- Breakfast: Coffee, oatmeal with an apple or berries, malt-o-meal with peanut butter
- Lunch in the winter: Vegetable soup
- Lunch in the summer: Enchiladas or hummus and pita
- Dinner or snacks in late afternoon: Malt-o-meal with peanut butter, popcorn, pumpkin-butter oatmeal balls, pumpkin-butter on toast, pumpkin-butter on graham crackers (yes, I like pumpkin butter), oatmeal with an apple or berries.
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.
So, it's 2022 and the US continues its utter and complete failure to meaningfully deal with the climate crisis. At all levels. The government is failing at so many things, most importantly, the climate crisis. But we, the people, we are also failing because we insist on living high-carbon lives. We refuse to walk or bike away from cars, trucks, and SUVS. We insist the highest level of comfort in our homes, cooled to 72 in the summer, heated to 76 in the winter. We must have the latest, best and most consumer goods. We deserve that flight across country for a vacation.
In short, we behave badly and wait for a broken government to force us to behave in the way we must. I've heard the argument that only government can fix the problem with mass, large scale programs. I get that such programs can and do help and are needed. But we as individuals make choices everyday and if 332 million US citizens insist on making selfish choices it adds up to a lot of carbon in the atmosphere. Everyday we insist on the maximum comfort and convenience we can afford.
I've written before about the steps I take in my daily life to try to adapt, to explore and express and act on my concern in the way that I can. I'll continue to do this because I think it's the most important aspect of life in 2022. A few weeks back I wrote about cutting plastic out of my life as much as possible.
Another adaption I've made is food choice. I've been vegetarian for 28 of the past 30 years. I do sometimes eat fish out of a nearby lake. For a brief period I also ate locally raised pork and beef as well as venison from deer hunted locally. With the exception of fish a couple times a year I've cut all of the rest back out of my diet and have gone to a nearly vegan diet. The only exception is ice cream and on rare occasions, cheese. My diet is fairly healthy but is very simple and cheap. Don't let anyone tell you a healthy diet is expensive. Anyone could do this diet or a variation and save money, and reduce carbon. This is the diet I'm personally happy with.
Most days it's this:
Drinks: water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate
The above diet is packaged in paper, cardboard or steel cans with limited to no plastic so, recyclable or compostable. It's a healthy diet with lots of fiber, adequate protein, not too much sugar, and a good balance of vitamins.
My shopping list, all available at any standard grocery store:
Breakfast: Oatmeal purchased in large paperboard box tubes (Much cheaper than boxes with serving size envelops of that also usually have lots of extra sugar), apples, cinnamon (purchased in bulk), brown sugar, soy milk (paper carton), coffee
Lunch, enchiladas: Refried beans in a steel can, enchilada sauce in a steel can, corn tortillas in a plastic bag, nutritional yeast ordered in bulk, plastic bag.
Lunch, soup: Crushed tomatoes in a steel can, beans from steel can, frozen mixed vegetables from a plastic bag, pasta from a paperboard box, spices, salt, nutritional yeast.
Snacks or dinner:
Plain popcorn kernels sold in plastic bag, vegetable oil in spray can (quick spray onto popcorn after popping to help flavoring spice to stick), nutritional yeast, garlic, salt.
Pumkin butter: Easy to make using canned pumpkin (1/4 cup), peanut butter (2 tablespoons), cinnamon, brown sugar (2 teaspoons) and salt. I mix that up and put it on toast or graham crackers)
Pumpkin butter oatmeal balls: 1 cup of oatmeal. I blend half of it into flour then mix it up with the above serving of pumpkin butter and roll it into balls. No baking needed and ready in minutes.
Any peanut butter will work in the above. I used to buy whatever "natural" variety available at the store that was cheapest and in glass. Lately I've been buying big bags of peanuts and I blend them into peanut butter. Takes more time but it's cheaper and I'm reusing all the glass jars I saved from buying the store bought peanut butter. And really, the peanut butter I make is better. I'll do a separate post on a few tips when making peanut butter.
