Sunday, April 21, 2019

No More Excuses by George Monbiot

No one is coming to save us.  Only rebellion will prevent an environmental apocalypse

{ George Monbiot writes eloquently about the despair that comes with climate science awareness in the face of today’s political situation along with the need to resist succumbing to hopelessness and inaction.  He suggests, IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER!  Although much destruction is already in the pipeline and heading our way so we’ll see few immediate benefits of our actions.  Still, immediate action is required because every failure will only make the down stream destruction even more horrendous.  I provide some quotes from his recent article and encourage you to link to the full version to read all of it, much is missing from this summary. }
published in the Guardian April 15th, 2019, posted online April 20th.
Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents.

The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel, we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo. Every messenger, and every message they bear, is disqualified, on the grounds of either impurity or purity.
As the environmental crisis accelerates, and as protest movements like YouthStrike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion make it harder not to see what we face, people discover more inventive means of shutting their eyes and shedding responsibility. 
Underlying these excuses is a deep-rooted belief that if we really are in trouble, someone somewhere will come to our rescue: “they” won’t let it happen. But there is no they, just us.
The political class, as anyone who has followed its progress over the past three years can surely now see, is chaotic, unwilling and, in isolation, strategically incapable of addressing even short-term crises, let alone a vast existential predicament. …

The media, with a few exceptions, is actively hostile.   …  

I see despair as another variety of disavowal. …

Every nonlinear transformation in history has taken people by surprise. As Alexei Yurchak explains in his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union – Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – systems look immutable until they suddenly disintegrate. As soon as they do, the disintegration retrospectively looks inevitable. …

This is less daunting than we might imagine. As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilize. …

Today, Extinction Rebellion takes to streets around the world in defense of our life support systems. Through daring, disruptive, non-violent action, it forces our environmental predicament onto the political agenda. Who are these people? Another “they”, who might rescue us from our follies? The success of this mobilization depends on us. It will reach the critical threshold only if enough of us cast aside denial and despair, and join this exuberant, proliferating movement. The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun.

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