(2018) by Charles Eisenstein
Charles Eisenstein (@ceisenstein) tweeted at 2:16 PM on Mon, Mar 04, 2019:
A Critique of the Climate Narrative
the world is built from story
1 min – i’m a bit critical of the dominant narrative of climate change.. not from pov that science is wrong.. a deeper critique.. ie: carbon reductionism.. can gage planetary health by looking at single metric.. i know that in the environ movement there are people who have a much more sophisticated take on things ie: the planetary boundaries view.. but the dominant discourse is about greenhouse gas levels and rising temps..
that is a mindset and approach to a complex problem that rests comfortably in a culture that seeks to solve problems by finding a cause and then basically going to war against that cause..t
ie: say you’re overweight.. we’re comfortable w .. find the cause.. normally.. more calories in than out.. ok ..now i know what to do..
i know what to do now.. because i’ve reduced it to one cause.. find the thing and then we know what to do..t
3 min – that reductionism mindset i think is part of the problem..t it’s the origin of the environ crisis.. and all of our other crises.. so reductionism is one plank of the platform that we stand on.. one thread of the old story.. so transitioning into a holistic systems based living planet view .. i’m advocating we expand our convo/rhetoric/strategy to take into account that this is a living being.. not just some complicated machine.. and if we tinker w the air fuel mixture then everything will be ok
6 min – that whole paradigm.. whether it is an internal or externalized villain.. the mindset of war still has assumptions that i think we really need to question.. and i believe that the war on the internal villain is a reflection of the external war on nature.. it’s still that same problem-solving/reductionistic approach.. of find the bad guy.. whether it’s internal/external.. it says that the solution is to fight something.. leads to hopelessness.. because external villains are so powerful.. no way we’re going to defeat them at their own game.. how are we going to defeat them in the battle of good vs evil.. the only chance for ‘victory’ is if they change sides.. so then the question becomes.. how do we create conditions for a change of heart
7 min – one of the conditions is to know that a change of heart is possible.. and to see the opponent as actually deep down wanting the same thing we want
problem deep enough for 7bn people to resonate w today
8 min – same thing with the personal.. see the part of you that wants to change.. pay attention to that.. then we can get somewhere
it’s uncomfortable to step into that place.. because it’s stepping in from – knowing (thinking you know) what to do .. and admitting you don’t know what to do..
i call that the space between stories.. and it’s a necessary space.. the space where i have no idea what to do about this problem.. it’s so big/complex.. and my
customary ways of affecting change in the world aren’t working.. and our culture needs to wake up to that.. the customary ways that we are trying to make a better world.. are part of the problem.. every improvement.. every little bit of progress.. making things just a little bit worse..t
i will id fundamental problem in what i’ll call the standard narrative of climate change, and show how the framing of the problem is part of the problem..
it is not wrong ideas that drive addiction. addiction arises in the presence of basic unmet needs.. the food addict isn’t really hungry for food: she is hungry for connections.. the alcoholic is seeking just to feel ok for awhile.. the gambler yearns for liberation form economic or psych confinement. the porn addicts’ true desire is for intimacy and acceptance… these (admittedly, trivialized) ie’s at least convey a general principle: desire comes from unmet needs..
yeah.. and we can go deeper .. to just 2 that every human has.. focus our energies on just those two.. will wake us up so that we together can take care of everything
this book will argue that rational reasons are not enough; that the ecological crisis is asking for a revolution of love
if that is to change, then one of the addictions- more fundamental than the addiction to fossil fuels, that we are going to have to give up is the addiction to fighting. then we can examine the ground conditions that produce an endless supply of enemies to fight..
like war thinking and money thinking, the problem w carbon reductionism is that it reduces ‘everything matters’ to ‘one thing matters’..
carbon reductionism sits comfortably w/in a broader scientific reductionism. the indictment of science as reductionistic is often misunderstood to refer to its quest to explain the behavior of wholes by the properties of their parts.