Tea is herbal from a box or mint that I've grown. Hot chocolate is straight baking cocoa in a paperboard container… just add sugar and soy milk.
With a fairly standardized diet I generally shop just once every 5 weeks. I tend to buy most of the same stuff and know what I need for that period of time. Of course it's just me, with a family this would be more complicated. But primary, underlying point is the same. A healthy vegetarian or vegan diet restricted to recyclable or compostable packaging is possible and cheaper.
Want to add in some junk food? Go for it but if you buy ice cream get it in a paperboard container. Cake and brownies can be baked from a mix that comes in paperboard boxes. If you must buy fruit juice (not all that healthy given the concentration of sugar) buy it in frozen concentrate in paper and dilute it a bit with extra water.
When I shop I have a few rules that I refuse to break. It limits my diet and I don't get to eat things I like. For example, no yogurt because it only comes in plastic containers. I buy coffee in the vacuum sealed bricks packaged in a kind of plastic/aluminum. It's not something I can recycle but it's less waste than the other options. There's only two options for coffee in this brick packaging… luckily, it's good strong espresso and that works. Happily, it's cheaper too.
The point is that my options are more limited and I don't cry about it. We have to stop acting as though we are entitled to anything we can afford. We have to limit ourselves even if that means doing without things we like. The whole point of adapting to this climate emergency is that we will have to do without certain options and luxuries but we should be thankful if we are privileged enough that we can afford the things we need.
Oh, last, eating out at restaurant/take out: I almost never do. Probably once a month or less, just when family are visiting and it's a group thing.
So, that's my basic approach to grocery shopping for a climate-adapted diet. There are other details I didn't cover that might be a consideration but for now I think that's a start.
From climate collapse to the continuous move of the U.S. further and further to the right, we seem to be living in very dark times. With the recent recent decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe and hints of more to come in the fall, not to mention the elections, it's all a bit much. These are the things that dominate my daily thoughts and, like the gravity of the Earth, I don't seem to be able to escape them. To be honest, I don't exactly want to escape because to do so would seem wrong. This is our reality and I don't want to escape or deny it. It's true that at the moment I feel powerless to affect much change but the solution isn't to ignore it or to pretend things are okay.
The result is that any happiness I feel is fleeting and strongly tinged in guilt. Visiting with family or friends is increasingly difficult because all I can think to talk about is climate collapse or one of our other current crises. And not only that, I find it difficult to listen to others share anything from "normal" life. I just don't want to hear it because, again, it feels wrong to be talking about anything other than the crisis.
My life for many years has tended to be one of solitude as I live in a tiny house in the woods. It's easy for me to be secluded, on my own. Perhaps that has contributed to how and what I think about. I hold myself apart because I don't know how to participate in "normal" life and don't want to because in my view, normal is destructive. And, something that frightens me almost as much as the destruction is the fact that so many people either don't see it or actively seem to ignore it and carry on with a shrug of the shoulders. I think of the humans of the future looking back at our time. They will shake their heads and ask: What were they thinking? How could they let this happen?
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.
UN General Secretary, António Guterres:
He said: “We seem trapped in a world where fossil fuel producers and financiers have humanity by the throat. For decades, the fossil fuel industry has invested heavily in pseudoscience and public relations—with a false narrative to minimize their responsibility for climate change and undermine ambitious climate policies.”
The human world is done as we know it. But we have delayed too long and by we I mean the U.S. which has led the world down the wrong path, blocking progress to the needed changes for decades.
Speaking to the Major Economies Forum, a climate conference organized by the White House, Guterres also castigated governments that are failing to rein in fossil fuels, and in many cases seeking increased production of gas, oil, and even coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. He said: “Nothing could be more clear or present than the danger of fossil fuel expansion. Even in the short-term, fossil fuels don’t make political or economic sense.” US president, Joe Biden, is traveling to Saudi Arabia to push for more oil production, some EU countries are seeking to source gas from Africa and developing countries around the world, and the UK is licensing new gas fields in the North Sea.
