Love And Climate

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When it comes to my expectations for the human race, I set the bar very low. I don’t demand perfect logic, or universal prosperity or that people should love one another.

I have a relatively humble requirement: that people love their own children enough to make a serious effort to stop climate collapse.

Not excuses.
Not explanations why fossil fuels cannot be replaced.
Not screeds “proving” we are already doomed.
Not diversions saying we need to do something else first.
And certainly not claims that the problem is not so bad or non-existent or just a political tactic.

Frankly, I’ve lost patience with all of that. We have no more time to waste on nonsense. Or defeatism. Or pettiness.

I don’t give a crap if any particular prediction was wrong — if irreversible doom will come in 12 years or 6 years or whatever. And, in fact, most climate predictions have been wrong in underestimating the growing speed and severity of the crisis we are actually facing.

While we are arguing about the best way to reduce CO2 emissions, we are spewing them at a record rate. We are making things worse.

Nobody knows for sure what tactic will work. World leaders (actually, I think of them as LOSERS) have managed to preserve the deadly status quo for 40+, preventing any genuine effort to stop climate collapse. They continue to do so, whatever their words.

But we must do everything in our power to reverse their behavior, to get them to do EVERYTHING THEY CAN right now to stop CO2 emissions. We cannot waste time responding to continued diversion, to nonsense, to excuses. We must take the initiative, take control of the conversation, and keep a laser focus on the actual problem.

People are depressed and resigned because they don’t have the power to change things. In our civilization, that power is delegated. And those who have that power have sold it to businessmen who profit from fossil fuels. Whatever your politics or arguments about capitalism or socialism or whatever…politicians take money from the ultra-rich in exchange for policy.

That’s why, despite the warnings of thousands of climate scientists — scientists are the competent people who actually know things — the people in charge have refused to do anything to blunt the crises.

It’s easy to get angry. Or depressed. Or come up with the ONE TRUE WAY to fix the crisis and dismiss everyone else. Yeah, maybe the population is too big. Or capitalism is evil. Or whatever.

I may even agree with you. But that isn’t the issue we face right now. The issue is to reverse and end the burning of fossil fuels and reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans so that our children and their children don’t need to struggle for survival on a hostile Earth.

We don’t have time to solve another crisis first. Because climate collapse is existential and here right now.

The time for blah blah blah is over. We wasted 40+ years arguing. Now is the time for action.

Ah, but what to do? Here’s my answer: I don’t know. And neither do you. And ordinary people do not have the power to change things — policy and behavior that can reduce CO2 is controlled by businessmen, by corporations, and by the politicians they buy.

So, we need to change THEM. But how? We are told, with some credibility, that they are greedy, short-sighted or just so hypnotized by their own power that they don’t care about anything else.

That may or may not be true. But…do they love their children? And how do their children feel about their abuse of the climate, their replacement of a livable Earth with a hostile one?

We need to try whatever we think might work to move them. We need to try hard. All the time. To change their behavior. To end the use of fossil fuels. I’m gonna list some ideas. You may have more. I’m not gonna tell you what to do — because your judgement on what will work might be better than mine. My object is to remove the objection: “I want to do something, but I can’t think of what to do.”

  • Write to people of influence — oil executives, politicians, influencers — and ask them if they love their own children enough to stop abusing the climate. Remind them that climate abuse is child abuse. Or tell them whatever you believe might change their behavior.
  • Write to every highly visible media outlet — in comments sections, letters to the editor — about focusing laser-like on reducing CO2 if we care about our children. Ask politicians and businessmen to change their behavior — sharply and immediately. Invoke the American ‘can do” spirit to deflect the “it’s complicated or too difficult” excuse.
  • Move your investments to clean energy and ask your mutual fund, retirement fund, or whatever, to do the same. Write to someone. Ask others to write to them. Make it a flood of demands.
  • Inject the urgency of the climate crisis into nearly every conversation. Because ignoring it has been the ongoing tactic and we can’t afford that anymore. If climate urgency remains front and center, it’ll be harder for those in power to deflect, to ignore…and it might get them to look at their own children and awaken their consciences.
  • Join a climate activist group and strengthen the efforts that are already happening.
  • Read How To Blow Up A Pipeline by Andreas Malm, which outlines a strategy to make fossil fuels a risky investment, speeding the adaptation of clean, renewable energy. While the title of the book is hyperbole, he proposes sabotaging the products and infrastructure of the fossil fuel industry (inanimate objects) to save human beings.
  • Read The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, a well-researched novel about our climate future. Look in the book for inspiration and ideas on what else you can do.

Yes, it’s fine to reduce your carbon footprint. I’m not listing that here because the carbon footprint is a concept promoted by the oil industry to reduce pressure on them to act. But it’s a good thing to do — just woefully insufficient and, in itself, pretty useless. I myself have never owned a car; I walk and use public transportation. That’s a good thing (hey, I also get good exercise!), but my concern is ending the climate crisis, not virtue signaling.

We don’t need to unite behind one tactic. In fact, we won’t. We should try everything, and keep at it. We are fighting to save our children. And the children of others, including those of the politicians and oil executives who are accelerating our collective doom.

Do they love their children? It’s our job to end their denial, their excuses, their failure to act responsibly. It’s our job to get them to look at their own children and awaken their own consciences. Yes, we may be angry at the politicians and businessmen (I know I am) — but instead of revenge or justice, we must focus on mercy. Because, if there’s a way out, that’s probably the ticket.

I believe that love, not anger, can save us.

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