Green Denial & An Army of Heroes
Reality has stormed the shores of the climate deniers, washed away their arguments and dried up the base of their assumptions in extreme heat. The denials of the environmentalists however continue to support global warming and insure its continued growth. The denial of the environmentalists? Yes, the environmentalists! Their denial runs along three ideological strata.
Denial 1 – Possible Extinction
The environmentalists, like people in general, tend to deny that global warming develops along a path leading to extinction. They anticipate great destruction and deaths, but contemplating the possibility of extinction causes such distress that denial finds employment.
Global warming can be likened to a fever. The fever is rising and the factors causing the fever are increasing. An organism cannot exist beyond the conditions of its evolutionary adaptation. Death comes to both individuals and species when temperatures rise above or fall below the evolved operational range. A temperature range affects all the conditions—organs or resources—necessary to maintain existence.
The struggle to remedy climate change has little chance of success while denying that it’s a battle for survival.
Denial 2 – Impotent Rulers
Even turning down the volume so that we don’t hear the drums of extinction still leaves us listening to the roar of mass destruction and the cries of people dying from climate induced extreme weather. Something must be done. The environmentalists are on board here, many working with admirable intensity. Unfortunately, the work is often inefficient to useless because denial refuses to acknowledge the impotency of the world leaders and their institutions.
We’ve known about global warming and its potential catastrophic consequences for over 30 years. World leaders have gathered at international conferences time and again and promised to reduce emissions. Not a drop of results has fallen from their words. The world grows warmer at an ever-increasing pace on the tide of ever-increasing toxic emissions. Despite the well-documented inability of those in charge to achieve any results, time and energy continue to be squandered petitioning them.
The struggle to remedy climate change has little chance of success while counting on the activities of world leaders.
(Note: Some specific campaigns can be fought within the official political structure, but these are exceptions.)
Denial 3 – Business as Usual
A policy statement by the Natural Resources Defense Council of the USA illustrates the prevailing concept of dealing with global warming:
The Earth’s atmosphere is overloaded with heat-trapping carbon dioxide, which threatens large-scale disruptions in climate with disastrous consequences. We must act now to spur the adoption of cleaner energy sources at home and abroad.
Of course we must “spur the adoption of cleaner energy sources” but we must also eliminate unnecessary sources of pollution. If global warming is wrecking havoc in the world and causing so many deaths, why don’t we stop unnecessary carbon emissions? Can we afford to fiddle with emissions while our planet heats and floods?
Conventional wisdom appears to be blind to any procedure that alters the prevailing order. We can add a little eco-spice, a clove of cleaner energy, a dash of recycling, a teaspoon of environmentally approved products or a pinch of sustainability as long as we stick to business as usual.
How long can we keep denying that the prevailing order itself threatens humanity? No amount of adjustments or improvements can have a significant effect as long as corporate mandates control the economy. Global warming will continue to burn off the conditions for existence for as long as it’s profitable.
An individual with a life-threatening ailment cannot cling to the routines of work, family and leisure if they must submit to an operation. A society cannot cling to its routines in the face of existence-threatening developments. Radical changes in the form of structural operations must be performed. Non-essential climate-harmful activities must be discarded.
The struggle to remedy climate change has little chance of success while conducting (corporate) business as usual.
The Whole of Denials
Denying the tendency for extinction, the impotency of world leaders, and the need to break away from the prevailing order are interacting components of a single denial: the life forms of the earth are being ravaged by a money-oriented system of human existence. If we can’t cure our obsession with the accumulation of money and create a culture committed to the needs of people living in balance with nature, we may just as well start building a gravestone to stand witness over humanity’s folly.
The task before us is long, difficult, dangerous and littered with victims. We find ourselves embedded in a political, economic, social and culture system (the prevailing order) that we were born into. We grew up in this money-oriented system absorbing it into our identity. We can’t visualize another system because this is the only one we know. Major changes feel unnatural or sacrilegious.
Let’s look at a few unnecessary and survival-threatening behaviors to appreciate how difficult it is to accept another way of life.
1. We “play” with carbon-discharging vehicles. How much longer can we dump carbon into the air to see which vehicle can go in circles fastest? Do we really value speed entertainment higher than survival? The people now engaged in combustion engine racing can contribute to the development of non-polluting vehicles powered by electricity and solar cells as well as finding solutions for efficient public transportation.
2. Can we afford the carbon costs of international sports? How much energy do we spend transporting and accommodating teams of people to compete for glory, entertainment and profits? Eliminating international sports—as was done during WWII—need not diminish the joy of sports, but can promote active participation instead of passive observation.
3. The bottled water and soda industry ranks among the major environment contaminators. Yet such is the power of commercial indoctrination that people who volunteer their lives and limbs for military combat, aren’t willing to suffer the hardship of refraining from a coke.
4. The peacock industry (everything concerning our appearance from fashion to body alterations) consumes incalculable quantities of energy and resources while promoting uncertainty, fear, stress and neurotic disorders. Love and joy can flow without being filtered through directives from fashionistas and commercial commandantes.
“Imagine if people were as concerned with their knowledge as they are with their appearance.” Dartwill Aquila
An Army of Heroes
These examples point to unnecessary activities that increase global warming. Eliminating them will disrupt our pattern of life, but not the quality of life. They do nothing for our health but cause social tensions, waste resources and threaten our existence. Such is the nature of cultural habits that even harmful ones enjoy reverence and will be defended with the belligerence of a smoker defending the freedom to destroy his own health and economy.
There are greater environmental villains than the four I’ve mentioned, but these need no official sanctions to combat and illustrate the difficulties in confronting the status quo. See them as a scoreboard telling us how badly we are doing in the battle for survival. We’re losing!
Global warming is a process not a switch. It might be, or very soon will be, too late to reverse the process and repair the damages. If we are to succeed, we need nothing less than an army of heroes, men and women from every corner of the world with muscles of determination, the courage of passion and the intelligence of love. Let us not deny that victory is uncertain. Nor should we deny that this is the most glorious battle humanity has ever fought. Victory will taste as sweet as the kiss of life.
What can this army of heroes do? They can start installing the future bit by bit, building a world where people work for the good of people, a one-for-all and all-for-one world, a world where people not money enjoy the supreme priority. The army aims to provide everyone’s needs for food, clothing, shelter, education, health-care, information and access to communications. They are on a mission to struggle for the survival of humanity by helping each other build a sustainable world for everyone. There are no orders. There will be no orders. Heroes report to themselves daily on the progress of their mission. Many are already engaged in the glorious battle. They embrace three denials. They deny the legitimacy of money to dictate the conditions of people. They deny that someone beside themselves will solve their problems. They deny all ideologies and -isms that inhibit the community of Homo sapiens from functioning as a single family in harmony with nature.