Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Warming Wednesdays: Occupy Earth



In honor of the General Strike called by Occupy Oakland (proceeding vigorously as I write) here's a teaser from an article by Chip Ward.

At some point, we'll discover that you can't exist for long beyond the boundaries of the natural world, that (as with every other species) if you overload the carrying capacity of your habitat, you crash. Warming temperatures, chaotic weather patterns, extreme storms, monster wildfires, epic droughts, Biblical floods, an avalanche of species extinction ... that collapse is upon us now. In the human realm, it translates into hunger and violence, mass migrations and civil strife, failed states and resource wars.
Like so much else these days, the crash, as it happens, will not be suffered in equal measure by all of us. The 1%-ers will be atop the hill, while the 99% will be in the flood lands below swimming for their lives, clinging to debris, or drowning. The Great Recession has previewed just how that will work.

An unsustainable economy is inherently unfair, and worse is to come. After all, the car is heading for the cliff's edge, the grandkids are in the backseat, and all we're arguing about is who can best put the pedal to the metal.

Give credit where it's due: It's been the genius of the protesters in Zuccotti Park to shift public discourse to whether the distribution of economic burdens and rewards is just and whether the economic system makes us whole or reduces and divides us. It's hard to imagine how we'll address our converging ecological crises without first addressing the way accumulating wealth and power has captured the political system. As long as Washington is dominated and intimidated by giant oil companies, Wall Street speculators, and corporations that can buy influence and even write the rules that make buying influence possible, there's no meaningful way to deal with our economy's addiction to fossil fuels and its dire consequences.

Read it all at Grist.

Photo shows student at City College of San Francisco noontime rally in support of Occupy Oakland.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of that inconvenient truth.

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