Climate change doesn’t care about human-made artificial borders and neither should we
With ONE VOICE we can de-risk political action on climate policy!
For centuries they separated us based on skin colour, race, religion and by human-made artificial borders. We lived in small villages, rarely travelled beyond the local market and information was scarce. A very small number of ultra wealthy people had complete control over the narrative. We were told their version of the truth to suit their needs. They played to the fear and ignorance of the poverty stricken masses and other than a few uprisings from time to time, it left “the people” divided and disconnected, and it remained that way for millennia.
But that world no longer exists. We have access to information like never before. Billions of us carry powerful computers with cameras and video recorders wherever we go. The truth can be confirmed in minutes and we can connect and mobilize in real time. And yet, as the warnings about devastating climate change escalate and our planet edges closer to an ecological collapse, the citizens of this planet are as confused and divided as ever.
A Blanket Of Soft Censorship
Yes we have access to more information but that hasn’t translated into a better understanding of the truth. In fact, to the contrary, corporations and billionaires have taken over the media industry and pushed independent voices aside. We may have more channels but the blanket of soft censorship covers them all. The unrelenting message is that the debate is over and the decision has been made. They continue to peddle that best way to solve the world’s biggest challenges is through more growth via deregulated capitalism. But obviously that doesn’t have a great ring to it, so they came up with the term “green growth”. An idea that suggests that we can grow our way out of the climate emergency as long as we do it with recycled content, EV’s and renewable energy. To date, no country has proven that this can be accomplished. All growth continues to be environmentally destructive…and the clock is ticking.
…instead of working to create wellbeing for the people, they work for BIG capital…
But don’t take my word for it, look at the science-rejecting sanitized messaging of climate change. Look at the complete lack of “mainstream” critical analysis of the growth and consumption obsessed economic machine. Look at how wealthy interests have infiltrated the offices of politicians and policy makers, who, instead of working to create wellbeing for the people, they work for big capital and the bank accounts of billionaires. The sad truth is that we’re just as controlled and divided as those illiterate folks that lived a meagre existence on scattered farms so many centuries ago. But unlike them, we’re connected and that is going to make all the difference.
We’re All In This Together
Despite the incessant cheering for “green growth”, it’s getting hard to ignore that something is very wrong. And it’s not just in my, or your, little corner of the world - it’s everywhere. In a flooded Pakistan, a burning California and British Columbia, and a heat stricken India and China. It’s the punishing summer heat, the erratic winters and the heavy downpours from moisture-laden air that brings flooding to cities and towns where it never used to occur. It’s the dry European rivers, drought stricken horn of Africa and melting permafrost in Canada and Russia.
We have names for all of these places and we divide them with little lines on a map, because that’s what we’ve been taught, but these lines are a dangerous distraction. The earth’s ecosystems are breaking down and they don’t care about our artificial borders. If we want to overcome this challenge, we need to face it for what it is - an earth emergency - and if we’re going to survive, we need to leverage our numbers for real change.
A Cry For Help
What’s the average person supposed to do with the knowledge that our planet is under attack? Recycle? Carry a reusable mug? Ride your bike? Start a home garden? Buy an EV? Really? Are these our best choices? Does anyone really think that at this late date, after so much delay, that individual action will actually prevent the worst from happening? Don’t we have to target the system that incentivises the harm? Have you ever considered that maybe all the disturbing weather images that fly around the internet are people’s way of saying, “look what’s happening here - why doesn’t someone deal with this”? Or maybe it’s more primal - a cry for help? Either way, all we seem to get in return are just more images of people who are feeling the exact same way.
Humans are experiencing something unprecedented and we have good reason to feel anxious. Much of the world refers to it as climate change but it no longer feels like those words do justice to what’s coming. We are in the first stages of widespread ecosystem breakdown and if you’re not afraid - you’re likely not paying attention or you’re listening to the elite-protecting propaganda.
