“I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us.” — President Obama
“Government response to the climate crisis is wholly inadequate and puts us all in great danger.” — Naomi Kline
As world leaders and peoples movements gather in Paris to forge agreement about how to address the climate crisis, some common wisdom can guide us.
Solving any problem requires three basic steps:
- Admit you have a problem,
- Diagnose the problem accurately, and
- Implement the right solution or medication that address the root of the problem.
Right now the problem the earth and the people on it face is a terminal case of fossil fuel poisoning. After 200,000 years on earth, we humans, in just 250 years, have become fossil fuel addicts.
Right now we have a very short time window to stop the injection of the poison into our collective body and repair the harm done by the previous decades of injection. We must seize this moment or the future for humanity will be relatively short and extremely painful.
Looking at the steps above it’s clear we’ve had a very hard time getting to Step 1. Now we have very little time to complete Step 2 and Step 3.
Unfortunately, while national governments like the US government are finally admitting there is a problem, they have failed to diagnose the disease accurately. As a result they are proposing solutions that will be terminal for the patient.
Their approach is like going to tobacco companies and asking them to solve the problem of lung cancer by making a new tobacco product to cure it.
Our governments are looking to oil companies and market based approaches to solve a problem that oil companies and market based approaches created. Our governments seem to believe that oil companies and banks are the only ones powerful enough and smart enough to solve the problem. Our governments are going for false solutions.
This is typical addict behavior. We are addicted to the myth of market based solutions and a way of life that is long gone. Even when we admit the problem we seem to find a way to maintain our addiction.
The good thing is that the people all over the world are rising up to release their governments from the grip of corporations and demand that governments serve the future of the people and the planet. Most importantly, people are not waiting for national governments to act. People know what the real problems and the real solutions are and they are coming together to implement those solutions in their local communities and in their states. Just look at how grassroots movements were able to stop the Keystone Pipeline, end fracking in New York State and put Hawaii and other states on the path to 100% percent clean energy.
The fight for democracy, peace and climate justice is accelerating. It is time to join the chorus of voices insisting that national governments do their part.
100% Renewable is possible, in the US by 2020 and globally by 2050, if we invest in local communities advancing real solutions.
Through “reparations not aid” we can build the next regenerative economy and repair the harm of the extractive economy.
We have the money. We have the technology today. All we need is the collective political will.
This is not a climate movement, it is a movement for the future of humanity.
It will take all of humanity to accelerate the solutions that are in our hands.