Archive for July 2nd, 2012

by lizard

Add the term Derecho—also known as a “Land Hurricane”—into our expanding vocabulary for discussing the effects of global climate change. For some reason, after hearing about the massive storm that traveled 700 miles in 12 hours, the acronym FUBAR comes to mind.

Which brings us to Rio.

Rio+20 came and went a week ago, and like most expected, it produced nothing substantive to address the suicide pact late-stage capitalism offers the world’s people.

David Suziki—father of Severn Suziki (who addressed the original summit in Rio 20 years ago)—summed up the sad spectacle on Democracy Now!:

Chris Hedges has a new piece up at Truthdig, called Time to Get Crazy, and it’s worth reading as we approach the bang and sizzle of July 4th. Here’s a cheery selection:

Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality. Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth. Karl Marx was correct when he called unregulated capitalism “a machine for demolishing limits.” This failure to impose limits cannibalizes natural resources and human communities. This time, the difference is that when we go the whole planet will go with us. Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.

ExxonMobil, BP and the coal and natural gas companies—like the colonial buffalo hunters who left thousands of carcasses rotting in the sun after stripping away the hides, and in some cases carrying away only the tongues—will never impose rational limits on themselves. They will exploit, like the hustlers before them who eliminated the animals that sustained the native peoples of the Great Plains, until there is nothing left to exploit. Collective suicide is never factored into quarterly profit reports. Forget all those virtuous words they taught you in school about our system of government. The real words to describe American power are “plunder,” “fraud,” “criminality,” “deceit,” “murder” and “repression.”

There is plenty of cause for preaching doom and gloom, but that message produces paralysis. It’s important to remember that there continues to be grassroots momentum building to shift our collective thinking and actions toward a saner existence.

The unlimited growth demanded by unrestrained Capitalism is an insane, ultimately self-destructive model that will destroy the earth’s capacity to sustain human life.

Though The Hour is Late, those working toward a Great Transition are trying to describe how a majority of our Big Problems are related to climate change. From the link:

Today’s pressing global issues such as poverty, war, hunger, pollution, mass unemployment, species extinction, and deteriorating public health are directly related to the forces and misguided policies that propel global warming. As we begin to make the Great Transition to alternative energy, energy conservation, infrastructure retrofitting, mass transportation, organic agriculture, recycling and composting of biomass, and reforestation we will also be well on our way to solving all or most of the world’s most pressing problems. As the soil and food chain is revitalized through organic soil management, as animal husbandry and rotational grazing replace CAFOs, public health will be improved. As forests and wetlands are preserved, as mass reforestation takes place, GHG emissions will fall and soil and biomass sequestration will increase. As small organic farms and ranches proliferate, rural poverty and pollution will decrease. Biodiversity will be enhanced, species extinction will slow. Hundreds of millions of rural and urban green jobs will lift the majority of the world’s population out of poverty, while at the same time a green and solar-based economy will eliminate the need for resource wars, such as the current conflicts in the Middle East.

Here in Montana we’re in for a tough fight. Our talented and popular Governor can talk all he wants on progressive news shows about the SCOTUS decision to flood Montana’s little democracy boat with corporate speech, because that’s part of his schtick, and it works. Here’s a clip of Brian talking energy, including an idea he’s cinched up his bolo tie to stump for in the past—“clean coal”:

But talk is cheap (like the price per ton of Otter Creek coal, right Gov?), and actions speak louder than words.

In an economic depression, like the one we’re currently experiencing, the demand for jobs drowns out everything else, which is understandable.

But we aren’t facing just a jobs crisis, we are facing a catastrophic climate change crisis, and the demand should be for collective action to prepare ourselves for what that will mean.

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