Ecosystem breakdown isn’t a steady process. It’s unpredictable and interconnected. When one ecosystem fails we don’t settle into a new normal. Our world degrades quickly. To some people this just means that it’s a little hotter and they need to turn up the AC or that their electricity bills will rise. And yet to others who have already connected the dots, it means crop failure, rapid inflation and the rise of authoritarians on the way to the complete collapse of the economy, personal safety, and civilization as we know it. But those are just words to many. This is what’s coming:
A lack of food, clean water, health care and medicine, access to electricity and parts for everything. An increase in violence, authoritarian leaders, fear, early death and uncertainty. Meeting friends for coffee, using zoom and getting your kids to soccer practice will be distant memories.
Stop the Psychopathic Dance!
At a time when we need a collective solution we have an ideological elite, drunk on power, cheering for renewable energy and other various “green” solutions to be delivered by the old toxic and individualistic system of untethered corporate greed. You know…the system that put us in this position. But that toxic culture, besides being completely counterproductive by setting us up as rivals to solve a collective problem, is only half of the problem.
We live on an interconnected planet. You can’t just go out into nature and extract billions of tons of scarce materials, using fossil fuels, destroying forests and biodiversity, and poisoning habitat and groundwater, without accelerating our environmental crisis. The promise that we can live our wasteful lives with little to no change as long as we power it with clean energy is a fantasy - and deep down we know it! This psychopathic dance where we wink at each other knowing full well where we’re headed…needs to stop!
The Big Picture
For decades we’ve only been told pieces of the story. The magic of renewables and electric vehicles. How recycling is an important piece of the puzzle. How solar and wind power are now the cheapest forms of energy. The mainstream media and our politicians have become experts at zooming into one issue at a time without talking about the big picture and how it all fits together.
Extreme weather is a great example. We’re given daily snippets about the impacts of climate change and the spectacle of nature's wrath but the media never seems to zoom out and focus on the role that the system itself plays in the devastation. And this is no accident - the gatekeepers are aggressive in their protection of the status quo. Anytime someone talks about our broken system and raises alternatives that suggest that we can’t keep plundering the planet, they’re labelled a communist by some corporate sycophant media commentator, and intelligent communication quickly shuts down.
But I’m not beholden to the wishes of the gatekeepers so let’s connect the dots to reveal what happens to a system that prioritises what’s best for BIG Capital at the expense of everything else.
Connecting the Dots
Just as scientists predicted, droughts, forest fires, floods, hurricanes, prolonged heat waves, famines and forced relocation have all arrived. But for now, most people, at least in the global north, don’t really feel the physical pain. Only a narrow swath of humanity is in the direct line of nature’s wrath, and for the rest of us, it’s nothing that a little air conditioning can’t handle. But don’t get too comfortable - this is anything but a new normal.
As the structural failures of the system build upon themselves - the pain will worsen and punishing financial pain will be added into the equation - in fact, it’s already here. In this phase our food and water supply is the target. Crop failures become more frequent causing scarcity, widespread supply chain disruptions and acute food inflation. The middle class tries to fight for its survival. This is our current reality, regardless of where we live.
As people become more afraid for their futures, pro-fascist authoritarian leaders rise in prominence…The irony is that they preach freedom while aggressively taking it away.
The final stage when all types of pain become interconnected, is societal pain. This is when the structures that hold society together begin to crumble. Life becomes more difficult and dangerous and for many, hunger becomes a daily reality. As people become more afraid for their futures, pro-fascist authoritarian leaders rise in prominence by playing to their fears, targeting the weak and making promises of a return to better times. The irony is that they preach freedom while aggressively taking it away. Many countries are already flirting with this phase.
All of this is built into a toxic system from which there is no escape. The more that we engage, the more we feed the system and the more we contribute to what can best be described as self-inflicted pain. (see chart below) This is where “No Choice Consumption” leads. But it doesn’t have to be our future.