this quest, though rests on a more insidious and more fundamental reductionism: that of the world into number.. its conceit is that someday, when everything has been ordered, classified, and measured, we will have penetrated every mystery and the world will finally be ours..t
the totalizing quest to capture the world in number never succeeds.. something always escapes the metric and the models: the unmeasurable the qualitative, and what seems irrelevant.. usually, the judgment as to what is relevant encodes the intellectual biases of those doing the measuring, and often the economic and political biases too..
by focusing on a measurable quantity, we devalue that which we cannot measure or chose not to measure.
usually, making decisions ‘by the numbers’ means making them according to financial considerations. is it really a very deep change to take the same methods and mentality and apply them instead to some other number?
yikes.. are you saying we should have a number?
herein lies a link between economic justice, social justice and the environment… we will continue to abuse our fellow beings, even our own mother earth, as long as we carry unhealed social traumas
this does not mean ‘heal our traumas first before we try to heal the environ’.. it is to recognize that social healing and ecological healing are the same work..
you may have noticed this narcotic effect, the quick escape into ‘let’s do something about it’..
am i saying never to take direct action because after all, the systemic roots are unfathomably deep? no. where the unknowing, perplexity and grief take us is to a place where we can act on multiple levels simultaneously because we se each dimension of cause w/in a bigger picture and we don’t jump to easy, false solutions
too often blaming climate change means not doing anything at all.. like most binary distinctions, that between symptom and cause breaks down under close scrutiny..
people tend to conceptualize problems in such a way as to validate the tools that are familiar and available to them..t
our society’s most potent and familiar tool is the quantitative methods of science..t
huge.. our tool of choice.. science/numbers/facts.. non legit/living
contrary to the presupposition implied in my aforementioned google search results, the health of the global depends on the health of the local. the most important global policies would be those that create conditions where we can restore and protect millions of local ecosystems..t
however if everyone focused their life, care, and commitment on protecting and regenerating their local places, while respecting the local places of others, then a side effect would be the resolution of the climate crisis..
let’s do this first: free art-ists
free us up to love
the problem with the climate debate then, is primarily one of misplaced emphasis. whether average global temps are increasing is not the main issue. we are engaged in the wrong debate.. climate derangement will continue even if we stop emitting carbon, and it will bring calamity even if average temps remain constant. that is because earth is a living body, not a machine, and we have been destroying its tissues and organs
if you are a climate alarmist, i applaud your alarm and ask you to shift its focus. alarm needn’t depend on whether human survival is threatened.. to me.. humanity persisting on dead planet more alarming than future w/o humanity
is is the same for the human body. if you understand it as a coherent, intelligent living system, then you do not need physiological reasons to convince you that yes, you do need your lungs/liver/appendix/tonsils.. it is only in a mechanistic view that we would imagine that some organs are useless and could be cut out w/o repercussions for the whole. finally today more enlightened drs are realizing this and overturning 70 yrs of medical fads like the routine removal of appendixes, tonsils, and wisdom teeth. isn’t it time we do the same for the gaian body?
it will not come thru minimizing our impact; it will come thru changing the nature of our impact. it will come thru a diff kind of participation in nature, one where humanity returns to being an extension of, and not an exception to ecology
in other words, the land is dying before our eyes, as it has been doing since ancient times. we have to stop killing it. this is bigger than cutting greenhouse gas emissions. it is reversing a relationship to soil and sea that has been part of civilization for 1000s of years. i am sorry , but merely switching to so-called renewable energy sources is not enough. we are called to visit deep questions like: what are we here for..what is humanity’s right role on earth..what does the earth want..
perhaps.. if we trust us (the dance of an undisturbed ecosystem et al).. the deepest question each day ie: what are you curious about.. today.. let’s just facil that and see.. see if we can get back to us ie: cure ios city
we are life o. we are life, born into a certain form, w a unique array of gifts. like all life, our purpose is to serve life – to serve both what it is and what is might become. for never is life static. each unfoldment of complexity builds on the last.
