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It's Time for the Global Warming Prophets to Speak Up

We do not have to accept the lie that we cannot prosper without expanding our fossil fuel use, or that we need more time to build a meaningful alternative.

A platform and sign in a Tar Sands Blockade tree village.
Photo Credit: Laura Borealis / Tar Sands Blockade


This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

A prophet is a visionary who sees what is happening in history more clearly than most of the people who are the companions of this awakening person.  A prophet sees the future more clearly, not in the sense of predicting what is going to happen, but in the sense of clarity about the options for human action that can be taken now and the probable outcomes of those actions or inactions.  Being a global warming prophet today means getting the full extent to this problem stated in the kind of poetry that convicts the soul and enlivens the feet. 

Burning fossil fuels is a “crime” of massive destruction against the planet and all its life forms, including humanity.

This is the core truth that a global warming prophet needs to cry out for “as long as it takes” for humanity to hear it and live it.  Global warming deniers are rejecting this truth because it calls into question almost everything they believe, as well as entails a serious challenge to the self-interests that are protected by believing this truth to be false.  Their very “self” is called in question.  That is why their resistance is so strong.

Fossil fuel companies have already found and are planning to sell and put into the atmosphere three or more times as much carbon as required to set in motion unstoppable disasters.  Yet their business plans show no interest in leaving some of that resource in the ground.  Rather, they are making plans to find more.  They are willing to extend their drilling to the depths of the oceans or to the most sensitive wilderness areas no matter what the consequences will be to those places or to the long range effects of burning that fuel.

A global warming prophet needs to point out that this makes those companies criminals – not against our inadequate current laws, but against humanity, the planet, and plain common sense.

To the somewhat more innocent general population, the global warming prophet must keep elaborating the following: “The Seas will rise, the hurricanes will become stronger and stronger.  Eastern Seaboard cities of the US will become uninhabitable, washed to their deaths by so many floods that rebuilding is futile.  Currently inhabited low-lying islands will disappear entirely.  Bread baskets of rich agricultural land will become deserts.   Previously dry places will become lakes.  Floods and droughts will appear where they never experienced before.”   Perhaps such language will get and is getting some people’s attention.  But more is required.  The case needs to be made that denying global warming, or the extent of its consequences, or the human agency in causing the CO2 buildup is a crime against humanity, the Earth, and plain honesty, even if it not yet a crime with regard to the laws of the society.

Furthermore, a truthful global-warming prophet will need to take on the moderate liberal in his or her halfway responding.  “Even those of us who do believe the truth of global warming and its consequences and who are willing to act upon these realizations need to confess that we are nevertheless guilty of the crime of burning fossil fuels whenever we switch on a light or press the starter on our automobile.  Even if we drive a Prius and opt for an electric bill that presupposes green energy production, we only moderate the evil in which we participate.  There is no escape from participation in this criminal society in which we are embedded.”

Believing the truth of global warming means that for us to be persons of integrity, we must confess our guilt in supporting solutions to this crisis that are trivial.  We are being called to upgrade our thought and action to a more serious level: namely, dismantling (rather than repairing) this entire social fabric and building an alternative way for all of us to live.

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