That right there.
Guterres is understood to be furious that, six months after the Cop26 climate summit, and after three dire reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the “starkest warning yet” from climate scientists—countries and businesses are ignoring the science and squandering opportunities to put the world on a greener path, when renewable energy is cheaper and safer than fossil fuels.
Source: The Guardian
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."
Originally published to Mastodon.
In regards to dealing with climate collapse I mentioned in my post yesterday that while I understand the need for large systemic changes brought about by government programs and regulations, I also believe that broad-scale adoption of individual behavior change is also important. So, a thread on why the solutions to climate collapse are not either/or systemic policies/individual actions. All of the above is required.
In the United States where I live it’s fairly common (in my experience) for people to believe that government here is a mix of corrupt, ineffective, or perhaps effective at supporting those with the most money and lobby power (corrupt). There’s been an erosion of support that the legislators create laws that deal with problems. That the electoral system is too heavily influenced by donations poured in by special interests, etc. On climate collapse the US has dragged its feet for decades.
Election cycle after election cycle climate is either mostly ignored or, when candidates make promises they fail at making any progress. The dynamics are that while they are getting lots of funding from fossil fuel and auto industries, etc, they’re also afraid to disrupt a way of life that citizens have come to expect as a given and a right. At all levels, the system is locked into a way of life because of an insistence on a way of life and a rejection to any disruption to that way of life.
The dynamics reinforce the bad behavior and change either does not happen or is happening far too slowly to deal with the severity of the problems. The citizens, even those that claim to accept that climate collapse is a real problem that needs solutions, are perceived to want those solutions to come in the form of convenient fixes that won’t disrupt lives based on incredibly cheap energy sources. They go about their daily lives pretending that there’s nothing they can do. Not in their hands.
Compare this to Covid. Of course a portion of the population resisted mask wearing, social distancing, etc. But the people who support the scientific viewpoint, largely liberal folks, for the most part went with taking direct action in their daily lives. They perceived the threat to be immediate and real, a danger that absolutely required individual action. It was believed that this individual direct action would have the desired impact if everyone did their part. It became collective action.
In general, this is the same population that agrees that climate change is a problem. But, it’s still common practice to refer to it as climate change. The media still deals with it as a long term problem that can be put off. It is not a near term threat the way that Covid was/is. It’s not put in people’s faces in the same way. And so we kick the responsibility down the road, we kick it to a system that we also claim doesn’t usually work well and wait for easy solutions.
I think the truthful evaluation is that in general people do recognize the power of direct, collective action when it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately climate collapse has, for decades, been presented as a far off problem that future generations would have to deal with. Slow moving climate change rather than fast moving and present climate collapse. In my circle, most especially my family, it’s barely a blip even though I’ve been very outspoken. I’m just perceived as being too worried.
As time goes on though I think there is growing awareness that climate change is collapse, that the problem is more immediate than we’ve been admitting. People are less able to ignore that the world around them is, literally, burning down, drying out, flooding, or otherwise being disrupted and that the moderated weather of the past is being replaced by extremes that are increasingly real threats to normalcy and safety.
Eventually, gradually, the media, perhaps, will present the problem as the collapse it is. But I think it’s also on us to begin to raise the issue in as many possible ways that we can. Via our keyboards, our voices, our actions. Certainly wide scale systemic changes are needed and would accelerate the rate of adoption of solutions. Be it increased funding for solar, wind, cycling infrastructure, rail transport, etc. All of it including restrictions such as nonessential commercial flight.
