The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘climate change

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

How’s the heat where you are? NYC has been sizzling for a few weeks. Just brutal out there. But we also had torrential rains that flooded the subways. Meanwhile Canadian villages are literally burning to the ground these days from the heat. What I find interesting about these weather phenomenons is that they are becoming more extreme at an extremely fast pace. Just within a span of a couple of years unthinkable things have been happening (Texas freezes!) It’s not as if scientists didn’t warn us about climate change… And they even warned us about how rapidly these things would start happening. And we are watching it in real time…

This is an open thread!

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

The weather upstate NY has been bananas. Over the last couple of days we got a few inches of snow. Then it melted overnight. Then it snowed again in the morning. And then rained in the afternoon. Before snowing again in the evening. Things are so crazy even Lindsey Graham says he now believes in climate change! Plot twist!

This past week we also saw the meteoric rise and fall of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s KKK caucus. They were so nuts even the Freedom Caucus said they wanted no part of it. The only person who joined were Paul Gossar and Matt Gaetz. Before Gossar said he changed his mind and then Greene said she never read the proposal her white-people-only caucus and the media just blew it all out of proportion. So back to the drawing table for the KKK.

How was your week everyone?

This is an open thread!

Here is Madonna with Rain (featuring her long-term back-up singers/dancers Nikki Harris and Donna DeLory) during “The Girlie Show” live from Australia. The choreography in the second half of the song is by Gene Kelly.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Magazine

As DYB said on Saturday, everything is terrible. But if we elect the right people in November, we may finally get some action on issues the U.S. has recently been lagging behind on – even when Democrats were entirely in charge from 2008-2010.

My complaints as a liberal with regard to elected Democrats in those days:

  1. Our actions on climate change were not aggressive enough – even the Paris Accords were weak sauce given the state of emergency.
  2. We failed to address economic and social justice with the urgency they required. Indeed, under Obama, economic inequality soared, and deportation and cruelty towards immigrants grew. (As we know, the main differences between Hillary and Obama were domestic issues, not foreign policy issues.)

The problem I always had with Obama was that he did not differentiate, policy-wise, between Republicans and Democrats. His messaging was great for campaigning, but not for governing. “We’re all one” doesn’t win the liberal arguments that government solutions are required for complex problems  like the environment; taxation to solve those problems can be reasonably accomplished without pain to the middle and lower classes; and that economic justice and social justice are intertwined.

There are many things we can do to drive these three liberal messages home. The coronavirus, as horrific as it is, may provide an opportunity to do so.

“A crisis like this brings to people’s minds that maybe the risk we’ve been talking about with climate change is not so far fetched; that actually all these extreme weather episodes of the last five years add up to something,” he says. “So we may see an expectation that government should respond accordingly.”

That, says Barbara Buchner, is one reason why efforts at rebuilding in the wake of the pandemic must take into account longer-term strategies, and incorporate sustainability at their core.

“Obviously the first priority here must be to protect the public health,” Buchner says. But there is no greater second priority than using this crisis to really accelerate the low-carbon transition that is already ongoing, because climate change is threatening our very civilization.”

Buchner believes that any economic stimulus plan ought to be geared not only to jump-start the global economy but to invest further in post-hydrocarbon infrastructure.

“This in turn will create new economic opportunities and also address a set of challenges—including making businesses more sustainable,” she says. “I think ultimately the real question is: do we lock ourselves into the use of fossil fuels in our infrastructure choices today, or do we instead use this crisis as a moment to accelerate the transition that is already on its way?”

In my heart, I truly do understand where some people who vote for Bernie Sanders are coming from – but it’s what they choose to do about it that makes me crazy. Why would they waste their passion on a destructive, do-nothing old crank like Bernie? And why don’t they understand that, as imperfect as the Democrats are, they get us further than Republicans, who hurtle us into fascism and war, and tank the economy, every.single.time.they.are.in.office?!!!?!?!?!?!

Whatever happens, one thing is clear: we must, MUST vote blue all the way down the ballot in November. A true draining of the swamp is needed before any forward progress can be made.

Open thread, bien sur. (Oldie but goodie below…)

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Remember this guy? Why, it’s Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, one of the many Democratic candidates for President (starting with Al Gore in 2000) who lost to a Republican under extremely questionable circumstances. He’s back, Botoxed and ready for action. In fact, he’s ready for war.

