Or: ‘Do you want the Good News first, or the Bad News first?’ Okay, sorry; it was a trick question. Please understand that climate change isn’t really in my wheelhouse, so I’ll leave it readers to offer counterarguments, or suggestions as to ‘what we do next’.
Thom Hartman and comrades created ‘The Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction’. The ‘about’ narrative below the video reads in part:
“Last Hours” is the first in a series of short films that explore the perils of climate change and the solutions to avert climate disaster. Each subsequent film will highlight fact-based challenges facing the human race, and offer solutions to ameliorate these crises. The initial short film series will culminate in a feature film to be presented prior to COP21, the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.
This first video is designed to awaken people to the fact that the earth has experienced five major extinctions in the deep geologic past — times when more than half of all life on earth vanished — and that we are now entering a sixth extinction. Industrial civilization with its production of greenhouse gases has the ability to trigger a mass extinction; in the extreme, it could threaten not just human civilization, but the very existence of human life on this planet.
FDL’s Cassiodorus recently wrote ‘Why a “green dictatorship” will not solve the global warming problem’, and included more information on the methane factors mentioned above, and has a number of other informative links.
‘Discussion about global warming has centered on the climate-forcing abilities of carbon dioxide — but there is also the story of methane. First there is the methane produced by aboveground sources, which accounts for 10% of climate forcing (even though the amounts of methane emitted into the atmosphere are much smaller than carbon dioxide emissions — methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas). And then there are underground and underwater methane hydrates, which will be released if the Earth gets too much hotter.
From the Guardian on the eve of the opening talks: ‘Climate change pledges: rich nations face fury over moves to renege: Typhoon Haiyan raises fear over global warming threat as Philippines leads attack on eve of key talks’, some seriously discouraging, if unsurprising words:
“Yeb Saño, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the UN climate change summit being held this weekend in Warsaw, spoke of a major breakdown in relations overshadowing the crucial talks, which are due to pave the way for a 2015 deal to bring down global emissions.
The diplomat, on the sixth day of a hunger strike in solidarity for those affected by Haiyan, including his own family, told the Observer: “We are very concerned. Public announcements from some countries about lowering targets are not conducive to building trust. We must acknowledge the new climate reality and put forward a new system to help us manage the risks and deal with the losses to which we cannot adjust.”
Munjurul Hannan Khan, representing the world’s 47 least affluent countries, said: “They are behaving irrationally and unacceptably. The way they are talking to the most vulnerable countries is not acceptable. Today the poor are suffering from climate change. But tomorrow the rich countries will be. It starts with us but it goes to them.”
Recent decisions by the governments of Australia, Japan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change have caused panic among those states most affected by global warming, who fear others will follow as they rearrange their priorities during the downturn.
In the last few days, Japan has announced it will backtrack on its pledge to reduce its emission cuts from 25% to 3.8% by 2020 on the basis that it had to close its nuclear reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Australia, which is not sending a minister to this weekend’s talks, signalled it may weaken its targets and is repealing domestic carbon laws following the election of a conservative government.
Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto accord, which committed major industrial economies to reducing their annual CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels.”
Amy Goodman will be in Warsaw all week; here she is with Filipino climate negotiator Yeb Saño; she says that ‘At the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland, the lead negotiator for the Philippines, Naderev “Yeb” Saño, joins us minutes after he and climate activists delivered a petition signed by some 590,000 people from around the world demanding urgent and bolder action to tackle climate change.
From Scientific American, the timeline:
“At a major United Nations climate summit in Warsaw this week, a plan is being hammered out for negotiations on a new climate treaty to be finalized in Paris in two years’ time. Delegates from 195 nations are also seeking to obtain commitments from countries to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions between now and 2020. But the path forward is rife with disputes between rich and poor countries over funding, and how to allocate and enforce emissions reductions.”
The conference aims to outline the schedule and to set parameters for negotiations ahead of the next major climate summit in Paris in 2015, when countries hope to forge a treaty to follow the 2009 agreement settled on in Copenhagen.”
A staggering revelation to me, in terms of the time horizon; holy hell.
From the Guardian this morning, Nov. 20, ‘Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on: Bloc of 132 countries exit Warsaw conference after rich nations refuse to discuss climate change recompense until after 2015’.
As well as: ‘Cost of climate change adaptation could destabilise African countries, UN warns: One billion Africans may be in harm’s way if countries fail to prepare for projected temperature rises, says report’.