But, why wait? I’d propose that we can and should raise the awareness of the threat level to where it actually should be in our daily lives. And along with it work at providing examples to how we can individually act as a collective, just as we did to confront covid, to begin making the changes our governments fail to make. We change our behaviors without being forced by legislation. We talk about what the solutions are and we put them into place ourselves.
The most obvious, immediate and beneficial examples that we can do with what we all have right now, no fancy new energy infrastructure needed, is to just stop. To slow down. The eventual solution is going to require some of this whether we like it or not. Covid gave us a glimpse of some of this. Some of won’t be popular. But that’s too bad. This isn’t a problem we can just sneak past with magic tech. Technology will be a part of our solution, but restraint and “doing without” is called for.
So, let’s get to the list. It’s all to do with greatly reducing our use of fossil fuels of course and it’s what we can all do immediately. I’m going to use myself as the example because I’m as extreme as I can be because given the latest IPCC reports call for it. And of course, I realize we all live different lives in different places. But again, we are talking about changing how we live here. Some things will be short term, others long term, but real drastic change is required.
I’m lucky and privileged to work from home. I do have a car but I only use it once or twice a month. My goal is to only use it once a month to purchase groceries. I buy it all in one go. If I need something or forget something in between I do without. I live in a rural area, 6 miles from the nearest store so I could also ride my bike and might occasionally do that for small items. But generally I just do without. My goal here is to minimize my reliance on oil/gas based transport.
From 1993 to 2005 I lived in Memphis, TN and during that time I walked and rode my bike for most of my in-city transport. I owned or shared a car with others during that time but the general rule was to only use it for traveling to other cities/regions. My bikes had racks and I always had a backpack for transporting stuff such as groceries, etc. If I needed to move big stuff then I’d resort to a car. But the car was my last resort.
The US is built around car-based transport. It’s usually difficult and dangerous to walk or cycle. But sometimes it’s more doable than we realize but it requires more effort. Everyone has to sort this for themselves but the car needs to become our last resort. While I’m able to ride a bike now for years I could not due to a knee injury. We now have e-bikes that can fill that gap for many people that might not be able to ride a standard bike. E-bikes are amazingly efficient and capable.
Flying should generally be restricted. Some countries already have great rail systems. The US needs this. It’s not been a priority. It needs to be. This is a case of doing without. As far as I’m aware, this isn’t something we can really skip. Flight should be restricted for essential travel only. I’ve taken 2 flights in my life and have no expectation of flying ever again. Somehow I manage to still live. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the idea of leisure/vacations that require flight.
Heating and cooling homes. The most immediate solutions here are to insulate, insulate, insulate. This is something that can happen right away if it’s made a priority. The next is to change your thermostat. In the winter I keep my heat range between 59 to 62F. Sometimes a little lower, rarely warmer. In the summer I’m usually in the range of 77 to 80. If I could go higher I would but we have persistent high humidity which causes mold problems if I don’t keep a certain level of dryness.
I’m not an expert on heating and cooling but passive solar heating is one option, heat pumps are efficient at heating and cooling in some areas. These sorts of things will be site specific base on local climate. But regardless, in cold climates it’s easier and more efficient to heat a body than a big space so more layers of clothes, blankets, etc. Giving thought to how we prepare food. In the summer I focus on food that requires no or less baking/stove top prep to avoid heating my space.
In the short term of residential energy use, we can become more aware of our devices/appliances and how we use them. I wash clothes less often and hang them outside to dry. Warm water rather than hot water. More efficient lighting, fewer appliances in general, using devices and appliances longer and repairing rather than replacing when possible. All of this impact local energy use as well as larger scale energy/resource processing in manufacture of goods.
In general, eliminating “waste”. There should be no such thing as waste. In the transport of goods to stores, homes and then the use of those goods, there’s much we can do right now to cut the energy required and the waste that results. Because plastic recycling is not reliable I’ve cut my intake down to near zero. This means lots of restrictions when shopping. There’s a lot more to that and this is already a long thread so I’m going to stop. Will pickup with specifics soon.