if we don’t yet know the forests are sacred and precious, more numbers aren’t going to help
yeah.. they’re going to kill
as to people.. of math and men.. et al
a forest is a living being of inconceivable complexity. when we reduce it to a small set of generic relationships and numerical quantities.. we stet the stage for violence: their physical reduction by chainsaws and bulldozers follows their conceptual reduction into measurable quantities and services..
why is he policy conversation so focused on emissions .. here are a few reasons: easier to measure; rests well in mechanical view of planet (machine more than living organism)
what it lacks (climate change), besides a sufficiently broad culture of practice, is a unifying narrative..
the cult of quantity
in order to value what measurements and models leave out, we need another basis upon which to make our choices. it is the living planet paradigm, based on the story of interbeing that says that the health of all depends on the health of each
but the knowledge and the methods of the numbers guy are failing us, and another worldview is knocking at the door. i believe that ultimately, planetary healing will require engaging sources of knowledge and ways of knowing far beyond what we accept today..t
while quantitative arguments can never demo it, in our poetic hearts we know that the atmospheric climate somehow mirror the political climate, social climate and spiritual climate, and vice versa
as long as normal routines continue, most people will not be persuaded to take meaningful action..t
here is what i want everyone in the climate change movement to hear: people are not going to be frightened into caring. scientific prediction about what will happen 10, 20, 50 yrs in the future are not going to make them care, not enough. what we need is the level of energy and commitment that we saw at standing rock.. we need the breadth of activism we saw in flint, michigan, where everyone from yoga teachers to biker gangs joined in relentless protest against lead contamination. that require making it personal. and that requires facing he reality of loss. facing the reality of loss if called grief. there is no other way.
has to be deeper than grief..
obviously if i have to ask why i should care for my own child, there is already a problem. no matter how strong the incentives and deterrents used to enforce care, i won’t do as good a job as i would coming from love.. i will do just enough to avoid negative consequences.. i will do what it takes to satisfy the law and my neighbors.. i might meet his every quantifiable need, if i’m closely monitored enough.. i might even spend w him the required amount of ‘family time’.. but no list of quantifiable parenting standards can ever substitute for love.. you cannot pay/coerce/scare me into actually loving my child.. and if i don’t actually love him, he will not thrive..
can we please understand that this is the revolution: to love all beings for themselves and not for their use? when we open to that, it isn’t only our relationship to nature that will change. it also means the transformation of our econ system, which is founded precisely on the exploitation of human beings for profit; ie: for their use..
the revolution is love. it isn’t about more cleverly valuing and utilizing nature. it is about genuine respect for nature, which can come only by seeing it as a being in all fullness, and holding it sacred. where is the sacredness when we have reduced it to a finite value? we need a better reason to care for the world, a truer reason. we need to connect to a source of motivation that isn’t even reasonable..t
i suspect that even the most hardheaded environmentalist, who derides the earth-is-alive crowd most vociferously, harbors a secret longing for the very object of his contempt. deep down, he too believes the planet and everything on it is alive and sacred. he is afraid to touch that knowledge even as he longs for it
while money is insufficient to reflect the value of that which is beyond price, we do have another instrument of human agreement to apply here: law
? why do we have to reflect value?
next time you travel to another planet and see caged wild animals there going extinct, you will know that planet also warehouses its elderly in nursing homes. a world in which the last white rhinos are aging in zoos is also, necessarily, a world of incarceration , war, racism ,poverty, and ecocide. it is impossible for one to exist w/o the others. all are part of the same unholy matrix..t
because each of these contains the others, when we grieve one of them we grieve them all. it doesn’t matter if it is the rhinos or police brutality that pierces you. they are all expressions of the same underlying mythology: the story of a discrete and separate self in a desacralized world that is other…
i imagine myself talking to a rhino in a cage. she asks me, ‘what were you doing with your life, while i was going extinct’.. if i answer her ‘ i was working to save the coral reefs’ or ‘i was helping to stop the navy from using whale deafening sonar’ or ‘i spent me life trying to free men from death row’ then she is satisfied, and so am i .. we both know that, somehow, all of these endeavors are in service of the rhinos too. i can meet her gaze w/o shame
for there to be meaningful healing on this planet ‘impossibilities’ like more people growing food cannot remain impossible. we are indeed talking about a wholesale civilizational transformation..t
a model for a way forward might be found in russia. in 2003, russia promulgated the private garden plot act, which entitled every citizen to a tax-free private plot of several acres of land for gardening or recreation and accelerated the dacha and ecovillage movement. as of 2016, small plots provided nearly half of russia’s food.
