Right now, there is a battle between the status quo — the people who are willfully destroying the climate for profit and/or ideology, and those who are determined to rescue the planet and preserve the Earth’s habitability.
Today, the IPCC issued what might be called a “final warning.” They’ve been issuing warnings for decades now, and the authorities worldwide, under every political and economic system, have continued to increase carbon emissions.
Although their words often say otherwise, leaders everywhere have, in effect, announced unequivocally that they are either unable or unwilling to heed the call. They WILL turn the Earth into an inhospitable hell — IF we let them.
Let’s not let them. I believe we CAN win — if we care enough to do the work. This isn’t just wishful thinking. Saving the Earth IS realistic; believing that we might just get lucky is wishful thinking. Letting the status quo continue is morally wrong, and unnecessary. Also, fatal.
Let’s see how the two sides stack up — the bad guys versus the good guys.
Motives: What Do They Want?
The bad guys, the climate abusers and excusers, want to pretend nothing is happening or, even if they admit the climate is collapsing, continue to behave as if nothing is happening.
They are unrealistic because right now the climate collapse is making business as usual impossible. For example, worldwide crop yields are down.
People will react and ARE reacting because their lives are becoming significantly worse. We are seeing a huge increase in refugees because conditions where many people live have deteriorated markedly.
The good guys say we need to listen to the scientists, slash the use of fossil fuels and work together — instead of competing — to stabilize the climate of the planet on which we all live.
Who, do you think, is being unrealistic and who is being sensible?
Resources: What Do They Have?
Many of the good guys are worried because the bad guys have so many resources. It appears like those who are determined to destroy the climate have an insuperable advantage.
The bad guys have solid influence with governments (largely by paying for the campaigns of politicians). They exert strong cultural influence by providing PR through media, so-called think tanks, and industry groups.
They have a large number of powerful weapons and extraordinary wealth. They also enjoy the support of ideological “true believers” who think that burning all the fossil fuels they want — whatever the consequences — is their right and the core value of “freedom.”
The good guys are fully in touch with reality. They understand what is happening, what is at stake, and what the future will be if we continue on the present course. Numerically, climate abusers are a small minority. As loud and active as they are, as a percentage of the world population, very few are passionate about the “freedom to destroy the ecosphere and obliterate human life.” But the number of good guys — people who see the current suffering and the potentially deadly future — is very large and growing.
Unfortunately, these good guys feel powerless and alone. Most of these people — I’d guess more than a billion — think they are a tiny minority of people. The bad guys love this illusion because it keeps the good guys demoralized and largely inactive. This is the problem that enables the bad guys to do their evil work largely unimpeded.
That said, IF the good guys become aware of their numbers and decide to work together, they should be able to overwhelm the bad guys. Both their numbers and passion would be decisive. Hey, even in a world of EIGHT billion people, when ONE BILLION become actively opposed to their own destruction, the one billion are going to win. Why? Because most of the other seven billion will be inactive or uninspired. The bad guys will be finished once real opposition appears. And that’s really good for the bad guys, because if they lose, they and their children and grandchildren will have a chance to survive.
Culture: What Do They Communicate?
The bad guys have a variety of messages — justifications for their destructive, greedy, selfish and downright stupid actions. Some are ideologies like libertarianism, objectivism, “freedom” (sic), and capitalism (really corporatism and plutocracy pretending to be capitalism).
Those views are getting tired and old and less credible every day.
Meanwhile, the ongoing reaction of the biosphere and the climate to the abuse by corporations, totalitarians and plutocrats is giving increasing strength to the good guys. We can SEE the climate collapse — the atmospheric rivers in California, the 100+ degree heatwaves in Siberia, the endless so-called hundred year storms that started with Hurricane Sandy.
The good guys communicate the truth. The liars have more resources, but the good guys — the truth-tellers — have the whole planet Earth speaking up for them. And the Earth’s voice is growing louder.
Visions: What Do They Offer?
The bad guys aren’t good at “the vision thing.” They offer empty promises of saving the Earth — through pledges or tech advances or whatever insincere nonsense they can devise.
But they’ve never met a single meaningful target and none of the tech advances have been implemented at a scale sufficient to reduce carbon emissions. So, those lies are being recognized by more and more people as lies.
The good guys, sadly, don’t offer much of a vision either. But they COULD. Because what’s required to save the Earth will also require cooperation — not competition — and would signal a new beautiful age in human relations. We can only save our planet by being better people, by genuinely caring for each other, and by working together for a common goal.
This would not be perfect or Utopian, but it WOULD by necessity be better than our current world which is characterized by hatred and war and violence. IF the good guys learn to express and promote this vision, they will hold a strong advantage in the vision category.
Prospects: What Are Their Chances?
Honestly, the bad guys currently hold the lead. They are largely in charge and controlling events.
However, their position is slipping. They cannot stop the climate collapse or the inevitable reaction to it as long as they remain committed to fossil fuels. And the credibility of the bad guys is collapsing in conjunction with the climate’s destruction.
However, although the bad guys are losing ground, it won’t much matter unless the good guys improve their position and learn to act together — forcefully and decisively. They show signs of waking up fully to the reality of our climate disaster — but show little sign of waking up to each other.
That the good guys become aware of the numbers and power will be the decisive factor. If we FIND EACH OTHER and ACT TOGETHER, the good guys will win. Now, this win won’t be complete. Enough damage has already been done to the Earth that people and other species will struggle and suffer. But we can stop the slide and also offset some of that suffering by replacing a cruel culture with a culture of kindness.
That is what some of us are already working towards.
We, the good guys, need to “find the others,” build our movement and then take action to disrupt “business as usual” with a crash-program to slash carbon emissions. We need to defy the culture of greed and selfishness and cruelty and replace it with the opposite.
We need to stop reacting with despair, and to start acting with determination and pride.
Do you want to participate? We are starting very, very late and our numbers are — so far — small. But we are beginning to organize, beginning to “find the others,” and beginning to take action. We are meeting in Virtual Climate Parties — small online video chats — to strategize about recruiting more and more “good guys” and taking action. Our initial actions will be to build our numbers and grow a huge movement. And then, together, we change the world and save the Earth for our species and the other creatures that share the planet with us.
Please, please join us!
NOTE: As I write these words, the next Virtual Climate Parties have not been scheduled. But, when they are, the details will be posted here.