make a 180.
Here's the article that said we'd have to be 50 times as activated toward stopping climate change.
Oh! That is why I felt "denounced".
From what I have read, anyone who would "denounce" you isn't worth listening to. Everyone has their own "walls" built from their experiences, beliefs, attitudes, temperament, reading, language, biology, and psychology. What some people call living in silos. Connecting to the next silo over can be difficult, sometimes impossible. Even so, you have spent a life breaking down walls, not building them. Something to be honored.
Failing to recognise that a method of "breaking down walls" has failed for as long as it has been tried DESERVES to be "denounced".
It's not a personality flaw I'm criticising here, it's simply pointing out the factual context that these methods don't work... so why keep beating the dead cat... all it does it makes us feel good about ourselves... but it accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Joan I think you fully understand that my usage of 'denouncing' is not about you personally, I don't waste my time throwing around personal insults, as others do, I'm just looking at the effectiveness of our actions...
TNT666, I understand what you mean by beating a dead horse. That is my point exactly! The horse is not dead! It is still being whipped, people of "good reputation" beat the horse and get away with it. When the horse beater is held accountable I will shut up. Until then, I shall speak what I know to be true. One very nice gentleman called me at home and expressed essentially the same thought as you; he said he would "rape me with a blowtorch." If that had stopped me, I would be a coward and ineffective. My hunch is, he is one who beats horses.
OOPPSS! you said dead cat and I referred to a dead horse. Principle is the same.