Friday, August 16, 2019

Seven Shades of Green

I'm trying to sort out all the solutions to the current and ongoing climate catastrophe. This is all getting very complicated, and I'm not sure I completely have my head around who's who and which organization is promoting what, so this is just a partially completed overview of current ideology around climate change. I've listed the shades from the least immediately painful solutions (possibly ineffective in the long run) to the most dramatic solutions (and possibly, but not necessarily, the most effective - certainly the most impactful, though).


SO FAR FROM GREEN IT'S ALMOST RED 
(but not commie-red)

The Cons's Joe Oliver thinks climate change will be good for Canada, and Trudeau wants to expand oil extraction to fund clean energy projects.

Concerns: Ya.... nope. This is not remotely green.



LIGHT GREEN

The United Nations

Climate Change is number 13 of the UN's SDG (sustainable development goals), and their
proposal is to gently encourage the public sector, each government, to minimize the negative impacts they have on the environment. This might include more stringent regulations on construction and resource extraction.

Concerns: It's tricky for governments to do anything that might harm their own economy, so they need more than just encouragement. Governments are notoriously short-sighted. Industrial revolution 4.0.


SHINY GREEN 

Global CCS Institute, International Energy Agency...

Technology will save the day. Give them enough money, and they'll save the world. CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) means we can continue as is by sucking up all the carbon in the atmosphere.

Concerns: It won't work at the scale necessary or nearly fast enough to have an effect. It perpetuates the status quo to the point that there will be no net gain in the long run.


EMERALD GREEN

Elizabeth May, the NDP, AOC, Howie Hawkins, Green New Deal, Sunrise Movement, Leap Manifesto, Project Drawdown  -  Maybe also Sierra Club, 350.org, Bill McKibben, and all those guys (??).

We need to fix the system while working within the system. We'll have inclusive capitalism. A "Clean Caring Economy" sounds great! When we look at climate change as "the greatest business opportunity in our species' history" (Forbes), we can all prosper from the new system. We can have green growth! Renewables will save the day.

Concerns: Some strong ideas, but t's not going to happen fast enough. The focus on profits and the economy, likely to placate the masses who still think the economy matters more than the environment we live in, will take us though mild changes at a glacial pace - the old school glaciers that didn't melt in a season. Green growth is an oxymoron. We have to stop over-consumption, not redirect it. Electrification of everything doesn't stop the mining necessary for metals, etc. But, definitely keep pushing better rail systems to take more cars out of circulation. That's a keeper.


MUTED DEEP GREEN - Non-Violent

Extinction Rebellion (XR), Roger Hallam, Earthstrike, Greta Thunberg
James Lovelock, Jem Bendell and Deep Adaptation,  Scientists Warning.org
Toni Spencer, the Emergence Network

Boots on the ground strikes in order to show the world the importance of the issues and to show the politicians that the people are on board for some big and necessary changes. They call for ordinary people to get together, non-violently, to provide legitimacy for massive changes that are now necessary. Check out Chris Hedges interview with Roger Hallam - Hedges is all about non-violent resistance to the status quo.

Strike every Friday afternoon, but Fridays for Future lists a longer strike from Thursday, September 19 at 8 pm to Friday, September 27 at 8 pm, and there's also a Worldwide Rebellion strike set for Monday, October 7th to Friday, October 18.

Concerns: They're generating tons of attention, but will anyone actually listen?? Is refusing to go to school or work going to adversely affect a machine willing to throw more people into those positions? Masses in the streets could provoke counter-measures of control and then we'll end up with fascism.


DEEP GREEN - Some Violence is Necessary

Deep Green Resistance, Derrick Jensen's EndGame , Lierre Keith, Aric McBay
See this document on Debating Strategies of Transition by Samuel Alexander and Jonathan Rutherford
Decisive Ecological Warfare

We need to shift to a zero growth economy and stop producing green products. They're adamantly against biofuels and other solutions that allow us to keep living the way we live. We can only change the system by destroying it.
"Physically, it’s not too late for a crash program to limit births to reduce the population, cut fossil fuel consumption to nil, replace agricultural monocrops with perennial polycultures, end overfishing, and cease industrial encroachment on (or destruction of) remaining wild areas. There’s no physical reason we couldn’t start all of these things tomorrow, stop global warming in its tracks, reverse overshoot, reverse erosion, reverse aquifer drawdown, and bring back all the species and biomes currently on the brink. There’s no physical reason we couldn’t get together and act like adults and fix these problems, in the sense that it isn’t against the laws of physics. But socially and politically, we know this is a pipe dream. There are material systems of power that make this impossible as long as those systems are still intact. Those in power get too much money and privilege from destroying the planet. We aren’t going to save the planet—or our own future as a species—without a fight."
They quote George Orwell: "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other." It's easy to stop industrial civilization, which depends on a fragile infrastructure with just few centralized ports and processing facilities. They advocate attacking property, not people: things like pipelines, infrastructure, etc. to directly stop the system from continuing. Superficial solutions are ineffective and reinforce existing power disparities. "The worst shortcoming of most suggested solutions is that they are not consonant with the severity of the problem, the window of time available for effective action, or the number of people expected to act. . . . Ultimately, of course, effective solutions must directly or indirectly work toward taking down civilization." We need legal remedies as well as direct action - civil disobedience:
"No single action, whether “inside” or “outside” whatever system of power, is going to be definitive. A serious resistance movement understands that. Instead of closing off whole sectors of a power’s organization, a successful movement aims at wherever power is vulnerable compared to the resources at hand. The “inside” and the “outside” actionists need to see themselves as working together toward that larger goal."

Concerns: Violence begets violence.


DARK GREEN (or maybe GRAVE GREEN)

Dark Mountain (manifesto), Paul Kingsnorth, Dougald Hine  - Hal Niedzviecki wrote about them, Daniel Drumright's suicide stuff

It's all over, and it's time to prepare for the crisis that's definitely coming. "We are in an inexorable period of 'slow collapse' . . . the problems are intractable. There is no turning back, halting global warming, ending our lifestyle of rampant overconsumption and environmental destruction." Their goal is a forum of voices acknowledging that we are living in a time of disintegration and ongoing loss. "Ecocide demands a response. . . . Artists are needed. . . . Where are the poems that have adjusted their scope to the scale of this challenge? . . . What gallery mounts an exhibition equal to this challenge?" They seek out "uncivilised" writing,
"which attempts to stand outside the human bubble and see us as we are: highly evolved apes with an array of talents and abilities which we are unleashing without sufficient thought, control, compassion or intelligence:Apes who have constructed a sophisticated myth of their own importance with which to sustain their civilising project."Apes whose project has been to tame, to control, to subdue or to destroy."

Concerns: But what if it's not all over and there's still time to do something?!


* * * * *

My attitude hasn't changed significantly since writing on people being too stupid to live back in 2013 (where Joe Oliver also gets a mention!). Nothing is better and a whole lot of things are much, much worse. I think I've worked my way down to the bottom of this list although I still often hover around emerald green and muted deep green much of the time. I still advocate doing less damage on an individual basis (buying less, travelling less, using fewer resources and energy, eating less meat, etc.) because it's good for our mental health to maintain an illusion of having a positive effect on the world and because people who get better at living with less will have an easier time of it when that's no longer a choice. I'm not ready for suicide pills yet, but I do agree with the importance of art at times of chaos. And that's right now. But we need the big and little movements, the personal and the political, all at once to make a go of anything.



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