This is what it’s going to take to save humanity

In the fall of 2014, I began spending all my available time working towards criminalizing the fossil fuel industry. This must be done so that the actual WORK can begin to reverse the damage done by burning carbon for the past 150 years. Ten months into this and I can honestly say I’ve seen a palpable and substantial shift in public perception and awareness about the climate crisis, which is literally, and in real time, occurring all around us. People tend to be lousy at “macro” views, but even we flawed humans can detect that something just isn’t right. This would be a good thing to begin to realize except that we are totally out of time. 

When I read, on a daily basis, the absolute nonsense in the mainstream media about an official climate plan, pact, proposal, understanding, or non-binding agreement, I fully comprehend that it is our elected officials, utterly and completely useless as they are, who are kicking the can down the road. The problem is that the road ends in sight. I can literally “see it.” This is why I get so angry, why I feel that we need to stop the endless polite banter, debating this or that little bit of minutiae. We are on borrowed time, people.

Imagine for a moment that you are on a speeding bullet train, racing around a twisting mountain and only you and a handful of people can actually see that there is NO TRACK AHEAD. How would you feel? Frantic? Desperate? Angry? All of the above? You SHOULD feel “all of the above,” because we humans, in this blink of an evolutionary “eye” are standing at the precipice of do or die  die. No kidding. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.

As an aside, I’ll tell you that I have endured (suffered through, to be honest) two days of the Heartland Institute’s prattling on and on about how climate change isn’t real. For the 10th year in a row, they’ve held their climate change denier meeting in Washington, D.C. and it was as horrible as ever. They say that climate change isn’t happening, it’s just a scam, blah blah blah. There were a few minutes that were, albeit fleetingly, a bit entertaining, but for the most part, those nitwits and crooks do not hold a candle to real climate scientists.

And much like astronomers can measure the mass of something by how much it perturbs something else, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has clearly hit a nerve with the fossil fuel industry. His calls for charges being brought against the fossil fuel industry and their allies under the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) have seriously rattled them. I love that. I had a case before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, requesting a criminal investigation against the fossil fuel industry. After half a year, they concluded that they could not take it to the next level. Sad face.

And I’ve been looking at the tobacco settlement ever since. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken it so much further. And the fossil fuel industry is clearly, discernibly and palpably scared by his way of thinking. But I digress. Back to what it’s going to take to save ourselves.

Any real scientist will tell you that we’re screwed. I know, because I’ve asked them. And if you think “de-Nile” is a river that only we non-scientists are riding along, you are wrong. That same little voice in your head that says, “Go ahead, look away, it’s too much to take in. What can you do anyway all by yourself?” is saying the same thing to them. In fact, it was probably saying that to them more than a decade ago. But here’s the thing: we CAN save ourselves. Or, at least, a large segment of “ourselves.” I can only hope that it doesn’t include the Koch brothers, Dick Cheney and a whole bunch of others that I’d gladly exclude from any of the saving, if I could.

And while no one will say what we should do, what possible, conceivable “plan” there might be, I have one. And it’s ugly. Really ugly. But the fact is that we have the “know-how.” We have the survival instinct. We have the technological capacity to not only completely mess up everything, but also to set ourselves on a path that may not guarantee extinction (which is, by the way, the rule for 99.99% of all species so far).

I happen to believe that the insane, happenstance, crazy luck that we’ve been fortunate enough to have had to get this far…to maybe (probably?) be the only “intelligent” creatures in this universe mandates that we not snuff ourselves out. As one of my favorite physicists, Max Tegmark has said, it would just be such a huge WASTE if no one was around to appreciate the beauty of the universe. But right now, in the blink of an evolutionary eye, we stand at the precipice of the end of our own line. We, the people, need to rise up and claw our way out of this mess.

Okay, what I’m going to outline is beyond unpleasant. I, for one, am not a vegetarian and I can’t even keep a weed alive, let alone a garden that I’d have to rely on for food, but the reality of our situation is that I promise you, with 100% certainty, that what is going to transpire as a result of inaction, or “business as usual,” will be so many orders of magnitude worse. And we will have no control whatsoever over how it goes down. With that, here is what I strongly believe is at the very least necessary to save our species and many of the other creatures, large and small, who we have not yet managed to wipe out. This is what it would take to begin the long process of changing the course this “supertanker” is on in order to restore our beautiful planet to its Goldilocks “condition.” And this plan is draconian, to be sure. And it seems unimaginably harsh, but that does not mean it is impossible. Just in our lifetime, for example, did anyone think that the Soviet bloc could fall? Nope. But that was brought about by social change and that IS possible. The laws of nature, whose proverbial back we have shoved against a wall, CANNOT be changed.