psychiatric conditions in particular improve w interaction w nature, lending credence to the view that most of them are symptoms of ‘nature deficit disorder’.. conditions like adhd, depression, and anxiety often improve or disappear entirely when the individual interacts regularly and meaningfully w the natural world. the healing of individuals, society and the world go hand in hand
my first encounter w water retention landscapes was at the tamera ecovillage in s portugal, a decertifying region where stream that once flowed year round now flow only seasonally.. i asked.. how did you decide where to put the lakes?.. they replied that they closely observed the land for several years until they understood where the water wanted to be. this attitude exemplifies the intimate relationship w the natural world that must come prior to any system of methods or practices
all right, i admit it, that last sentence is a bit disingenuous.. (earth is actually not asking very much of us.. counter to ie: military spending et al) earth is asking a lot of us.. earth is demanding a transformation of our civilization’s fundamental priorities. earth is demanding that we see her as sacred/alive.. that we *reorder our civilization and all its institutions accordingly.. money, govt, law, tech,.. must change.. t.. that is why the ecological crisis is truly an initiation for humanity..
mufleh humanity law.. a nother way san money/govt/law
this suggests another possibility beyond man the destroyer – that we can learn from our mistakes, that we can mature in our gifts and turn them toward a diff purpose..
if so, then we have a lot to learn from indigenous people who sustainably tended and enriched the lands and waters they called home..
neither ‘trusting nature’ nor ‘restoring ecosystem’ offers a reliable recipe for action. the question is not whether to participate, but how.. absent a recipe, we are left w place specific, intimate observation and sincere inquiry informed by the understanding of the nonlinear, living nature of each ecological being.. that’s how we gain the wisdom to know how to participate in regenerating the health of the places and planet we inhabit..
all of the regenerative practices i’ve described in this chapter partake in a common sponsoring idea. earth is alive. what is alive, we can love.. what we love, we wish to serve..
at risk of drawing too neat an analogy, what most alt treatments have in common is a respect for the natural healing capacities of the human body, supporting and aligning w them rather than seeking to dominate and control them. they are not based on force. what miracles might be possible if we serve regen and wholeness of gaia.. what might be possible if we strengthen her organs, detoxify her tissues, unblock her fluids..
lost in debate is the question of whether such an outcome is desirable. more and more people in the west are now realizing it is not. many who achieve the american dream – a dwindling prospect – discover it to be the american nightmare. i live in a country where nearly one in five people takes psychiatric meds for depression and anxiety, where suicide and addiction are at historic levels, where a third of all children suffer abuse, where half of marriages end in divorce. these afflictions transcend race and class. neither privilege nor success is proof against them..t
rather than think about how to sustain an energy intensive social infra, we should think about transforming it altogether – and not for the reason of using less energy.. a shift in values toward the local the participatory, the embodied, the communal, toward wholeness and empathy, toward the restoration of ecological relationships, will necessarily reduce energy consumption as a side effect.. that is inevitable, when we no longer try to dominate and control the world thru force.
the reason to deurbanize, relocalize, downsize, re skill, return to the soil, and live in community needs not be to reduce energy consumption or cut greenhouse gas emissions.. these and other quantifiable benefits that result are barometers of health and not its essence.. the reason can be to restore the connections that make us happy, to come back into relationship
therefore, to choose from qualitative instead of quantitative values, we will need a radically diff econ system. we are not talking merely about personal choices here; we also need to change the conditions from which people choose..t
switching fuels will not alter the deep preconditions for human misery and ecological devastation on this earth.. so-called ‘green energy’ can even exacerbate ecological disintegration..t
tech is but its tool.
