January 2020, A New Decade To Save Ourselves

Earth, Love it or Lose it, Christyl Rivers, Phd

January 2020 did not begin with much hope. Some people feared an outbreak of WWIII with Iran, Iraq, USA, among other players. Civil unrest continued, the world over. Australia is on fire. The US president is being impeached. An outbreak in Wuhan China will take us God knows where. Politics divide friends and family.

Despair of suffering wildlife and human loss could easily overwhelm any caring person. Floods and famine drive the growing spill of refugees. Birds fell out of the sky, a heating ocean, pollution, and more are daily concerns. This is just a tiny fraction of it. But, don’t despair.

I believe that human hope and optimism is the best tool we have. Yes. Have your sorrowful feelings for scorched koalas and dying wombats. It is important to allow human expression, as it makes us realize what work we need to do. It creates the compassion we need.

More than anything else, unite with those you love. Unite, too, with those you disagree with the most. In finding our common ground we have a much better chance to recreate, and clean that ground, and grow human demand to do better with a burgeoning ground swell of hope.

We all have work to do, from daily waste management to reshaping governments. It is the work that it will take to re-grow a healthy attitude, love for one another, and planet.

Happy 2020, and may you find power in participation of hope!

Why Youth Activism Is Dismissed By The Right

They don’t hate Greta Thunberg, They just don’t Grok her

The right stuff got us to the moon, but we need youth to get us back to Earth

The far right doesn’t always have the right stuff.  A lot of people want to dismiss, or even worse criticize, youth movements fighting for a better world.

The Hong Kong students, and the Parkland teens are just two examples.

Greta Thunberg, recently recognized as Time Magazine 2019 person of the Year, was met with tons of anger from right wing blogs and print screeds to ridicule from the President of the United States.

I think that they think Greta, and her generation, are not grateful for less poverty and hunger in the world. They also charge that much activism is just complaining about how terrible it all is. They see those leading a charge to avoid suffering as an accusation that the powers that be destroyed, or will destroy, the world. They fear that modern environmentalists and climate justice allies are driven by ideology that seeks to condemn the modern world.

They see the talk of avoiding doom and gloom to mean that there is only alarmism for doom and gloom.  In fact, they see Greta’s self-healing through her activism as proof of her being manipulated and controlled by adult handlers.

I think the right sees “alarmism” because it’s just too much for them to consider that there really are fires, floods, heat waves, droughts, famines and refugees that must be addressed with every available tool. One of those tools diverts defense spending from machines, to needs of people.

Another reason is that they have already invested in other scapegoats to blame these things upon: natural cycles, nature (who is a real bitter bitch that must be conquered) selfish and self-absorbed youth culture, feminism and LGBTQ, and of course, immigrants and non-white, non-Christians.

From the point of view of the activists, however, it is blindness to pretend that these are things we should not address. Hope always resides in those who see injustice and believe they can work toward a better world.

How can kids know the world as well as they that built it?

The right seems to be saying that “these kids just don’t know anything. They’re kids.” And, with that same cynicism, they pontificate upon how without oil, industry, and tradition should garner a lot more respect for the world they made for their children.

Curiously, at the same time they accuse the young with wanting to return to a fantasy world of no oil, back yard farms, and some sort of feudal system. They lack the imagination to see that the youth don’t want to turn back the clock. They want to overthrow the system that we have clearly outgrown, and that no longer works.

Youth, and marginalized voices, silenced for far too long advocate for an even more productive, safe, and technologically savvy network of every kind of producers.

About this time, Socialism, or rather fear of it, raises its ugly head.

Socialism and capitalism are forever at odds? Right? No. There are ways to take the best of both worlds. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are a threat to the status quo, specifically because they want to rebalance wealth and representation. They have tapped into an energy.

This energy is just as frightening to the right, as filthy, dirty power influence of the Oil baron age is to the youth.

A greener planet, with cleaner air, water, soil, and especially energy, is the most optimistic thing ever imagined, from the point of view of innovators, scientists, and engineers, to say nothing of artists, entertainers, inspiration makers, and farmers.

