arnheimsdomain: (dragons)
[personal profile] arnheimsdomain
On the basis that roses only grow in plentiful manure, I'll record the BS I came up with talking to my mate tonight. Over 24 years no one has inspired me to so much creative thought (warning, I said creative, not necessarily cogent!)

So, as the saying goes, unless we change direction soon we'll end up where we're going: widespread warfare over resources.
The question is what will motivate enough of the people with enough of the power to make the sacrifices necessary to avoid this?

When I started being a Green, the UK govt. laughed at the idea of climate change (Quite literally, I got laughed at by Tories and Labour politicians live on radio). Things have changed a lot since then, but I believe the pace of change has got to get exponentially faster than the current agenda to even stand a chance of preventing systemic ecological collapse with a death toll in the billions and quite possibly of 'civilisation as we know it' proportions, due to the fragility of our food production and our collective will to go down fighting each other over the worst hit resources.

My mate's just back from an environmental project in Kenya where starvation has yet again forced the Massai to drive their cattle to devastate the crops of those living on the coast. Its a powderkeg, but it's nothing compared to likely large scale responses to even more desperate ecological/economic problems worldwide: some nations might lean to ethnic cleansing and others to aggressive defence, but I doubt many will take ecological pressure on their population with serenity.

I've done a lot of protest, grassroots action, democratic campaigning and a decade of quiet small stuff in local government and watched small things change slowly, but how do we lever it all up? Perhaps a key moment in the UK was the impact on a big slice of the population after the Stern Report made the front page of the Sun. The economic impacts of climate change were suddenly real to people who didn't grow their own muesli. A small breakthrough, they didn't change much themselves but an unexpected impetus for government.

Clearly the people who need to feel motivated to seek more sustainable lives are the equivalent sections of U.S. society, because even if they catch up with most of Europe that will have a massive impact and if they start to lead, surely most of the richest nations will follow like dogs. What will make middle America feel it's childrens' lives are stake & demand to pay more for petrol and ration their own steaks and air miles? That to take a cut in standard of living as currently measured by economists is a lesser evil? What will make the cynical American and European non-voter think it's worth trying?

Blood and Faith.

(Well, I think the only other thing universal enough is sex, but I doubt it's ability to lead to decisive positive eco-action. Of course, if porn or more advanced (solar-powered) sex toys replace actual sex for more people the birth rates will come down and I suppose potentially reduce travel. It's worth a shot: free porn as birth control, stay at home for our Happy Holidays Special, take the pledge and marry your hand...)

Christianity is big in the US, but that's why it won't reach the remainder. So it has to be something on the scale of religious faith, the faith that makes someone sacrifice themselves, but can't be religious. Well, attending weddings may not even have taught people Corinthians 13, but the Beatles put in a good effort: love, actually, is all you need. Obviously we need something to awaken a secular humanist epiphany in people who can't feel their souls.

On thing counselling has taught me is that you can't do much for others if you hate yourself. We need to make a lot of hard bitten average joes feel like heroes. So what bonds together the deeply insecure and the beaten down and the clockwatchers and the pushy and self-made and the borderline sociopaths?

Serving in the military. The only films about putting the common good before your own that make any money are action flicks. Even the manliest of men can take one from the team and hug a buddy so long as another one gets killed and they get to blow up somebody who looks a bit foreign. Ah yes, the unpleasant corollaries of the comradeship and self belief are the risk and the loss and the demonisation of an enemy.

How do make the danger real to people? How do we turn their energy to the problems at hand without turning them against their competitors for resources?

And that's where blood comes in. Ecological disaster on a huge scale on the doorstep might unite people and make them feel good enough about themselves to take up an ecological crusade to stop it happening again, but New Orleans didn't do it, so presumably the death toll would have to be harrowing and substantially middle class. Let's hope it doesn't happen that way.

So I guess I'm praying for a Near Earth-Collision to scare some eco-sense into people deus ex machina. And that may not be a mathematically sound strategy for urgent change.

Maybe a rain of toads...
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