we could have abundance right now, w no new tech, if we rid ourselves of various systems of artificial scarcity, epitomized by the artificial scarcity of money..t
money less ness
globally the same basic truth holds: by far, enough food is wasted to feed every hungry person, ..t.. even w/o considering the vast tracts of rich land planted in biofuels, lawn grass, and animal feed.. population control is a false solution to hunger..
by far the biggest influences on brith rates are 1\ ed of women and 2\ mortalitiy rather
ugh – ed of women ness
as w energy, ‘how much’ is the wrong question..the right question is how to create the base conditions for health..t
here’s a little snapshot of how it plays out. according to matthew desmond’s piercing book evicted, 10s of millions of people in america today spend 50-80% of their income on rent.. living alway just one health crisis or car repair away from a downward spiral that starts w eviction and ends in total destitution..
econ growth means the growth in goods/services exchanged for money.
imagine the development expert goes there (tribal area in brazil) and says ‘what a tremendous market opp.. these backward people grow their own food – they could buy it instead.. they cook their own food too – restaurants and supermarket delis could do it for them much more efficiently. the air is full of song – they could buy entertainment instead. the children play w each other for free – they could enroll in day care. they accompany adults learning traditions skills – this society could pay for schooling..
in a nutshell, this is the process called ‘development’.. it is what development loans have funded for more than half a century.. it accompanies an ideology that says that money equates w well being.. t.. devel is good for well being.. that high tech is superior to life close to nature..
the word ‘development’ contains a value judgment that others are less advanced along an implicit scale of progress..t
when 10s of millions of indian farmers switched from biodiverse organic agri for local consumption to the chemical intensive.. water intensive monoculture production of crops for commodities markets, their contribution to measure gdp rose markedly. why? before commoditization, much of the food was eaten by the extended family that grew it and circulate thru the community thru non monetary systems of reciprocity..
we must understand though that this corp (monsanto) swims in the ideological waters of ‘modernization’ and believes itself to be rendering a great service to humanity.. .. we are helping backward peasants enter the modern age and feed the world’s hungry masses..
the story of modernization that monsanto inhabits depends on the invisibility of these things.. that same invisibility is what keeps natural human compassion from operating, as suffering hides behind the numbers..
to blame monsanto’s greed (or that of tis brethren like syngenta, dupont, dow , bayer, etc) is to misdiagnose the problem, or at best to attack the symptom rather than the conditions of the disease.. the conditions are the story and the system..
that means the conversion of social relationships into *services and natural wealth into products. .that is called development..t
economics assumes that more money equals more happiness; that the more goods we can buy, the more ‘good’ life is.. this logic is valid only to the extent that human needs and desires can be met by thing s that can be quantified bought and sold. we in the dominant culture have more of those things than ever before; meanwhile, much of what deeply nourishes the human being is artificially scarce. we have a scarcity of time,/ beauty/intimacy/connection.. thus deprived, we are always hungry for something, but no amount of money, possessions, status, cars, social media likes, or domestic floor are can meet these unfulfilled needs.. those are not really what we are hungry for..
what we call development has cut us off from real wealth. it has distanced us from place, from people, from other-than-human beings, replacing those relationships w standardized, mediated relationships.. in the course of development, we have gained much of what we measure. but what have we lost?
a friend runs a farm and retreat center in brazil. he needed more accommodations for visitors, so he hired some nearby indigenous people to build a new building.
using no measuring equipment, no metal fasteners, and no materials except what they procured from the land, in just 3 weeks these indigenous builders constructed a dwelling that could accommodate 40 people in hammocks. it is a marvel of intelligent design, cool in hot weather, warm in cold weather. smoke from the central fire pit rises quickly to be released thru the permeable roof, proofing it against insects; yet is is fully water proof. its utilitarian genius is matched by its aesthetic perfection: despite the lack of measuring equipment, its dimensions are in precise golden mean ratios; moreover, the building conveys a striking presence and aliveness.. my friend says when professional architects visit .. they sometimes weep in humiliation, so far beyond their capabilities it is..
