What should we do?

The Situation At Hand

Scientists agree that living conditions on Earth will keep getting worse, in different ways in different places, unless we make huge changes to our energy and economic systems. We've known about the need for these changes for a half-century, but so far are not making them. Most Americans are not ready, and fossil fuel company propaganda is a big reason why. 

Climate change is like lung cancer.  Scientists knew in 1950 that smoking caused cancer, but cigarette companies spent so much on ads that few Americans believed them.  Only when cigarette ads were banned 20 years later did the smoking rate start a steep decline.  

A friend used to say, "People in different boats shouldn't hold hands."   Do we know we're all in the same boat regarding the climate crisis? Google's search history (left) implies we are starting to realize that we are,  but don't know what to do about it yet.  We need to talk to each other about problems, solutions, and organizing.  Corporate media will not be in front on this.

The Importance of Systems Thinking

Donella Meadows' Iceberg Model 

 Scientists see that the earth is warming and the atmosphere is filling up with greenhouse gases, so they tell us about those events.  If we ask, we can learn about patterns: how we are putting more carbon into the air than our system can absorb.  If we study systems structure, we learn that our economy relies on fossil fuel extraction and externalized environmental costs to keep growing, that that capitalism depends on constant growth.   

However, capitalism is all we know, so we need to build new mental models: read about other economic systems and ways of living, and how people organized successfully for systemic change in other places and times. We organize as well, looking for leverage. 

All this sounds crazy to talk to people who don't choose to read articles about climate change, particularly when it's nice outside.  When forest fire smoke fills our own air, or hurricanes flood our own fields and wash away our own roads, everyone is ready to learn more. Then the danger passes, stories vanish from our feeds,  and our harried day-to-day lives return. 

If we understand the depths of the climate problem, it is logical to keep reminding ourselves about it, and to keep asking what we should do about it, here and now.   

Climate-Aware Organizing and Mutual Aid

Teaching and Helping Each Other

Thoughts by Bram Moreinis

How does a Hollywood story of alien seed pods creating human doppelgangers that are replacing our neighbors compare with scientific consensus story of increasing warming that is on track to reverse the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation  and flood coastal cities? 

We are plagued by conspiracy theories, based on feelings of exploitation rooted in reality but not backed up by verifiable evidence.

Body snatchers and global warming have one thing in common:  at first, those who know what is happening run around screaming and no one seems to listen, and later enough people experience the problem and "the authorities" decide to solve it. 

Our authorities have not really decided to solve climate change yet (or have decided they cannot).  We should do whatever we can to convince them.  But we can also see how hard this is going to be.  We should also make preparations to live in a much more chaotic world, and become more locally resilient. 

Resilience 

From "Practice Thriving and Resilience: Skill 1 by Lashelle Lowe-Charde

A thriving and resilient life is an intentional life. Thriving means your needs are met consistently enough that you have a sense of well-being and contentment. Resilience means accessing resources, inside and out, that allow you to maintain your center or quickly come back to center in the face of adversity.

Maintaining thriving and resilience in your life means you can meet life’s challenges without being swept up in a roller coaster of reactivity.

Thriving means consistently engaging in that which truly supports your life, taking care of your needs day-by-day. When you’re thriving, you not only enjoy your life, you are also a gift to others.

Cultivating thriving and resilience means knowing the difference between what’s actually happening and your interpretations of it. It means learning to maintain equanimity through the ups and downs of life. It is the ability to process intense experiences with confidence. It includes effective self-care, gratitude, finding meaning, building community, and more.