The protesters have vowed to continue taking action until the government agrees on a ban on all new fossil fuel projects. On Monday afternoon, their 11th day of action, several were entering their 31st hour chained to pipework at Inter Terminal in Grays, Essex, the third largest terminal in the country.Governments still don’t seem to understand that climate crisis has gotten to the point that what is needed is an end to day-to-day business. They have refused to act for decades and are still dragging their feet. And so, any solution will increasingly need to be direct and forceful.
“We’re doing this because our government is refusing to act on the climate crisis and we need to have a meaningful statement that we will have no new fossil fuel projects, it’s that simple,” said an activist, who gave his name as Nathan, in a video filmed from above the loading bay at the terminal and published on Twitter.
Responding to the protests on Monday, a No 10 spokeswoman said: “We recognise the strength of feeling and the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we won’t tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business.”
Several weeks ago I shared the below video on a family thread and one of the comments I received was:
Takes an extreme mindset to live this type of “one with nature lifestyle”.
Watching the video I’d had the opposite reaction. My reaction was that it felt natural, healthy, fun, beautiful. I mulled over that response, “that it requires an extreme mindset” and I suppose that for many that live and grow up in “Western/developed” nations would agree. Those living in this moment expect comfort in the form of modern convenience.
But, just to flip it… thinking about humans on earth… Based on an estimated homo sapiens origin of 300,000 years ago, we lived on Earth for 299,500 of those years in ways much like we see in the video. And it’s not really been until the last 100 years that many people (in western nations) moved out of agriculture and into cities. In a blink of an eye, we’ve come to view the natural way that humans lived on the planet for 99% of our existence as extreme.
What we have to day has only existed as normal for a very short period of time and won’t likely persist for more than another 50 years. And I see no evidence that it should. It’s a life out of balance with not just the planet but even with other humans who have had access to far less during this short, destructive experiment that began with the industrial revolution.
The global conversation about climate change has revolved largely around a single, misguided idea: that we can replace carbon-intensive technologies with cleaner ones and reach the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions without fundamentally altering our economy. In other words, that we can achieve, and indefinitely maintain, green growth.
But a competing narrative argues that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible, and that even supposedly green technologies will perpetuate the extraction of natural resources and the destruction of the natural environment. Even if these technologies help us mitigate climate change to an extent, they might backfire, for example, by disrupting biodiversity. In this narrative, the underlying problem lies not in the so-called cleanliness of our technologies but in our compulsion to keep growing our economies.
Proponents of this second view argue that to preserve the planet, we must reduce our consumption of resources, a strategy that has come to be known as degrowth. This approach calls for us to shrink parts of our economy, and to move away from measures such as gross domestic product as indicators of economic health.
Ultimately, degrowth is inevitable. We will either choose this path voluntarily, or we will be forced into it violently and uncontrollably as a result of environmental disasters. If we want to prevent the suffering and tragedies that accompany such drastic shifts, we must bring about a culture of degrowth. And where the cultural winds blow, the political winds will follow.
I’ve never come across the term degrowth but it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking.
Apple announced its Power for Impact initiative in 2019, designed to provide communities with renewable energy while promoting economic and social growth. One of the 10 new Power for Impact projects involves working with the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority in the United States to collaboratively develop renewable energy resources for the wholesale market, with the objective of creating a large-scale wind power development in the Midwest. Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
Every company should be a part of the fight against climate change, and together with our suppliers and local communities, we're demonstrating all of the opportunity and equity green innovation can bring. We're acting with urgency, and we're acting together. But time is not a renewable resource, and we must act quickly to invest in a greener and more equitable future.
Other projects in South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Colombia, and Israel seek to provide renewable energy to healthcare and educational institutions, as well as surrounding households, using rooftop solar installations. Apple believes that this will create a source of local revenue and lower energy costs, freeing up funds for educational scholarships, equipment, and medication.