Who will help them fund their preparations, as in adaptations and relocations’? Destabilization? Chaos? Possibly ‘Failed States’? Yes, that would be a job for AFRICOM and its stated mission, wouldn’t it?
This is a link to a video at the Guardian about the people they say will be the first USian climate change refugees. “Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate and for its residents, exile is inevitable.”
From realclimate.org (h/t mafr), ‘Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half’, a new report from researchers in the UK and Canada which explain their contention that there actually hasn’t been any ‘pause’ in global temperature rise.
Michael Klare wonders if there will be a climate change fueled revolution. Sorry; no. Mainstream media have guaranteed mass ignorance, at least in the US.
Ian Welsh has been wondering about ‘The Role of Violence and Coercion in Saving the World’. A very interesting thread, and I’d like to highlight part of a comment by Formerly T-Bear (the most recent one at the end), who may have soothed the roiled waters a bit. It mirrors my own thoughts when people argue that ‘making people do anything is impossible!’. I consider when critical meltdown points in different sectors have been reached, or are about to be reached, that it’s the time for statesmanship and persuasion. So often we collectively fail to consider what the best, most moral, and practical persuasions can be in ‘the marketplace of ideas’, don’t we? It may be that far too many of us like Team Sport finger-pointing, not to mention, among the ‘Educated Left’ cynical one-upsmanship over how fucked up humans are inherently *and* will be in perpetuity. Are we not what we eat, but ‘what we believe’?
Shock Doctrine calumny, ignorance, and apathy may have frozen usin the past, and ruled the day, but need not forever!
‘Just saw your reply. The human species is a large and strong animal, and can use its strength to further its ends. It is also sometimes an intelligent species that on occasion can use that intelligence to further its ends. It is probably wise to teach both, the use of and limits to violence as well as maintaining and using intelligence, its strengths, weaknesses and its powers over violence to achieve desired goals not achievable by violence. One of the best definitions of politics I’ve learned is politics is the art and skill to persuade, convince or exercise power over another to achieve one’s ends. It always helps having a good stout stick in one’s hands as well, one never knows when …
May the Great Awakening of the burgeoning revolution of higher consciousness spread to the hearts, spirits, and minds of everyone involved who can make a positive difference, including ourselves. The dark side of my heart would paraphrase Dylan:
Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear folks from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge
(cross-posted at My.fdl.com)
A very fine article, thanks I will try to chip in a few things.
this is much appreciated.
This is the mother of all problems. The bottom of the food chain in Northern Atlantic is dying off. No need to say what that means.
At least the fabled lemmings only killed themselves.
i was hoping that you might, both here and over yonder, mark. (how hard that is to type after all this time!) you know a hundred, a thousand more times than i do about climate change. i really would like to think that they would front page a round up of such crucial interest thought, science, and links. pity i have to be one of the messengers, eh? :~)
yes, and the plastic coating the bottom of the ocean is helping the deaths in other areas, at least.
in the ‘we are so screwed, as is the planet’ theme, notice i didn’t even mention fukushima and the fuel rod removal dark likelihoods? one bridge too far for today.
“you know a hundred, a thousand more times than i do about climate change”
FDL has not been a place that focussed on climate change. It’s better now than it was.
An excellent post, wd. Things are getting scary, aren’t they? The link below is a documentary of the Inuit Elders talking about the changes they are seeing – from weird wind patterns (they used the snow drifts created by the winds to navigate across the frozen lands they have traveled) to the sun being in a different spot in the sky. (our axis was knocked off a degree or two when the huge earthquakes of Haiti and Columbia hit a few years back is my reckoning) … to the permafrost melting….. And we, in our hubris, fail to recognize that millennia of observing and implementing those observations have any validity or value to us as we struggle to understand just what the hell is going on. We cannot move forward to problem solving lest we admit to the problem, and then accept all the ‘points of view’ before we determine a plan of action.
Its about 50 minutes of valuable time, but in my opinion, well worth the expenditure. (I will pop a cork, when there is a climate summit somewhere that has a place at the table for those we officially view as quaint and irrelevant – I believe they will hold the key to our survival …. but you know that about me, I think.)
I hope you enjoy it. It is the elders themselves speaking, with subtitles beneath. I also hope some of your other readers will view it as well.
