Now is not the Time
Bill McKibben of 350 informs us that “5.6 million Floridians have been told to evacuate, making it by far the largest mass movement of people in American history. Hot new world.” Meanwhile Trumps environmental chief Scott Pruitt tells us that “now is not the time” for discussion about climate change, even amid record-breaking hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Katia.
The above photograph could be the defining image of our time.
When Florida gun owner Ryon Edwards Florida posted a Facebook event to encourage others to ‘shoot the storm’ and fire their guns at Hurricane Irma, 46,000 people responded.
In an outburst of irony he explained: “I never envisioned this event becoming some kind of crazy idea larger than myself. It has become something a little out of my control.”
It’s been well documented that whilst the medias attention has turned to the crisis in America far more deadly events are unfolding in Asia, but there’s a reason we are focused on America and the Caribbean.
As the Floridians golf through carnage, the storms are descending on the epicentre of ignorance, the dead centre of denialism, a Mar a Lago endgame.
What club would you choose for the end of the world?
But as a new study asserts that 50% of temperature increases and 32% of sea level rise was caused by just 90 companies. The New Republic suggests we start naming hurricanes “after Exxon, and Chevron, not Harvey and Irma”.
“Specifically, the study asserts that the 90 largest carbon producers—including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil—have cumulatively caused up to 50 percent of the increase in global mean surface temperature since 1880, and up to 32 percent of global sea level rise. Investor-owned companies like BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil have caused 16 percent of the global average temperature increases and 11 percent of the global sea level rise, the study says.
The study “demonstrates, strictly speaking, causal responsibility” for the worst impacts of sea level rise and temperature increases, Oxford University political science professor Henry Shue wrote in accompanying commentary for the study.”
So as the hurricanes descend it’s obvious that the problem isn’t just climate change, it’s Capitalism.
And that’s one of the reasons – other than Western-centric news filters – that the focus is on America.
It’s easy enough to defy reality as you bunker-down (pun intended) to the abstract notion of climate crisis. It’s rather more difficult as the storms are laying waste to your golf club.
If NOW is not the time – when is?
The denialism has layers.
The first, the outright lies of the deluded or the compromised: ‘This isn’t happening.’ The second the idea that ‘sustainability’ and a growth agenda can fix this. The third that capitalism is reformable.
The first and second have been widely debunked exposed and ridiculed, The third is now in play.
The delusional behaviour is stark in America – suffering under a (well armed) combination of Trumpism, turbo-capitalism and Christian fundamentalism, but it exists everywhere.
This from the Dark Mountain’s new collection of essays Walking on Lava:
The stakes are in the meadow … the fields are overgrown
The winds of change are blowin’ through the place I’ve called home
They’re digging at the edges to build the power line
Same old story … but now the story’s mine […]
It all began 300 years before
What story is beginning
If this one is no more?
– Railroad Earth, ‘Lone Croft Farewell’
“It has become something a little out of my control.”
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