I've been a happy Apple user since 1993ish with a my first Mac, a Color Classic II. I'm really happy that they are not just setting a good example on climate change but that they are setting the best example. And they should given that their success. But many do not attempt even half of what they have. They're thorough and are leaving nothing un-examined in their engagement with the problem of resource use and climate change.
At the core capitalism is about profit, continual growth and resource use beyond all bounds. I applaud Apple in the effort they are making and hope others follow but it's not something I expect to happen as it goes against the logic of capitalism as a system. That said, they are proving that it is possible.
As of September 2nd we one coast of the US is flooding while the other coast is burning and has been for weeks. Just early days in what will be a long, long climate crisis. We’ve failed to stop it and we’ll do a poor job of adapting to it.
We all admit that our government is corrupt, broken, and generally dysfunctional but as individuals we also are broken and dysfunctional. Looking around during covid we see how irrational people can be. This is how I’ve felt for the past 10+ years, looking around as the climate crisis has become increasingly clear, I see most of the people around me behaving in the same irrational, ludicrous manner. In denial and angry at the notion that they should have to change their lives. They see the irrational behavior today in regards to covid and so many in the US but they don’t really see themselves in the same light in regards to the climate crisis.
I know that we are doomed. All evidence points to that. There is just no way that this huge, broken ship can turn itself around fast enough and I’m trying to accep
Many of these links found via Charles Arthur’s excellent Overspill website.
We’ll start with one of the Sydney Morning Herald story on Australia and Chevron’s attempt to sequester 80% of the carbon dioxide in the production process of Western Australian gas wells over 5 years.. They failed and fell far short of the goal, capturing only around 50% of the production emissions. In his summation Arthur writes:
“It’s often overlooked that to slow or, better, reverse global heating we need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If we can’t even capture more than half of what’s produced in extracting more fossil fuels (which will then be burnt), then we’re wishing for miracles.“
It’s not surprising that this effort was a failure. I suspect that that is the rule rather than the exception.
Which brings me to another article on what it is we need to do with the CO2 that we’ve already put into the atmosphere. Grist asks: What happens next?
We talk so much about the supreme challenge of reducing emissions — something that already requires transitioning our entire economy away from the burning of fossil fuels, adapting to existing climate threats, and doing all that in a way that at the very least doesn’t add to the burdens of already marginalized communities. It’s hard to imagine that there’s more still to do. Can it really be that, on top of all those tasks, we have to pull carbon out of the atmosphere too? Well, yes. It’s not like we can just flip a switch in order to return to preindustrial CO2 levels. Zachary Byrum, a research analyst in carbon removal at the World Resources Institute, likes to compare our atmosphere to a rapidly filling bathtub. “Even if we turn the tap off, we still have a bathtub of CO2 that is full up to the top,” he said. “It might evaporate, but that would take a very long time. You have to make a drain so that the water, or CO2 in this metaphor, can go somewhere, and carbon removal is the means to do that.”
“For a month already you can’t see anything through the smoke,” said Varvara, a 63-year-old pensioner from Teryut, a village in the Oymyakonsky district. “We have already sent the small children away. And the fires are very close, just 2km [1.2 miles] from our village.”
Climate extremes expert Vikki Thompson at the University of Bristol said: “Heatwaves can have devastating impacts on human health. In the summer of 2020 heatwaves led to an estimated total excess mortality of 2,556. Hot weather causes deaths due to cardio and respiratory problems caused by increased strain on the heart and lungs.
Just a reminder that there was a far more devastating European heat wave in 2003. The death toll for that heat wave exceeded 70,000.
Of course it’s not just humans that are affected by climate change. Every other species we share the planet with is being affected. One example, the Monarch butterfy, whose populations are being decimated by climate change. Western monarchs have lost 99.9 percent of their numbers since the 1980s.
The Guardian has a collection 50 photos of the climate crisis taken over the last 6 months.