And thanks for the good read and links, as always.
yes, it’s my belief for a very long time that the Indigenous would light the way forward. for now, they are so marginalized as to seem invisible, but we will trumpet their messages, as well as their plights.
there are reasons galore that Westerners choose to look away from the experiences of the First Nations people, not limited to unconscious shame of contributing to their hopeful eradication, and that their homelands are the repositories of the degraded extractions and the resultant toxins that fuel the ‘consumer society’s’ material desires.
thank you, bootsie; i look forward to watching the video, although a tilt of the planet’s axis would likely fling us all off into space, i reckon. but, that might not be a deal breaker for me, lol. i have seen pbs video reports that not just once thru alleged layered rock evidence that the polarity of the planet swapped itself, but that is something i don’t know enough about except to marvel over.
odd, but i’m finding some measure of comfort in old dylan tunes.
thank you so very much for arriving, as they say, ‘in the nick of time’. love and peace to you always, sweetie.
yes, mafr, fdl is better now about climate change issues, but mainly at the readers diaries.
Amy Goodman: “As delegates to the U.N. climate summit debate over how to meet a pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020, critics note industrialized countries spend more than five times as much money on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry as they do on helping poorer countries adapt to global warming.”
“As aid workers in the Philippines continue to dig mass graves amidst the search for possible survivors after Typhoon Haiyan, the executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, gave a moving address today to her fellow climate change delegates at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland. “Every time we attend this conference, I’m beginning to feel that we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die,” Sering says.”
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.”
Time for TOUGH Love in “PLAYHOU$E 90”; Or EL$E, you know,
Note how well the agenda flowering under senile Raygun dovetails with the Grim Reaper option. Are the stupid compradors nauseous yet?
If their spawn survive, their crimes will be disappeared (it’s a reflex) and you will be the stupid ones.
@ bruce: playhouse 90? is that a circle of hell i’ve forgotten? may i please skip the donna summers? :~) aga? american gold association?
comrade lupus! welcome. you mean that part of this plan is to reduce the surplus population via the f=grim reaper? no, part of the problem is that we stupid compradors are blithely unaware, although today’s Tom Dispatch post by mr. gitlin sees some lights in the darkness. guess it might be congenital hope thing.
but i may not be catching on to your construct, darlin’. explain it for me in simple stupid?
aha! i was watching ‘i’m not there’, and the joan baez character said that dylan blasted traditional folk (she named the ishy ‘lemon tree’) as ‘for fat people’. i considered it, and wonder if he may have been speaking of the many of us who are far too comfortably middle-class to *want* to grasp the enormity of what’s afoot, what’s to blame, and just avoid it all. shop, watch ‘survivor’, and take the good doc’s happy pills.
yeah, i been in da kitchen with the tombstone blues.
Ha! i knew there *was* one donna summers song i loved, and it finally hit me:
I tot teh OWSt. theme was a Gloria Loser(/Gaynor) cover; but P.H. 90 was the epitome of classic TV, with apocalyptic plays like “The Anthill” and was sponsored by the likes of American Gas Association (AGA) before they BECAME the Fracking PROBLEM! (& unless WE frack ‘Em FIR$T, there’ll be perpetual SUMMERS; though, as El Lobo sez, the survivors write the history books).OWSters Re-Unite, InDeed. Gaia-check, Please!
‘Green groups walk out of UN climate talks: Environment and development groups protest at slow speed and lack of ambition at Warsaw negotiations’
“Environment and development groups together with young people, trade unions and social movements walked out of the UN climate talks on Thursday in protest at what they say is the slow speed and lack of ambition of the negotiations in Warsaw.
Wearing T-shirts reading “Volverermos” (We will return), around 800 people from organisations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, the Confederation and ActionAid, handed back their registration badges to the UN and left Poland’s national stadium, where the talks are being held.
“Movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. This will be the first time ever that there has been a mass withdrawal from a COP,” said a WWF spokesman.
“Warsaw, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. We feel that governments have given up on the process,” he said.
‘Warsaw climate change conference: polluting corporations welcome: The COP 19 conference is sponsored by big polluters, including petroleum companies. Money is crowding out substantive action’
“This year’s meeting has a new feature: corporate sponsorship. Pascoe Sabido, who works with Corporate Europe Observatory – which published the pamphlet the COP 19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying: Climate Crooks and the Polish Government’s Partners in Crime – told me:
This is perhaps the most corporate climate talks we have ever experienced … not to say that previous ones haven’t had a large corporate influence. But what’s different this time is the level of institutionalization, the degree to which the Polish government and the UN, the UNFCCC, have welcomed this with open arms and have actively encouraged it.”
ah, i guess i mixed up my disco divas; sorry. no, i don’t know that program, although i remember the alcoa hour with wally cox. guess that’s more accurate than ‘the victors write the history books’; you’re right, as is comrade lobos.
damn, i wish they hadn’t kicked this post off the rec’d list. it’s so disappointing.
