McKibben Versus Hedges' Clash of Worldviews: How Do We Solve the Environmental Crisis?
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So here’s the good news. The planet’s immune system is finally kicking in. When we started organizing 350.org 18 months ago, the task seemed a little ludicrous—we were a small band, mostly recent college graduates, with little money. How were we going to get the world behind an arcane piece of scientific data?
But it turns out that everywhere around the world there are people deeply worried about the planet’s fate, and given even a small platform to stand, on they’re willing to shout their loudest. At this writing, activists have scheduled events in about 170 nations, which is pretty much all the nations there are. (Nothing in North Korea yet). There will be thousands and thousands of rallies: bike rides that cover 350 kilometers, climbers high on the melting slopes of Mount Everest, even the cabinet of the government of the Maldives holding an official underwater meeting to send a 350 resolution to the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen.
Some of these actions are so beautiful they make you weep: around the dwindling Dead Sea, Israeli activists will form a giant human 3 on their shore, and Palestinians a 5 on their beach, and in Jordan a huge 0. The message: even in places with deep divisions, people understand that the crisis that faces us now calls for real unity.
You’re a part of this planet. Feel good about the rippling message now going out around the earth: if we shout it loud enough, even our leaders will hear. Already 92 nations have endorsed a 350 target (albeit the poorest countries on Earth). But we need you involved, too. Right now: figure out an action to join on October 24, or start one of your own. And use your email address book to send out an alert—in a wired age, you can be a useful Paul Revere. Or, to go back to my earlier metaphor, if the earth has an immune system, then you’re an antibody. Get to work!
A Reality Check From the Brink of Extinction
by Chris Hedges, TruthDig
We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee.
"If we all wait for the great, glorious revolution there won't be anything left," author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I interviewed him in a phone call to his home in California. "If all we do is reform work, this culture will grind away. This work is necessary, but not sufficient. We need to use whatever means are necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet. We need to target and take down the industrial infrastructure that is systematically dismembering the planet. Industrial civilization is functionally incompatible with life on the planet, and is murdering the planet. We need to do whatever is necessary to stop this."
The oil and natural gas industry, the coal industry, arms and weapons manufacturers, industrial farms, deforestation industries, the automotive industry and chemical plants will not willingly accept their own extinction. They are indifferent to the looming human catastrophe. We will not significantly reduce carbon emissions by drying our laundry in the backyard and naively trusting the power elite. The corporations will continue to cannibalize the planet for the sake of money. They must be halted by organized and militant forms of resistance. The crisis of global heating is a social problem. It requires a social response.