Nationwide raids against members of the German climate protest group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) have been carried out at the behest of authorities in Munich investigating charges that the group is a criminal organisation.
The group, akin to the UK’s Extinction Rebellion group, wants to draw attention to what it perceives as the government’s lack of urgent action over the climate emergency.
Climate activists are not criminals.
Governement collusion with global capitalism is the real crime.
Living as though the future mattered
I write this in 2023 when our climate emergency has become increasingly obvious to everyone. No longer is it just climate scientists and activists that are taking note. But we’re all aware now aren’t we? Those of us that agree with science and who are observing nature are living in a state of constant climate anxiety. Personally, I can say it’s on my mind all of the time as a sort of background dread.
It’s hard to be honest and also find hope as our current trajectory is very much in the wrong direction and there are no signs that our political, cultural or economic systems are prepared to move us in the opposite direction. Truthfully, we’ve given up before we ever really started. Most of us see that our political systems have failed and we have no hope that they’ll suddenly shift course. But we ourselves are a part of that problem. We accusingly point our fingers at politicians, corrupted political processes, corporations and then we throw up our hands proclaiming there’s nothing we can possibly do. We put on a show of being frustrated and angry but then we go along with the convenient way of life we’re used to. We let ourselves off the hook. We take no responsibility.
We are dooming not just ourselves but future humans. It’s deferred violence. Imagine stepping outside with an all powerful gun, aiming it up into the sky and sending a spray of bullets up into the sky. With this particular gun though we can be certain that every bullet will come down and every bullet will find a target. That’s our inaction. That’s our convenience. Our way of life is causing current and future destruction, misery and death.
And it’s long past the time that we stare into that deep, dark truth. It’s time we squarely face our role in it and stop making excuses about how we’re powerless. Our action has been to doom others. Children, grandchildren, other species-to not just suffering, but in some cases, to extinction.
We’ve already committed ourselves to 1.5 degrees of warming and all evidence is that we’ve likely committed to something much worse. The burning truth of our relatively near future will be human, ecological and planetary catastrophe.
All that said if 300 million US citizens lived as though the future actually mattered, if we would commit to real and yes, drastic changes to our lives, we could at least begin to turn the ship. We can begin the process of adapting and getting used to new realties. We, the people, must lead because waiting for the political process to fix THIS problem is folly.
I can see no higher purpose than to live as though the future mattered. To do otherwise, is to be complicit in the worst possible crimes. We can begin now. Our everyday choices can be choices based on restraint. We can do with far less and we can commit to being uncomfortable now, to begin to offset the worst case futures. We don’t do this alone. We encourage one another. We share resources. We talk and comfort one another. We can build a better world starting today by doing less, consuming less, driving less, flying less. Far, far, far less. Our goal and our commitment is to get to zero emissions. ZERO. Think about that. Really let it settle in. Reconcile with it. That is the necessity.
But even that isn’t enough. Frankly, those of us that live in the US, those of us that live in the “developed world”, we also owe the future, our fellow species and our neighboring humans in developing nations an apology and our humility. For all of our finger pointing at the rich, the politicians, the corporations, many millions of us have continued to insist on a convenient life as a right. And that’s a part of the crime we’ve committed.
Let’s take a step back from the brink. Pause in our lives and confront what we’ve done, what we’re doing.
Now let’s live as though our future matters.
Note about this post: Not surprisingly I recently shared a climate-related article and in the discussion that followed something I wrote resonated with folks. Patrick suggested I share in a stand alone blog post so, this is me doing that.
Stephen Fry on Extinction Rebellion and taking action on climate collapse:
Short, excellent animated video explaining the origin of fossil fuels and providing context for what it means in relation between carbon and climate collapse.
It’s early days in this new reality of climate collapse. For the most part the people I know still live in the old reality. Climate collapse isn’t something they care about. They’re beginning to see it as extremes become the new norm. More drought in some areas, more intense storms, wildfires, and changes in the local weather seem to remind them of the larger global patterns. They're not responding in any meaningful way. Life goes on in the normal way they are used to living.
But for some of us daily life in the early days of climate collapse feels like living with a blaring alarm sounding, in a house on that's on fire. It’s been that kind of alarm for me for more than 15 years. My response has been, in part, to try to live as though it mattered. To live as though my actions were just one person acting along with the larger collective also doing it's part. That person by person, community by community, people would learn and respond to the problem.
In 2022 it's obvious that our response is too little, too slow, too late. It's obvious that in the US, the leading emitter of CO2 to date, government has failed to push in the direction needed at the pace needed. There's little sign that this will change anytime soon. My suggestion is that rather than wait to be told, we begin collective action now. We should be the change we want to see.
What does that look like in daily life? It looks like a life lived with the assumption that fossil fuels are severely restricted, rationed. That material goods will also be severely restricted. It means reusing or doing without. It means thinking about not just reducing waste but eliminating waste. It means conserving energy and material resources as though every little bit matters. Fewer appliance replacements. More careful choices when we put things in our carts.
I'm planning to do a series of posts about what this means for me. And again, yes, yes, I agree, individual consumer choice is not the whole answer. Ideally we continue to pressure government for systemic change, larger change. But in the end, there is no magic wand here. Sure the government create large scale programs for solar and wind energy generation, mass conservation programs, a massive shift towards mass transit, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Rationing of air-based travel.
But individual action should not be undervalued. At the end of the day millions of people add up to billions of people and we're not powerless. We need to stop acting like we are powerless. We need to stop waiting to be saved. Individual and cooperative direct action: households adding up to communities and towns and regions etc. We need to make more of an effort to figure out the solutions ourselves.
In my nearby rural town the recycling program was closed because they were having difficulty selling/getting rid of the collected materials. In my case I have some storage space and live alone, so I'm still saving steel and glass in the hopes that one day I'll be able to recycle them. In the mean time, I also re-use glass and compost all paper and cardboard. I've nearly eliminated plastic from my waste stream. It means I have fewer choices and do without some things.
First up, let's talk about soap. Years ago I stopped buying shampoo in plastic bottles. I use Dr. Bronners for all personal hygiene. And recently started using it for dishes too. It works. It's not exactly the same as dish soap formulated in a liquid that is sold in a plastic bottle. But that's the point isn't it. We have to adapt. This one bar of soap does it all and the packaging is paper that I can compost in my garden. Multiply that by millions.
It's different, yes. It's not what many are used to. But it is a simple, quick change that anyone can make. I know that there are powder products being sold in paper pouches that are meant to be mixed with water in the home for different washing purposes. That's another great solution. Imagine stores without shelves upon shelves of plastic bottles holding liquid soaps. Plastic should be banned but until then we can choose to stop buying it. The result is less waste, less energy used, less CO2.
Next time around I think I'm going to delve a bit into food choices in terms of climate, energy, nutrition, packaging, preparation…
According to Yale Climate Connections over 1.7 billion city dwellers now face multiple days of dangerous heat each year.
“Our main finding, globally, is that urban extreme heat exposure increased 200% over a 34-year period,” says Cascade Tuholske of Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network.
Apparently there are numerous wildfires across Siberia. The new normal in the ongoing climate collapse.
Andrewism on YouTube: "Misanthropic, borderline ecofash narratives about humanity's relationship with nature have become way too common in discourse about climate change, highlighting the urgent and critical importance of a social ecological approach."