Listening to the second half of Democracy Now, the scientific run down on the the warm up, Dr Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin.
“We turn now to a pair of climate scientists who are calling for what some may view as a shocking solution to the climate crisis: a rethinking of the economic order in the United States and other industrialized nations. Their names are Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin. They work at the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England, as well as the University of Manchester.”
“Radical and immediate de-growth strategies.” Consume less, cut emissions, now.
A few years left to make changes.
The whole conference ignored in the good ole U$A. Not just by FDL.
Gotta love ‘OUR’ MacArthurian Volverermos environmental picketeers, taking the high road out of the Warsaw Geppetto puppet-theater! ‘We’ Are NOT “worthless and weak”; AND :
nonquixote: here it is; i need a hot bath, and mr. wd gave me a bit of a rundown. i’ll listen soon as i can. his take made me wonder.
one of the things i notice in this interview is that the scientists live in the UK where distances to travel are miniscule as compared to the US and much of the developing world. leaving aside the latter, imagine how economically comfortable you’d have to be to jettison your fridge for a smaller one, or some of the other ‘consume less’ fixes. in the eu, probably due to the external costs of fuels, they invested in public transportation a thousand times more than the US has. (dunno about canada, or the global south, but i assume it’s similar)
their partial solutions are worthy, but were baby steps as was todd gitlin’s (tomdispatch: divest! divest! divest! in energy companies; sorry, todd.) damn, this dude talks at 45 rpm when my brain is at 33 max.
i missed a bit about how the developing world needs to…?
guess i’m a bit fed up by the Big Green ngo’s, like 350.org, and at least greenpeace canada (who did back off some of their twining with industry after the fact. bill mckibben, et.al, are far too much the gatekeepers for democrat capitalists, so i wonder who convinced who to walk out?
350.org: ‘If you please, Mr. obomba; can we ask that you not approve that leg of the XL pipeline? please?”
Well, it’s true; 350 Bill wouldn’t effect my suggested Alinskyesque smoke-in “torture” session surrounding Obama in the White House, and Code Pink wouldn’t confront “Constitutional” flag-desecration amending Billary in Tampa with oil-soaked Old Glories, nor would the quaking AFSC join me in sending a red-dyed reservoired “blood-for-oil” lamp to each member of Congress at the (Game Day) outset of the BushWar II Iraq invasion; but if not them, And US, who?
But CinC Me, Scarlet; “Tomorrow is Another DAY”!
I started following Amy G on Monday and have managed to get to most of the coverage, thank goodness they went there to bring us what they did.
As a counterpoint to the developed world refusing to discuss their/our responsibility for what we have wrought and a piece i happened to catch tonight,
I just had to smile at this lady’s audacity to say what needs to be said at just about every turn. (Noticed also the Tbogg, who I could rarely read at FDL has found a convenient sidebar there.)
For Kshama Sawant, lion, looking for a brand new start.
cannot say that your imagined ‘actions’ aren’t sincerely appealing, amigo. you may be selling code pink short, though. :) you reminded me that when we held the first-ever anti-war march in cortez, co back in the day, i called some local biggies in the quaker community and invited them. missuz quaker said, ‘Oh No! we wouldn’t want to do that and give people the wrong idea.’ blink, blink. guess i never found out quite what she meant.
kshama’s been kicking some serious ass, hasn’t she? love the song, and thank you. yes, we’re fortunate to have amy, no matter who funds her. soros, did some folks claim? i forget.
added: forgot to chuckle over tbogg at raw story. i’d been aware of it, and even checeked once to see if any of his flying monkeys were in attendance. oh, my, yes: he was leaving fdl to spend more quality time with his bassets, lol.
Thanks, Wendy. Barb Grothus posted an article on FB that I’d like to share.
