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This Changes Everything?

I concluded my last blog: “The global warming-induced climate chaos and consequent resource depletion that Naomi Klein wrote, “changes everything,” has begun. I believe that Klein is right, but that many progressive[s]” remain stuck in decades-old strategies.

Why is that?

Perhaps some see that phrase as hyperbole. I believe Klein meant it literally, and that is how I take it for at least three reasons: 1. The overwhelming scientific concensus is that if global warming induced climate change is not stopped we will cross climate tipping points that will gut the planet’s productive capacity and render large portions of it uninhabitable. 2. Our time is limited. Either it’s too late already, or we have only a decade or so to turn this around, and minor adjustments won’t cut it. 3. Continuing current first world behavior guarantees disaster.

I’m not going to argue with those who don’t accept these points here, but if you agree, isn’t one question: If everything has changed, why do we vote as if they haven’t?

Some who know this feel defeated by it. They continue with their lives as if it isn’t happening. This mind-set leads people to follow past political proclivities as if nothing has changed.

Some hope either it can’t be that bad, or that it won’t happen for hundreds of years. Given the enormity of problem such thinking is understandable, but these positions are based upon denial and wishful thinking, not knowledge. This also leads people to follow politics as usual.

Some look at our inabiliy to get out of the pickle we’ve created as proof that we are a stupid, fucked-up, vicious species that deserves what it is about to get. I doubt anything I could write would change that attitude, so I’ll focus on the first two and relate them to the upcoming presidential election.

Many progressives who hate Hillary Clinton’s politcs say they will vote for her if she is the nominee because the Republicans are particularly god-awful this time around. This is the politics of “things haven’t changed that much.”

We’ve been told that if you throw a frog into boiling water it will jump out, but if it is sitting in comfortable water and the heat is increased slowly it will sit until it cooks. For argument sake, assume you knew that it was likely that either the Republican nominee or Clinton, if elected, would start a nuclear war. You wouldn’t vote for either even if you saw no alternative.

Apply that logic to climate change. If you believed, as I do, that neither would take the actions needed to save us from civilization-ending climate-based disaster, and you still would vote for Clinton because the Republicans are even worse, wouldn’t you be cooking in increasingly hot water? (Scalia’s death does not change this fact.)

Naomi Klein has put her finger on what requires the most basic re-thinking of our political tactics. This is why I reiterate that if you really believe that everything has changed, voting for the lesser evil is no longer a viable option.
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