in a truly advanced society, everyone would live in a building that beautiful..
beauty and sacredness and love tend to get lost in the numbers, which put a finite value on the infinite. in both econ and ecology, we need to shift to values that cannot easily be measured..
there is no law of physics that says we must create money the way we do. money is an expression of a social agreement about that is valuable and where to apply our collective will. we could choose to create money in a way that directly values and supports ecological and social healing..
or we could stop measuring things
environmentalists will always be fighting an uphill battle unless and until we change our financial system.. railing against corp greed misses the point. corp’s are only acting out a systemic imperative
generally speaking, we are all in the same boat as ecuador. we are made to feel guilty for our world destroying activities, even as we are lodged in a system that virtually compels us to participate in destroying activities
i might condemn myself for lamenting the procurement of conflict minerals from the central africa, using a computer that likely contain those very minerals. this is not about pursing personal purity. it is about understanding causes..
its main pillars were: negative interest money creation, ubi, internalization of ecological cost, econ relocalization, and animating all of these, the recovery of the spirit of the gift as the basis of human economy, creativity, and livelihood
socialism is usually defined as ‘public ownership for the means of production’ but what is ownership.. it is never an absolute subjugation of object to subject, as the story of separation would have us think. it always resets on a social arrangement.. the objects themselves, the land, the water, the minerals, the trees, do not themselves admit to being owned..
the rights of property are always socially circumscribed. ‘the question then is : as our understanding of that harms the other evolves, what is the appropriate social agreement about who can use what for what purpose?
today we know it is wrong to own a human being.. slavery is only thinkable if we dehumanize the slave. now it is starting to seem similarly wrong to own land. we can be tis steward, its caretaker, its partner, its ally, even is servant .. but its owner? how dare we?
the challenge is how to translate that understanding into our econ system..t
in the service of these measurable things, we are willing to sacrifice what is invisible or unimportant to our eyes: generations old social practices that allow traditional people to coexist w the land; the integrity of sacred sites; complex ecological dependencies that have not yet learned to see or measure..
of math and men ness
the organizing principle here is not to totalize econ logic. it is that people and nations should be able to make as much money form the alternatives to extraction (past a sustainable level) as they do form extraction itself
detaching financial incentives from the doctrine of value frees us to apply them flexibly on a case by case basis that fully recognizes their social context
who would drive the buses, wash the dishes, and clean the toilets?
why do we have these in the first place.. do we really need them..? ie: peepoople et al
what i see in the world is the opposite. it is that people have a compelling desire to contribute meaningfully to the well being of society and the planet, but the pressure to earn a living prevents them from doing so.. or they must struggle against econ pressure to do what the world most needs right now..t
in a sense then the criticism form the right is accurate. society as we know it would fall apart if we could no longer bribe and coerce people into performing degrading work. on the soul level, it can be just as degrading to work in high finance as to drive a shuttle bus – maybe even more degrading. in the context of ubi, corps and entrepreneurs would have a strong incentive to design fulfilling jobs, because they would no longer be able to count on desperate people willing to do practically anything
those who see the climate crisis as a portent of a wholesale transformation of our civilization would understand, then, the necessity of that change reaching to the level of money
beyond money.. sans money..
if money is the keystone of the arch of modern society, the foundation is surely science. when someone demand we be realistic, often they are referring either to money or to scientifically verifiable fact..t.. science provides our culture’s main map of reality..
non legit.. not us
science in our culture is more than a system of knowledge production or a method of inquiry. so deeply embedded it is in our understanding of what is real and how the world works, that we might call it the religion of our civilization. it isn’t a revolt against truth we are seeing; it is a crisis on our civilization’s primary religion..t
in fact, the scientific method, like most religious formulae for the attainment of truth, rest on a priori metaphysical assumptions that we must indeed accept on faith..