Hope the link works, I just copied and pasted.
good mornin’ and welcome, omali. lovely to see you, and thank you very kindly for the stellar essay. brilliant to see the parallel between the deep dark future hole in iraq and the anthropocene. mr. scranton’s owning death, and meditating on it, everyday is not unlike don juan mateus’s instructions to always be aware that death sits just over our left shoulders, and we should acknowledge that continually and intentionally. i confess i forget to for swathes of time.
i loved the idea that philosophy is essentially about learning how to die, and that this era requires musing over the grandest questions of what being human means, what the species means to the long arc of the planet’s and universe’s horizon. and of course, how to we live with the knowledge and make choices?
is inevitable catastrophic climate change so baked into the system now that all tipping points have been passed already? a lot of people sure do believe it is, and yet: bless those who are still inconvenient enough to demand that the world’s leaders come together to at least try to slow it down.
no offense wendy, my memory is full of holes, I had to giggle code pink to check my memory, ;) fortunately I remembered that orgs main program.
I was simply impressed the newly elected city council socialist speaking so plainly and forth rightly. the energy and determination that I felt from a short video was encouraging and motivating, as is the music. “all my love come tumbling down,” vm’s lyric, my gut check, my heart check of my motivations for my daily action. ” all my tears have flowed,” I have passed through my grief (often) and on to attempt remedy to the problems at hand. (((wendy))) for your inspiration and thoughts, always.
More things on the list today than there are lines….
” don juan mateus’s instructions to always be aware that death sits just over our left shoulders.”
Just unboxed that set of books, re-purposing a storage room last week and having studied all the series that is the one quote that has lurked in my consciousness for decades after. Re-purposing a room amounts to setting it up as a home studio to do positive activities rather than store inanimate objects of now debatable value.
good morning and good day, wendy, omali and all. small art commission to finish for delivery tomorrow.
nonquixote: argh; my code pink reference was to bruce. i should have been more clear. mr. wd got quite teary at van’s song. it made me recall ‘gypsy woman’ with its similarity. hugs back, and how kind of you.
i’d spent the first hours of the day in afghanistan, and in it’s war torn and barren landscape, looking at figures, motivations, military budget, and its very convenient purpose to the Lords of War and Finance. luckily for me, karzai provides some comic relief. i was looking for a time frame for a meme of old, and got into my (ahem, too extensive) documents file, and saw just how long i’ve been blogging on that clusterfuck, and felt one of those time lord shifts inside myself. chebetts has another post up positing that time, events, realities are all of our own making, but in any event, this is sorta the reality that most of us suffering the Wrath of our oppressors live in. ooh, sorry. i seem to have the long stare this mornin’, like prisoners will get.
there are days that i can welcome death comin’ for me, especially if t’were quick.
omali: thank you again, and love to you, also. and a song for you, and all of us:
walkinboots, thanks for the video link – unfortunately my computer isn’t handling it very well. I got only a little way in and then it refused to go any further. Did love the dogs, and a wonderful Orthodox cathedral quilt on one of the couches, breathtaking scenery. I think the tilt of the earth’s axis occurred when the huge undersea slippage happened that caused devastating tsunamis to ripple around from Indonesia, but no doubt the later one off Japan also did so. I wish I could have watched the video further – did they say what the effect was – sun coming sooner back north or what? (I only got as far as the thickness of the ice affected by the warmth of the sea.)
Thanks also for the nyt article, though I think the author poses an impossiblity when he ends that we should first think about death in order to be able to think about life – to my mind it is exactly the reverse. Perhaps the answer lies in his repeated admonition against thinking each day will be exactly like this one. If each day will be worse than the one before down to the ultimate extinction scenario, we are being given very little to build our lives on. The reality is, we really don’t know. Fortunately.
I would rather think of each day as a gift and a surprise. I would rather see the terrible storms as having the natural effect of reestablishing life, even in their destructive aspects. If our governments won’t do it, nature will. If man won’t do it, the elements will take over. As it was in the beginning.
All we have done and are doing is a drip in time – yes, that’s what philosophy can teach us, but I think it is teaching us how to live. We all have to die; that has always been the case, no big insight there. When death stares us in the face, let’s relearn how to live – that’s the real challenge.
Little children, love one another and love the earth our home.
I am thinking back to an Italian film “Life is beautiful”. That is where we find ourselves, isn’t it? Like the Jewish man in the death camp trying to give his son joy in being a child, weaving fantastic tales for him whilst all the while the ‘death over the shoulder’ meme is taking its toll. And having that child to teach, doesn’t the man himself become more alive, more human? Not in looking at death, but in facing death down with life.
