Earth, our One and Only
There is no more important issue than climate change. We are every day coming closer to the culmination of climate catastrophes that will upend life as we know it. Billions of people will die. Millions of species will die. The air and water will be made irreversibly toxic for generations. Fires and flooding will wipe out whole communities. Organized human society will end. It won’t be the end of the world, but it will be the end of civilization. It will be the violent end of much of the life on Earth.
It’s not a matter of “if.”
There are steps we can take to mitigate some damages coming with our impending doom. But we’re not.
Occasionally we’ll hear a story of some city or nation patting itself on the back for a plan to curb the burning of fossil fuels and the production of greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, intentions aren’t worth shit. We face a present danger, not one many years from now, and stating the intention to turn things around years from now will be too late. By stalling change, not doing what needs to be done right fucking now, the burden of action is being passed by current leaders to their successors. By the time these successors have the reins, who’s to say they’ll follow through on the tepid promises of their predecessors. Just as the devastating impacts of climate catastrophe are being foisted onto future generations, so too is the responsibility of doing something about it.
As individuals, some of us are doing our part, or are trying. But ultimately, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I bike to work, only drive my hybrid car when I have to, clean and separate my recycling, reuse plastics and avoid single-use plastics altogether. Too many people are still running their gas and diesel engines for hours a day. All but a small fraction of recyclable materials don’t end up in landfills and incinerators. Tons of plastic are wasted and disposed of irresponsibly every day, with each bit of packaging and tiny Trader Joe’s sample fork at a time. Getting down to it, it doesn’t matter what you or I do as individuals. Even the people who don’t give a shit, who waste and destroy without care, don’t really matter. The damage done by any individual is near negligible, the “good” done by another of even less consequence.
As with so many things, we can lay the bulk of the blame at the feet of big business. All the individuals in the world contribute no more than a small fraction of the pollution and environmental devastation than do a small cadre of major corporations. It is they who’ve brought us to this point, who will throw us over the cliff, and who have the nerve to promote sanctimonious nonsense about how they’re “doing their part” for the environment, and the insulting notion that it is our fault the world is in such straits and that the responsibility of fixing it falls on us.
It’s also the military.
Though in truth, there’s little difference or separation between the US military and US corporations. Like the US government itself, the military is an arm of the corporate class. Think what you will, whatever your level of brainwashing or jingoism might be; it is the case that virtually every action the US military has ever taken has been one with economic incentives. Any aspirations for freedom and democracy have been at best secondary, and most often hollow platitudes employed to obscure the true intents.
Lest I be accused of America-bashing, other militaries do and have done the same. Except in the rare cases that a military is used solely for domestic defense, the primary use of them has been expansion for economic interests. It just so happens that our military is also the largest polluter in the world.
Not to belittle other pertinent issues of the day, but nothing is more important than this. Any time spent by media, or in personal and professional life, is wasted if not used to address and combat this threat. We are facing a genuine existential crisis. While it is not truly our fault, nor something we can undo or repair as individuals, united we can make a difference. The number of people whose lives will be lost or gravely impacted by climate catastrophe far outnumbers the elite handful myopically and callously benefitting from its causes. Risky as revolutions are, and monumental as this one will be required to be, it’s likely the only way. We cannot trust corporations and we cannot rely on governments to fix what they’ve done. It will take us acting together as a species, or the representative majority of it, rising up and seizing power to do what must be done for the sake of all life on Earth.