To coincide with Earth Day last week the extremist group Extinction Rebellion staged a flashy 10 days of protests in downtown London.
One way to look at this is as a necessary “wake up call” – to coin a tired cliché – about a pressing global problem. Another view is that it was an ineffective, narcissistic and counterproductive waste of time.
The protests were headlined by Greta Thunberg, 16, a charismatic Swedish school girl activist. If you have to examine exactly why having “an innocent child” as any standard bearer is inherently cretinous you probably should be reading the crayon edition of Democracy Chronicles. Further, given the poor girl’s delicate mental setup as reported by Quilette lately, her mother-fueled celebrity status could even be called grotesquely exploitative.
This is not to disparage environmental activism in general, just some of its wild and useless tactics: street clogging sit-and-sulk-ins went out half a century ago.
So what to do?
Like all meta-problems climate change requires data analysis as well as micro and macro strategies: not just pissing off Londoners trying to get to work.
On the individual level, there’s a lot one can do. While extreme, not breeding is probably the best idea: you can give all your money to Greenpeace, you can recycle, down cycle and bicycle everything you do or consume for the rest of your life and still not touch equalizing the resources gobbled down by that little bundle of joy and its descendants. Its drastic I’ll grant you and there are more immediate actions available.
Journalist Kate Harveston penned an excellent article a few months ago in The Moderate Voice with a line by line checklist of exactly how, at a personal level, one can reduce one’s impact on the planet. The problem is a collective action one, but so is democracy and we handle that. Make no mistake, small individual efforts like those summarized by Ms. Harveston help and none on her list are a major chore.
On the macro level there’s more one can do to save the planet such as give Money to the right causes. If you’re not very wealthy though, the best thing you can do for the environment is to vote Democrat and help others to.
We are spoiled for choice in America. Few countries offer such a dichotomy between good and bad voting as the USA. Our two party system is a binary of environmental destruction verses sane management. In fact, currently there are no political parties in any democracy which deny climate change apart from our Republicans.
Environmental destruction is part of their tribal garb, a dynamic which fits into their authoritarian “I’m tough and strong and brutal and armed” macho posturing image. Flower stomping is their brand, pollution their product and Republicans flaunt this beyond the point of parody. Which would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn damaging and also evidence of their trembling cowardice and transparently selfish world-view.
Being the political wing of the fossil fuel cartel the Republicans’ tribal war paint also includes guns, loosening pollution standards (including for mercury as endorsed by both presidents Bush and Trump), deforestation, the battering, defunding and shrinking of National Parks and public transport, and in keeping with their religiosity forcing women to have as many babies as they don’t want: here and abroad. That last one is their worst environmental atrocity and, of course, is in lockstep with their allies the “faith community” and its holy war to regress civilization.
Another part of that Republican worldview is a dangerous rejection of science and an enthusiastic embrace of willful ignorance. The ever diminishing intellectual quality of their standard bearers attest to this: from Reagan to Bush to Palin to Trump in a downward spiral of stupidity over the decades.
Sure the Democrats might not go as far as we’d like environmentally, but their policies are on the right path, sane and scientifically informed. This is in total opposition to other side’s esteem of “faith” (the purposeful suspension of reason), what feels “tough”, pleases the owners/donors or whatever idiocy our narcissist president tweets out in his early stage Alzheimer’s rage.
The Democrats not being Republicans isn’t their only saving grace, remember: they can win given the constraints of our system. Their main problem is too few supporters of their policies actually vote. Forget “convincing” anybody, concentrate on the physics of getting the humans you know to the polls, or better, postal voting.
Imagine you’re saving a small part of the biosphere with every person you help vote, with every millennial friend you convince that an Instagram “like” is not actually a legal vote, with every donation of money, time, and volunteering.
While doing so be sure to not let anybody believe voting for the “Green Party” is anything except counterproductive. Their notorious anti-vaxer nominee Jill Stein is berserk, her policies are unworkable, mainly insane, and in our system she’s effectively a vote for Trump. Counter-intuitive though it may seem, a vote for the Greens is a vote against the environment.
The type of brouhaha staged in London and associated civic hooliganism can occasionally be useful to draw attention to an unknown or unacknowledged injustice: think Ferguson, the Muslim Ban or BLM. However for a widely understood problem such as climate change, a hippy-esque orgy of virtue signaling might get you a date in London but won’t help the planet. And it makes concerned adults look like fools for following the idiotic nonsense of the “innocence of a child.”