Life is a gift; it is so beautiful. We have it now. We don’t need to look at death; it will come for us soon enough but if we are philosophically inclined, we will live our lives to the very end. That’s the challenge.
you’ve reminded me of the randian theory of ‘creative destruction’. :)
but this, the author pointed out, is anything *but* in the natural order, and to me, his point was more about: knowing all this, and imaging our own deaths, and the death of our species, or this iteration of it, can and should cause us to make our choices more clearly. the often asked ‘if this were your last moment alive, is this what you’d be doing with it?’ his further point was (i’ll extrapolate) almost none of us in this culture, at least, ever faces the fact that we will die, thus never live with the finiteness of life underpinning the parts we can cherish.
sadly, life is not even close to beautiful for millions of our brothers and sisters around the globe, and i’d never deign to advise them on what meditations might be of value to them.
but about the earth’s axis tilting, a tilt in space would be devastating. nasa says this, because a few websites are claiming that fact:
“Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., applied a complex model to perform a preliminary theoretical calculation of how the Japan earthquake—the fifth largest since 1900—affected Earth’s rotation. His calculations indicate that by changing the distribution of Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second).
The calculations also show the Japan quake should have shifted the position of Earth’s figure axis (the axis about which Earth’s mass is balanced) by about 17 centimeters (6.5 inches), towards 133 degrees east longitude. Earth’s figure axis should not be confused with its north-south axis; they are offset by about 10 meters (about 33 feet). This shift in Earth’s figure axis will cause Earth to wobble a bit differently as it rotates, but it will not cause a shift of Earth’s axis in space—only external forces such as the gravitational attraction of the sun, moon and planets can do that.”
think of all the forces that hold it where it is, and even the pulling (and not) forces that cause the apogee and perigee of its travels around the sun.
i forgot to add the song; to me, the first line speaks to all the rest:
given that we’re the only species that recognizes (or can choose to know it, lol) that we will die, isn’t there a reason for that, even in a ‘God-created us this way’ context?
Well, life wasn’t beautiful for the Jewish man in the concentration camp either – until he made it be. My point was not to forget all the downtrodden but to say they are the ones facing reality, many of them with joy because they are the ones who really know that life is indeed a beautiful gift to be treasured, life itself and death in no way can match it.
Here’s a commondreams article on the same theme, maybe says it better – I like their suggestion this is not the androcene age but the corporacene age. 90 big corporations are responsible for most of the pollution we all have to suffer under. We have to stop badmouthing the human race. Sure it has imperfections but get those behemoths gone and just see, nature will come ripping back!
The ultimate question is, how do we bell the cat? We’ve been trying lo these many years and the cat just smirks. I say, we don’t give up and take death as the answer – no, we enlist nature on our side. We already do that in so many ways. Nature, whether you believe in a god or many gods or no gods, pulls for life – did it on its own very determinedly for eons before we walked the earth. I think Nature will trump the puny corporation hands down – whether we’ll be around to help that happen, well, I’m optimistic we will, some of us. We’ll have to adapt, but humans did so long before cell phones and the like, and they’ll do it again.
I’d like it to be a gentle transition of course. I don’t know (thank goodness) how it’s going to happen. But certainly the signs are there that it is happening. And my bet is the corporations are gonna topple like the mansions on the coast during Sandy.
I don’t know if civilization will change and survive – who’s got the crystal ball on that I’d like to know? Too many people saying how things are going to go, how the hell (excuse me) do they know? And no, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe we die, all of us, in the end. Gosh, I grew up knowing that.
Frankly, I think that essay is so negative sounding we might as well just smile at the corporations and all feel guilty as heck for what we’ve done and are doing to the planet, forget about teaching our children to treat it well, just party on till oblivion, dancing with death. Not gonna do it.
Mighty fine discussion thread, wendye! (Good one over at fdl also.) Thanks for your research on the Polish debacle – something good is going to come out of that, I feel.
i think that we are talking past each other here, juliania. you and the author at common dreams seem focused on the ‘adapt’ portion. for me, what was important was the facing death, thus becoming free parts. much in the same way, i believe that not facing our inner demons cuts us off from truly living a higher existence. mr. scranton accepted his coming death as a definite possibility, integrated into his *Life* so fully that he seemed to have neutered his ego, and let his life be in service to his fellow soldiers.
yes, i was troubled at the many on Ian’s post that dismissed humanity as always and ever having been rapcious despoliers of the planet, too greedy and self-serving to deserve any other outcome but this one. but it’s only a minority who profit, and a lot of the rest in the west, are either ignorant about what’s at stake, and their part in over-consumption, or haven’t bottomed out enough to face the truth, and give up some of their ways.
have i somehow given you the impression that i’ve given up the fight in futility, juliania? egad, woman: i write, therefore…i am.