Before anything of substance can be done, we must FIRST topple and control the fossil fuel industry, severing its stranglehold on humanity. Once that happens, things will go down quickly. We need to flick the fossil fuel industry parasite off our collective shoulders, make them pay, in every conceivable way, for the damage they have knowingly done, and absolutely not allow them to engage in any way with the healing process which will ensue. From top to bottom, from minion to CEO to paid-off Senator, criminal prosecution must take place. And I’m not talking about a slap on the wrist like what happened after the banking meltdown. I’m talking JAIL TIME. Keep in mind that there are people who are serving life terms for minor drug crimes, languishing in that big, tax payer subsidized, prison system. Why let all THAT go to waste? Since tax dollars have built that apparatus of misery and despair, we need to put it to good use. And I’m not talking about for people who sold a bag of pot on a street corner. Nope. I’m talking about real and actual JUSTICE for those who have strategically wiped out thousands of species on Earth, with much more to come.

Again, this plan is draconian, but don’t kill the messenger. I didn’t make this mess by myself, and I’m telling you that there is a chance, but it’s fleeting, and THIS, or at the very least, this level of commitment to fix the mess we’re in, is what it’s going to take. I’d put $20 bucks down that no one else is telling it to anyone straighter than this. I could be wrong, but I’ve not read it anywhere. If this, or something very close to THIS, isn’t enacted, we are done for. Plain and simple.

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Mandatory Large ScaleX

 

 

10 comments

  1. Excellent post and comments. I keep thinking about Easter Island and how they kept cutting down their trees for their religious rites…until every last one was gone. The parallel to our worship of profit is clear. We need sustainable policies and practices…everywhere.
    We are doomed unless we address these issues in a multifactorial way…and it could be one oversight that does us in. I’m a nurse…and if one significant detail is overlooked or misinterpreted it can mean death.
    Everytime I turn on the faucet I think of that precious water going down the drain for good. I remind my grandkids to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. And I wash my pans dumping water from one to another…like I used to do when camping. I think public service announcements to bring awareness to conservation should be instituted. (Does anyone remember one on not playing inside an abandoned refrigerator…sure impacted me as a child…and I bet that happened a few times and we responded). Today we allow people to be mowed down by assault weapons instead of a major outcry. Those who do cry out are scorned by those who have been manipulated by those in power controlling the media. As you say…hold ALL the greedy, warmongering, imperialistic, patriarchal a holes accountable. This includes Rupert Murdoch.

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  2. I agree that something needs to be done about the climate and a reduction or even an elimination of burning carbons. Though another problem sits on the horizon and that’s our bees. There hasn’t been a connection to climate change, pollution or technology that can explain their decline. Though this problem was noticed at about the same time that cell towers started marring the Earth (just a thought). Hopefully it is from climate change and pollution because we can slowly reverse that effect, but if it isn’t then we are all dead. When the bees go, we go. Like I said before, we do need to change our energy uses, but we’re turning a blind eye to the worlds pollinators.

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    • Yes, Joey, the decline in pollinators is a major problem. I’ve written about it before and had several campaigns. And I’ve had the monarch butterfly tracker up many times. It’s probably a combination of modern ag (which has eliminated their natural habitats and uses MUCH too efficient weed killers and pesticides) and climate change. Thanks for your comment. P.S. You can look to the “tag cloud” on the left of this page and find “Monarchs,” “bees,” and “pollinators,” among other things related to your comment.

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  3. Wow no leisure travel? Does this even apply to Leo Decaprio and Al Gore? I’m sure they figure they’ll get a pass because they care more than the little people. If you can’t even convince the true believers to fall in line, how will you convince anyone else?

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    • Wow, gee, I guess you don’t understand how science works. It’s not a religion. Our natural world doesn’t give the tiniest shit what you or I or anyone else “believes.” As the saying goes, it is what it is. I don’t have to convince anyone of anything. If such a plan is imposed upon us, we might have a chance. If we are too whingy, self absorbed and stupid, then we’ll be toast. It is THAT simple. Believe what you want. Unicorns, fairies, god, a snowman. I don’t care. This is the reality of how fucked up our situation is.