Last, and perhaps one of the most worrisome articles I’ve seen recently is this from the Guardian: Warning signs of the Gulf Stream collapse:
Climate scientists have detected warning signs of the collapse of the Gulf Stream, one of the planet’s main potential tipping points.
The research found “an almost complete loss of stability over the last century” of the currents that researchers call the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The currents are already at their slowest point in at least 1,600 years, but the new analysis shows they may be nearing a shutdown.
Such an event would have catastrophic consequences around the world, severely disrupting the rains that billions of people depend on for food in India, South America and West Africa; increasing storms and lowering temperatures in Europe; and pushing up the sea level off eastern North America. It would also further endanger the Amazon rainforest and Antarctic ice sheets.
Just a regular reminder that it’s 2021 and virtually no progress is being made to stop the climate crisis.
And when they’re not in the heat working they are living in homes without usable water because what is there has been poisoned due to drought and the chemicals used to grow the food.
And, because that’s not bad enough, they’re only paid $15/hr. On days that they can work normal hours that might barely be enough to support a family but many days the extreme heat means they are only allowed to work 5 or 6 hours. It’s not a surprise that farm workers die of heat at roughly 20 times the national rate.
Of course this is just one aspect of how climate changes is affecting just a portion of the state. There’s also the pesky little problem of wild fires which I’m not going to try to discuss here.
Remember, the heat and drought are only getting worse. I suspect that there will come a time in the not too distant future that this will all finally have an impact on the food that is available to the rest of the country. Then maybe more people will care.
Humanity is struggling to contain two compounding crises: skyrocketing global temperatures and plummeting biodiversity. But people tend to tackle each problem on its own, for instance by deploying green energies and carbon-eating machines while roping off ecosystems to preserve them. But in a new report, 50 scientists from around the world argue that treating each crisis in isolation means missing out on two-fer solutions that resolve both. Humanity can't solve one without also solving the other.
The report is the product of a four-day virtual workshop attended by researchers of all stripes and is a collaboration between the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In light of the Paris Agreement, it’s meant to provide guidance on how campaigns that address biodiversity might also address climate change, and vice versa.
Seems like this is obvious.
It seems that once a year I end up writing a post about climate change and personal responsibility. It’s a repeating thread based on a long running frustration that I have with this notion that we humans are somehow incapable of affecting change.
We act as though the government that we all consider broke, the government that has, thus far, refused to address the problem of our time in any meaningful way, is suddenly going to fix it. It doesn’t and so things get worse. Year after year the climate reports keep coming and they always report that the situation is more dire than previously thought. Our response is to throw our hands up in the air. We gnash our teeth and rend our garments in despair (some anyway) but we keep on keeping on. We keep driving. Keep buying. Keep heating and cooling to our comfort. Keep flying. Keep doing everything and anything. As if we need the government to force us to behave better.
We say to ourselves that it’s really industry that is the problem as if global capitalism operates in a vacuum and for no reason. Somehow we conveniently forget that capitalism operates to feed our manufactured desires (and of course, for their profit).
In the absence of meaningful action for 20 years taken by government, industry or citizens, we now find ourselves here and now. And we still insist that we are powerless to make changes. I think we can and should do better.
So, here we are, February 2021. A new president, a Congress controlled by Democrats and we will see if any progress is made. It’s clear that Biden wants to push hard to not only undo the backward steps by the previous administration and go even further than Obama did. That’s great. But we can see that, as expected, there will be obstructions and the interests of energy producers, particularly those based on coal, will fight back. So, we can expect, as usual, a few steps forward but it won’t be enough. And when power swings back the other way progress will again stop and possibly push back the other way.
All that said, when I look around at the U.S. in 2021 I see a lot of confusion about basic truth and reality. In a world of delusion, when half the population seems guided by conspiracy theories, it’s increasingly difficult to have much hope in rational, science-based thinking and decision making be it in personal life or any level of government.