huge.. scientific method et al
starting from this implicit metaphysics, consider these other ways that science resembles religion. science has: procedure (sci method); rituals (experiments & techs); invisible universal spirits (energy.. forces); esoteric language understandable only by initiates; teachings on human nature; a creation story (big bang.. darwinian evolution); rituals for healing (meds); priesthood.. various degrees of piety; training; preachers; heroes; martyrs; mainstream sects and wacky cults; ..
the spiritual essence of the religion of science is the opposite of its institutional arrogance: the scientific method embodies a deep and beautiful humility. it says, ‘i do not know, so i shall ask’.. the true scientist is always open to being wrong, even at the cost of funding, prestige and self image
my call here is therefore not to discard science but to expand it, to include what it has ignored
i don’t want to be lumped in with the ignoramuses (step backward)
i raise them (the questions) nonetheless, because both the metaphysical assumptions of science and its institutional expression are part and parcel of the system that has laid waste to the world. science’s reduction of reality to number mirrors the conversion of nature to money. its universalization of matter into generic particles mirrors the standardization of people and commodities in the industrial economy. and the technology that comes form science facilitates both..
though it is evolving, science as we have known it (and still to a great degree) has trained us: to see the world as a bunch of insentient things; to make decision ‘rationally’.. based on utilitarian calculations; to see the observer as independent from the observed; to see nature as an object of manipulation and control; to ignore the immeasurable/qualitative; to think mechanistic rather than organic..t
when we say ‘trust the scientific consensus on climate change’ we are also implying: thrust social processes by which this consensus is formed; trust other things about which sci consensus is declared; trust the basic approach to knowledge that sci reps; .. trust assumptions that underpin sci; trust other institutions that draw their legitimacy from sci; trust power of sci techs to solve problems
in various ways, all of thee things we have trusted have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the ongoing devastation of the biosphere.. this presents the more radical environmentalist w a conundrum when invoking sci in the fight against climate change, because it requires a buy-in to the very same systems of intellectual authority that have long presided over and defended our ecocidal system
huge.. black sci of people law.. et al
we need to reach beyond the good little schoolboys/girls who trust sci and believe what the teacher tells them is important.. and we need to cleanse ourselves of the stink of self righteousness that comes when we hold in contempt those who don’t understand sci (or patronize them as recalcitrant rubes to be ‘educated’ in a dumbed-down version of it).. ‘science says’ is not going ot reach the farmers, hunters, ranchers an other people who (in the us) typically have conservative political id’s .. voted for trump.. are polarized into climate skeptic positions.. nor will it much impress working class people who feel quite understandably, that the establishment has betrayed them
many people have direct experiences that contradict what science and authority generally tell them is real and possible. a friend’s lifelong menstrual cramps disappear for good after a few acupuncture sessions, in spite of her extreme skepticism. a woman recovers form ‘incurable’ stage four pancreatic cancer. a man experiences direct communication w his ancestors in a iboga ceremony and ends his drug addiction. rival gangs meet in a restorative circle and come to peace.. experiences like these open people to further experiences.. when the ‘impossible’ happens we begin to question the bounds of the conventionally possible..
the astonishing results of regen agri are just a taste of what can happen when we think, ‘land, i know you want to heal/give. please tell me how to serve you.’
when that view changes, sci will morph into something we can hardly recognize. it will share the animating force of indigenous ways of communication w nature; it will be a sto\ep toward recovering our own indigeneity. that word must mean to be truly of a place, to be intimate w a place and all its beings. in the end, it does not matter if we enact the tech rituals of sci, or some other religion. what matters is that we return to love..
if we want to enact unreasonable commitment to the healing of the earth, we need to make our relationship w it into an affair of the heart
by documenting them (*other cultures), we incorporate them into our world, into a safe educational or entertainment or inspiration al frame, and into the debordian society of the spectacle.. fortunately, these films are not documentaries..
*could say too.. other people.. labels et al
stephen jenkinson (on why nature is dying at human hands.. because theirs is not a power of force vs force): .. and if the wild expires at our hands in decades to come, species by species, place by place, it does so as the wild does, not in soullessness, not in punition, but in silence..