No, I don’t think so, wendye, but maybe ‘facing death’ has a different meaning for you – I wasn’t thinking of ‘facing our inner demons’ at all but just using the inevitability of death (a person’s or a civilizations) as the measure of what is important.
Yes, I most definitely know how positive you yourself are, I was just responding to the article, which struck me as having a predetermined end to the journey of life in general as being the illuminating factor. I was trying to say that it is life itself that illumines, not in any way judging anyone else’s attitude – just what was presented in the article, and that I disagree.
It’s good that Mr. Scranton found himself able to be compassionate and helpful accepting the clear possibility he’d die in Afghanistan. It’s what binds a lot of soldiers to that war ethic – so much so that they will want to go back to be with their buddies because that’s where they feel truly alive.
I’m sorry, I don’t like the idea of us all living that way, that’s all.
i mentioned ‘facing our inner demons’ just as a parallel theme, really. but i still see both as a coin that has two sides, dark/light. death/life, joyful/painful, the taoist symbol, if you will. embracing both sides, or acknowledging them in some of the binaries i mentioned, can make the richest texture of life possible.
did the jewish man in the camp revel in his life’s memories *as he embraced his death*, perhaps? was that his way of *not* going gently into that good night?
but yes, we may be understanding death very differently.
and no, i don’t think soldier camaraderie was what mr. scranton was describing, or else he wouldn’t have noticed a change in his new perceptions of service. he just had already died metaphorically, so was freed. but that puts me in mind of a meditation one of my teachers had us practice, and it was going through the motions of hara kiri in order to teach us to be more…whole beings, i guess she might have said.
well, anyway, it’s a hard subject to parse and perhaps harder to take each other’s meanings. peace to you, and to me, as well. :)
@Juliana – I am so sorry about the film not playing all the way through. The Inuit, apparently because of the hostile environment, have always been very observant – they mentioned the sun now setting (iirc) in a new part of their sky. They were appalled. They used to be able to tell by the winds, in the morning what the weather in the day ahead would be – but none can determine now what the weather will be – the winds no longer blow from the same, and thus, a predictable way any more. The children are taught from their early years to observe the winds, the tides, the animals, all in order to be able to assess what the day ahead will hold for them weather wise. They used the wind to, also to determine which direction to go in, because the wind would shape the snow drifts in a certain way. Now with the winds blowing in unpredictable ways that cannot be used. Of particular concern of the women was the condition of the skins from the seals. Their pelts have always been used to make all kinds of clothing but now the skins are thin, they crumble and tear when they work on them. And their view of what is going on with the polar bears is completely at odds with our ‘scientific’ observation. Needless to say the Inuits do not think the science of those South of them is worth a hill of beans.
I hope this helps. I will go trawling again and see if I can find a more functional link.
for Juliana and anyone else interested, (hopefully this link will play better for you, Lady J.)
@ walkinboots; it seems to, although i haven’t made the required time. i really will try to, though. RL has intruded, as ever.
i hoped not to be overly bald, but i am about to, anticipating that you may be gone for a time to seek your own counsel.
yes, we see death and our meditation on it, and what it might bring to each of us differently. i will say that as the daughter of a suicide, and that statistically makes that choice more available to one: given the condition my condition is in (so to speak) , allows me to see death as a choice, not a punishment visited on me from whatever outside agencies. if it comes for me, and hopefully quickly, so much the better. my sole reservations are that i still seem to have some use as a parent and grandparent, and that i really won’t know if i’m ready until the final moment.
in terms of condition X occurring once again, i would rather choose the great beyond, and although i would hesitate in my unknowingness, i might choose it as a better alternative.
in the meantime, my main hope, wish, and…the thing that drives me every single day, is that when i reach the end, i will be able to tell myself that i’ve kicked the hell outta life, and that i wish i could have made amends to those i’ve harmed in life. simple for me, not for you, perhaps, and mr. wd is trying to accept it, but is getting there, at least i hope. ;) yes, life is beautiful sometimes, but so must death be. it’s just a part of the cycle, and we, life can’t ever really die, imo. just change shapes.