It’s not the End of the World–to them

The right seems to believe that caring about extinction implies the End of the World, which it does not. Greta says listen to the science, but they say, “Oh, these kids are saying it’s mass extinction, and we’re all going to die.” Well, opinions vary, but many of us DO realize that we are in a sixth mass extinction, in addition to a polluted, heating and compromised world.

Is this “End of the World” alarmism? Well not if we stop fighting, denying, and piddling around. We can start planting trees as well as taking every conceivable improvement we can create.

If it is alarmism to note bad things are happening and we need every level of society to cooperate, than maybe we do need a bit more panic.

When anyone charges rightwing mouthpieces with bullying, they say, “Oh, we love the Girl. She’s so brave. But she is being used. She is being exploited.”

It is not the Earth, they think that is being exploited, nor is it the most vulnerable among us who brunt the greatest weight of climate change, but they think it is this unfortunate, vulnerable child who is being propped up so her handlers can  come and take their power, guns, offices, and oil.

Okay. Well maybe there is a bit for them there to be somewhat concerned about.

Finally, the right is very fond of saying that Greta Thunberg and her cause is inconsequential. They don’t understand why someone who merely held a sign up should inspire anyone. That she does inspire, and that she, Greta, was in turn inspired by the Parkland Shooting Teen Protestors says a lot.

Greta Thunberg got millions more marching where Al Gore and Bill Mckibben, and all the rest, could barely get a few scant million. She gave hope and healing to hundreds of thousands, if not millions more. I know this for a fact because I am not the only one to openly proclaim that my despair has become recharged into hope.

Such healing is the opposite of inconsequential. In fact, it is the only thing that ever got any true progression to happen in this world.

Does the Carbon Debate Also Tax Your Relationships?

People are very polarized, as you notice each day now. The newest, widening division is about climate.

People are defensive about “man made” climate change because the implication is that we are all guilty. People can’t face the idea of being blamed, and in fact, they shouldn’t.

Certainly, some are more guilty than others, but this is victim blaming. As in the opiate crisis, the many, many dead were judged for their habits, and often, their  “culture” for far too long. Let’s point the finger instead to the dealers.

It is the dealers of the world who profit most, literally, from our addiction to fossil fuels. It was recently revealed that the top twenty polluting corporations of the world not only grow rich on toxic fuel, they are the origin of fully one third of all greenhouse gases spewing into your air each and every day.

Not only that, but they actively played crucial roles in the divide you see today. By undermining the science and blowing the smoke of confusion over public understanding, they have poisoned the well of human discourse, all the while that they poison the planet.

All this denial and all this dirty stuff is the real reason you are afraid to sit down at the table with your Aunt Mary, and racist, Uncle Bob. If you don’t yet realize that racism, sexism, inequality, disproportionate wealth, and climate justice are related, then you just have to talk  even more openly to those whose opinions you cannot yet understand.

The IMF is proposing a higher tax on carbon. But this does nothing to lift up the real victims and give them empowerment. It just seeks to tax those least responsible who are working people dependent on energy to buy all that plastic wrapped food.

Let’s not let them do it. It’s really, really important to our civilization that we unite against the real baddies. And, that’s why you have to keep love and conversation alive at the Thanksgiving Day Table.

Back From Canada

And wondering where to get personal involvement (not just charitable) with nature causes on Hawaii Island. Like planting trees? Call me.

We returned after a long summer in Canada and Cascades. At least this year, the whole place was not burning down.

Now back to work.

I want your stories of where you stand on climate. Think it’s crucial to address? Think that it is a leftist hoax? Think capitalism is to blame? Or kleptocracy and corruption?

A tipping point has been reached, it seems, with Greta and Extinction Rebellion and at last a focus on some kind (almost any kind) of Green New Deal.

Oh, and they are impeaching the president who found a way to make something else more important than the fate of our planet. Corruption. Kurds. Complacency. It’s all tied together, isn’t it?