      As that other old chestnut goes, “nature bats last.”

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  4. How to make a short response to a huge topic? First there is a difference between “I know” and “I understand”. I know the laws of nature, and sadly of human nature. I know that human beings are incredibly inventive and ingenious beasties, so we have a chance, always. I understand the Earth, extinction, physics, etc and that means I know quite a bit through observation and study, but I need to know so much more. I’m a trained geologist, I worked in the oil and gas industry for over a decade, I lived through the ’60’s and got the peace not war/utopia thing, I retired from teaching science in public schools, including geology, and I’m trained as a volunteer naturalist. I continue to talk with people about wise use of resources, recycling, least harm, conservation, the need to be smarter about our place in the world, and why reconnecting with nature is so important. Many small but good changes can make a big difference.
    We are consumers, which requires providers, which means money, which means we are in trouble. Too many worship at that altar and an addiction to money is hard to walk away from. Our lifestyles mean damage will be done and put a strain on the system. We have to limit that damage to levels below what the Earth can heal/tolerate or we will, like 95% of the species, go extinct. And that would be a waste. Scientists are busy trying to understand the highly complicated connections and feedback loops that make up all of the cycles that allow us to live on this planet. But scientists don’t need to convince each other, we know we are tinkering around in an unintelligent manner. We need to connect people with their environment so that they will understand the need to not upset balances and that we are in fact just a connected part of all of this. The Earth does not exist FOR us, it exists IN SPITE of us. Baba Dioum said “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”. That was in 1968. Have we figured it out? Our current educational model removes kids from contact with nature. For our future generation to love this planet, they have to connect to it.
    Increasing population means the competition for resources will rise. Conflicts will prevent the elimination of the military. Potential for profit will eliminate the chance of everyone “getting” the fact that we need to protect our environment first or we’re all screwed, rich and poor. Those with profit/power control the legislation both for continued profit and against environmental monitoring and protection. We need to have the majority of our population recognize that there is a problem, and have representation that is willing to change the way we do business and enforce that change. The oil, gas and coal industries are not going to change while there is still profit to be made. Or subsidies to receive. Dependence on nonrenewable energy is very short sighted. We put stop ahead signs 500′ in front of stop signs. We are heading toward a wall at high speed and science and common sense are screaming stop ahead. Time to move the foot toward the brake I think.
    A good start would be to put down the phone, go outside, open your eyes and breath deep. And if your children and other’s children see you out in nature and smiling it may create one of those small but good changes that will allow us to survive all of this.

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    • I once read an article about a psychologist doing a study testing kids creative levels. Starting with 400 kids between the ages of 3-4 yrs old. The group of children where tested with different puzzles, questions, and pictures to observe and analyze their abilities. To his amazement, around 96% percent of them had very high creative skills, meaning that they could finish puzzles, see things in the pictures, & solve problems easier then the average adult could. Years later, the psychologist did the same test to the same 400 kids at the age of 7. Only 6% still had high levels of creativity while the rest seemed to have drastically lost so much of their once same ability. So what happend?… He concluded that through these few years the kids were bombarded with effortless answers and most damaging “RULES”. Day by day being told to dress like this, eat this food, sit here in class, raise your hand before you speak, walk in a strait line, learn this way,& so on. They eventually subconsciously conditioned themselves to simply go along with what ever AUTHORITY directs them to do, and resulting in well listening but very little creative mindsets. My point is the majority have a great disadvantage from the very start. And until we ( the ones who truly care) can find a way to change this course, getting others to listen will be quite a challenge. My opinion, investing in the 6% is the key to discovering a solid solution.
      I don’t want to protect the environment. I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting.
      – unknown

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  5. my first thought- im not gonna wear a microchip. Everything else I could do…. can the military?
    Thank you for keeping up the education and the fight (allthough I need to find a befder word than fight. No “war” on climate change like everything people try to change they coin it a war on something- so negative!!! Whats a better more positive word than fight?).
    I am trying to educate myself and others, and yes, I have heard the phrase about what can one person do. A LOT!!!

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    • Thanks so much, Kristen. The microchip part is a thought about how to monitor carbon usage. It’s not so far fetched, really. But the whole thing is unpleasant. Let’s hope we can turn this ship around to healthier waters before this type of thing is mandatory.

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