Image Credit: Brad Zarnett and Ian Kaplan
Global Strategic Interest
We know better than those disconnected farmers from our past. We have the ability to see past the propaganda that celebrates greed and environmental destruction as “progress”, in order to maintain the elite's lofty perch at the top of society. This isn’t democracy - it’s plutocracy! But there’s still time to take it back from the wealthy few and return it to the people. The first step is to remove the noise and recognize that our artificial human-made borders are just another way to keep us divided.
Governments regularly talk about their National Security Interests and on a stable planet where countries have competing needs, it can seem perfectly logical, but our ecological emergency turns this organizational dogma on its head. Of course National Security Interests still matter but only to a point. They can’t take priority over the security interests of the 8 billion of us who inhabit this planet. We the people have a Global Security Interest that trumps all others. We’re in a war to save our planet's life supporting ecosystems which is another way of saying; a war to save ourselves. Now is the time that we must start fighting for our lives. There won’t be a second chance.
Unified Healing Force
The ecological damage to the planet wasn’t caused by the actions of a single country, industry or company; it was a group effort, and thanks to “No Choice Consumption”, we all played a plundering role. But dwelling on the past won’t bring us any closer to a solution. If we have any chance of solving our collective challenge we will need to reverse our planet-wide plundering and become a unified healing force. That begins with a massive shift in policy at a global scale.
OK - so how do we change global policy? For starters - we need to think differently, and start asking better questions. Here’s a good starting point: How do we regain control over the levers of regulatory power? How do we wrestle it away from those who are protecting BIG capital at the expense of the people? How do we stop letting them divide us? How can we unite beyond our artificial borders? Ecosystem destruction doesn’t care what country we call home. We need to think of ourselves as being from one unified country on Planet Earth.
What happens in other countries matters to the rest of us. Sometimes a meaningful regulatory change by a larger economy can change policy around the world. And sometimes, when it’s a smaller democracy, it shows other leaders and voters that meaningful changes are possible and that the fear propaganda isn’t justified. Don’t discount our planet’s smaller democracies! They add up, give people hope, and can lead the change.
We’re talking about bringing the united voice of the planet, 8 billion strong, to bear down on whatever democracy is choosing their leader.
We know that elections in sovereign countries are beyond our control - or are they? We need to start seeing things differently, and thankfully we have excellent role models who can show us the way. Consider how China, Russia and the US respect foreign elections. These countries meddle beyond their borders whenever they choose and justify it as part of their strategic interests. Well, the time has come to take this lesson to heart. There are 8 billion inhabitants of this planet who are completely justified in working to change policies that jeopardize their personal and economic safety. And for those who say you can’t interfere in another countries' sovereign elections. That’s nonsense! We’re not suggesting anything illegal. We’re talking about bringing the united voice of the planet, 8 billion strong, to bear down on whatever democracy is choosing their leader. We want every politician to know that Climate Change is not a game to the people, and that their country's elections are now OUR elections.
A Geographically-Targeted (Roving) Political Movement
Politicians that respond will be empowered to take decisive steps that address the causes and consequences of climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. We will de-risk their ability to implement regulation without fear of public backlash. Imagine a geographically-targeted (roving) political movement that will descend upon every government in the global north that is up for re-election. Imagine a level of mass awareness never seen before that will empower politicians and regulators to take meaningful action.
This time we won't ask, but rather, we will push, indeed demand, that politicians take aggressive steps to achieve meaningful and timely climate action - regardless of political affiliation. We will break the bond between “big capital” and politics and realign the actions of politicians with the interests of the public and environment. We will compel politicians to act now, or face being replaced by someone who will.
This is our dream. No more divisions. Just unity, freedom, personal and economic security, clean air, water and healthy food for everyone?
The future is in our hands!
Visit www.climobilize.com and be part of the solution!
Brad Zarnett and Ian Kaplan
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