This is Part 2 in my Cheat Sheet series of global warming posts. You can read the rest here. Here I outline what I feel is the path forward.
There are five things I feel we need to be doing. And I will add this caveat…we must do them all fast. Like, now.
- Get scared
- Get woke
- Get radical
- Have hope
I’ll cover each in turn, sharing information that might be helpful for you to form your own opinion.
The time for couching things in safe, appealing, non-confronting terms has passed. Sorry. The scientists who contributed to the IPCC report advocate panic now. Words such as dire, emergency, apocalypse are justified, they say. The UK Parliament has recently declared a climate emergency. In May 2019, the UN announced 1 million species are at risk of extinction…and that human survival was equally at risk. This stuff is real and it’s now and, yep, it’s scary.
But we are adults. And the kids are asking us to panic on their behalf.
Right now, we are frogs in the proverbial pot of water. The water’s been warming slowly on the stove for a while but we’ve reached boiling point. This is scary shit. No. Other. Way. To. View. It.
Flick to this page if you want to get woke to just how scary.
Flick to this page to appreciate the scariest aspect of it all. As David Suzuki says:
2. Get Woke
Use your fear to read, learn, discuss. Share this post and the others in the series.Don't say fighting climate change will be too hard. You know what will be too hard? Facing a world without the animals and nature we define ourselves by. Seeing images of humans dying around us in the millions and billions!Click To Tweet
On my Instagram and Facebook feeds I share the great work of folk who can get you woke with their work. Read them. Share their woke work.
3. Get radical.
The water is boiling. If we have any chance of survival, tinkering around the edges will not work. It could’ve 30 years ago when we were first given the warnings. It’s too late now.
I’ve read deeply on this. There is consensus nothing but a radical overhaul of the current system and thinking will work. Corporations are responsible for 71% of emissions. Politics is funded by these corporations. This shit won’t be solved within the system.
We are talking massive overhauls of infrastructure and political systems. We will need to strike and protest to make this happen. Grassroots is where it needs to start. We can see it working already, right. Note Greta Thunburg’s work. Alexandria Orcasio Cortez’s work. It is cutting through.
Others have said it better than me. I’ve cherry picked some great reads from the experts to assist you in getting a feel for why radical is the only way.
He argues it’s been done before: When the US joined the second world war in 1941, it replaced a civilian economy with a military economy within months. We can move fast when the human spirit is mobilised – and woke – enough.
This op-ed in The Guardian says it’s a neo-liberal con that conscious consumption will work, Eco-consumerism may expiate your guilt. But it’s only mass movements – protest, rallies, strikes – that have the power to alter the trajectory of the climate crisis. This requires of us first a resolute mental break from the spell cast by neoliberalism: to stop thinking like individuals.
This article argues that if you want to fight climate change a personal level … have fewer children. Next best actions are selling your car, avoiding flights and going vegetarian (I point out that this is a UK article…the Australian situation on the meat v’s no-meat situation is different.)
A study showed one in three Australians under 30 are considering not having kids due to climate change concerns. I find this really, really telling.
Some ideas to get you started…
- “Give to GetUp.org“. They are doing, to my mind, the best job in Australia to act where it hurts. They are targeting conservative MPs, one by one, who are blocking efforts to address climate change.
- Join ExtinctionRebellion’s and #Fridaysforfuture’s peaceful protests. This George Monbiot article has good links to great moments. I share many other great activists on my social feeds.
3. #VoteClimate #votefortheplanet
Nothing else matters. We will not have jobs or infrastructure if we don’t have a planet. Further, the radical plans being put forward to fix the planet actually produce jobs, entail infrastructure creation etc …but done radically differently. It really is worth reading a little deeper on this part of the debate. There is much room for hope here. Some parties are getting it right. The point remains, though, we must act fast. And be prepared for “radical”.
Plus, no attempts to deal with the economy, jobs, infrastructure will ever be able to cope with the scale of the problems we face if climate change is not abated.
You can flick to my Vote Climate guide on how to make a difference in Australia’s 2019 election.
4. Have Hope
We can’t be optimistic nor pessimistic. Both approaches give as a leave pass to not act. An optimist says, “It will turn out fine so I don’t need to do anything.” A pessimist says, “Nothing I do will make a difference so let me not waste my time.”
The salve? We must have hope. Hope engages us. Hope leads to mass action.To solve the climate crisis we must get woke and have hope...and vote.Click To Tweet
Know this: As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, only 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. This is not a lot.
And think about this: If a doctor told your mother, “This cancer is unique and we have no experience of its prognosis. There are things we can try but they might not work,” would you advise her to give up and prepare for death? I’m not giving up on Mother Earth that easily.
And this: Back in the 1930s, as Adolf Hitler rose to power, those who turned away when they saw Jews getting beaten in the streets never expected that decades later, their grandchildren would turn toward them with repugnance and say “Why did you do nothing when there was still a chance to stop the horror?”
This read about how connected we are to the planet should inspire you. Humans are the brain — the consciousness — of the planet. We are Earth made aware of itself. Viewed this way, our ecological responsibility could not be clearer.
For some reason this seemed a hopeful stat: Half of the carbon in the atmosphere was put there by us in the last 30 years. And now we have 11 and a half years to reverse that disastrous act.
This article, “Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It”, explains this gargantuan challenge will be wonderful for us! It provides a heartening rally call. It acknowledges (let’s not forget), Solving climate is going to be harder, and more improbable, than winning World War II, achieving civil rights, defeating bacterial infection and sending a man to the moon all together.
But it goes on to argue humans have solved gargantuan problems before. We have done through hard-core practice.
The world would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than has ever been achieved, and do it everywhere, for 50 years. We’d need to spread the world’s best climate practices globally — like electric cars in Norway, energy efficiency in California, land protection in Costa Rica, solar and wind power in China, vegetarianism in India, bicycle use in the Netherlands.
The writer argues we must fight governments. How?
We must realize that real progress comes from voting, running for office, marching in protest, writing letters, and uncomfortable but respectful conversations with fathers-in-law. This work must be habitual.
I loved this:
The climate struggle embodies the essence of what it means to be human, which is that we strive for the divine. Perhaps the rewards of solving climate change are so compelling, so nurturing and so natural a piece of the human soul that we can’t help but do it.
I rail against this. We belong here on earth. We are symbiotically connected. The beauty of the planet is my source of truest joy, its vastness feeds my spiritual innocence. I’d take a bullet for it. Which is to say I’d rather die than go to Mars. I weep right here, as I bang this out,thinking of how disconnected the folk who even suggest such an idea as a hopeful solution (and throw billions at its pursuit over shutting down carbon emissions). Where have our souls gone? Where is our awe at?
We are on a path to self-destruction, and yet there is nothing inevitable about our fate. Solar panels and wind turbines are now among the least expensive ways to produce energy. Storage batteries are cheaper and more efficient than ever.
What’s stopping our salvation?It’s industry and governments blocking things, to a large extent. And a lack of hope.
We could move quickly if we chose to, but we’d need to opt for solidarity and coördination on a global scale….The possibility of swift change lies in people coming together in movements large enough to shift the Zeitgeist.
What do you do when the boy has cried wolf and all the ostriches are digging their heads in the sand? You keep going. Agree?