(an indigenous elder woman on letting go of conflict) usually it’s the same story.. the police come in, all the blackfellas get arrested, lost of the whitefellas get arrested, and the project continues. but this time, because we let go of conflict and entered into art and ceremony, the ancestors of the land could come in and exercise their power..
heard a diff version from helena norberg hodge, who lived an hour from site..according to her, the victory cam e thanks to the ‘knitting ladies’ older women, white and aboriginal who as they quietly went about their knitting, kept peace in the encampments, refrained the fighting/drunkenness that broke out among the men and opened up backdoor communications channels w the police..
in the story of force vs force, the deeper sponsoring assumption is that if anything purposeful is to happen, we have to make it happen.. it has no room for the agency for other beings to engineer synchronicity..t
have you ever noticed in life that the most striking synchronicities seem to happen in times of uncertainty? when one moves to a new city w/o a plan; travels w/o an itinerary; does something out of the ordinary w no idea of what will happen… then quite often an amazing .. sometimes life changing.. meeting or stroke of luck or ‘chance’ encounters.. they rarely happen when everything is planned , predictable and controlled.
when we put everything we’ve got into the service of a vision, the world takes notice and reality shifts. our failure are our prayers. this is not to suggest we commit to an impossible cause, hoping that performing the rituals of protest will magically bring the impossible results we wish for .. it means doing the best we can based on the knowledge we have… knowing our sincere commitment will impact the world. no sincere action is ever in vain
yes, the measures i will summarize in this chapter still seem wildly impractical at the present writing; i present them anyway for 3 reasons: 1\ collective mind is ready to move from fringe of fringe to mere fringe.. 2\ many don’t require social consensus or institutional endorsement to be practice on smaller scale right now 3\ nothing less than these will suffice.. why bow to a ‘practicality’ so narrow that it is tantamount to any change at all?
here are some of policies/changes that are necessary over next couple decades (i am leaving out importan reforms like ending mass incarceration or implementing ubi that have only indirect (albeit powerful) long term ecological benefits): promote land regen ad major category of philanthropy.. 2\ global moratorium on logging/mining 3\expand protected wildlife.. 4\ new ocean reserves 5\ bans on driftnets and bottom crawling in oceans 6 \ban/phase-out plastic bags/containers 7\ reconstitute world bank to serve eco healing rather than development 8\ reforestation projects 9\ eco corps to address youth unemployment to restore trees/dams 10\ change building/sanitation/zoning codes 11\ protect beavers, wolves, cougars 12\ water restoration 13\ relocalize food system 14\ institute neg interest fin system 15\ pollution\ turn away from pesticides.. tax 16\ impose deposit system so manufacturer create durable, repairables..
dang.. these seem like causes.. seems we’re wasting energy focusing on them.. i thought that’s what you’ve been saying here..?
17\ turn away from pesticides: these chemicals permeate the environ.. insects are a crucial part of nearly all food chains, as well as being instrumental in the life cycles of plants.. countless symbiotic relationships between insects and fungi, bacteria, worms, plants, and vertebrates maintain the web of life.. pesticides harm these other beings directly too not only via their harm to insects..
18\ demilitarize society – the military mind puts defeat of an enemy first in. more tangibly, the military suck up prodigious amounts of energy, materials, money, and human talent. 10s of 1000s of the *best scientists and engineers devote their lives to developing weaponry. millions of healthy capable idealistic young people join the military .. and of course, the money squandered on weaponry is enough to fund probably all of the other proposal in this book
true on what a waste military ness is.. but thinking we have *best scientists.. is also cancerous
note i haven’t included a carbon tax.. the reasons: 3rd one: carbon taxes create perverse incentive for things like large hydroelectric facilities and biofuels plantations that destroy ecosystems..
hannah epperson (@hannah_epperson) tweeted at 6:25 AM – 10 Jul 2019 :
sharing grief is an essential part of being and feeling human. despair is the warp to joy’s weft, and is a powerful element in creating and strengthening community. this is a powerful piece about climate grief in the science world, and ought to be read.