World War Zero, Kerry’s new organization for climate activism, has as its goal a world with zero carbon emissions by 2050. Many people you’ll recognize are members, including President Bill Clinton. Unlike many other organizations, however, Secretary Kerry frames it through a military lens. Here’s the call to action:

We’re uniting unlikely allies with one common mission: making the world respond to the climate crisis the same way we mobilized to win World War II.

Join the movement to achieve net zero carbon emissions and create millions of new jobs in the process.

Together, we’ll win this war.

Join us and enlist today.

I am both intrigued and a bit scared by this, but you know what? It will take a LOT of people mobilizing to force corrupt governments (like ours now, unfortunately) to take the unprecedented action needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

So let’s welcome JK back to the public eye, and I hope in his new incarnation he, and his new group, can make a dent in the world’s determined obduracy on this topic.

Oh by the way, the House Intelligence Committee releases its report today. So yeah, it’s going to be a big week.

This is an open thread.

 

 

Do you remember this article from a couple of years back? It was big in the media for a few days. Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.

Having a child contributes some thirty times as much to warming the planet as the next closest action an individual can take: living without a car.

 

Climate change impact of having a child: each one adds 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. Using a car adds 2.4 tCO2e per year.

 

 

And yet, amidst all the discussion of air travel and bicycling and electric vehicles, there’s a ban on mentioning population control.

Another example I came across recently was in a very encouraging article about greening the Sahel in Africa.

… {Farmers had a] cheap, effective way to regreen the Sahel. They did so by using simple water harvesting techniques and protecting trees that emerged naturally on their farms.

Garrity recalls walking through farms in Niger, fields of grains like millet and sorghum stretching to the sun planted around trees, anywhere from a handful to 80 per acre. “In most cases, the trees are in random locations because they sprouted and the farmer protected them and let them grow,” he says. [Depending on species] [t]he trees can be cut for fuel… They can be pruned for livestock fodder. Their leaves and fruit are nutritious.

One tree, Faidherbia albida, goes dormant during the wet season when most trees grow. When the rains begin, the trees defoliate, dropping leaves that fertilize the soil. Because they have dropped their leaves, the trees do not shade crops during the growing season. Their value had long been recognized by farmers….

[But] “He laments that work is moving too slowly. With the Sahel’s population doubling in 20 years, Reij says regreening needs to be finished within 10 to 15 years.”

He makes it sound as if this doubling is a great force beyond human influence, like a solar storm or a meteor strike. It’s not. It’s merely human reproduction. We’re helpless only because the subject is so untouchable it can’t even be said out loud.

What’s up with that?

I think the answer lies in the two possible trajectories to control births.

One is coercive. China’s one child policy is perhaps the most famous recent example. Since women are the ones giving birth, you have to control women. You punish them if they have too many children. You enforce abortions on mothers. Or, if you’re a Nazi in the 1930s who wants lots of blond babies and no browner ones, you try to enforce a eugenics program on women. You sterilize gypsies or the disabled or Jews while giving “your” women the option to be incubators or nothing.

All those methods involve hideously totalitarian pre-emption of individual choice and body autonomy (like the supporters of forced pregnancy, but we’re more used to them so it doesn’t feel as outlandish). But on the bright side, they don’t require any changes to misogynist and patriarchal social systems.

The other trajectory is to give women control over their own reproduction. Wherever that is done, birth rates drop dramatically. They may not fall all the way to replacement levels, but they get much closer than any other method. Giving women control works, it works sustainably and long term.

But.

But it deprives society of its main tool to control all aspects of women’s lives. Your reliable producers of the next generation, your unpaid domestic servants and nannies and handholders and caregivers, gradually find other things to do with their lives. Members of the upper caste might have to do their own dishes. Your whole system falls apart.

And therein lies the rub. All our current problems are made much worse by overpopulation. Dealing with that requires treating women like human beings. Which gives the patriarchy the vapors.

So suddenly respect for medieval religions and medieval cultures make it impossible to promote birth control. They might be offended!

There’s not the same action-limiting respect when it comes to things that serve the caste system. Porn is all over the place even though the Pope disapproves. But breastfeeding is too avantgarde for the delicate sensibilities of men on Facebook. Nor is there ever equivalent concern that women object to being erased.

The discrepancy has a name. Sady Doyle wrote about it almost three years ago, Trump, Putin, Assange, and the politics of sexism. Supposedly all three are exponents of radically different systems, and yet they have a lizard brain-level understanding that they’re on the same side. Her focus is social and political effects, but the same allergy to anything kind or well-meaning is everywhere.

Recently, reactionaries have made The Misogyny of Climate Deniers obvious by their revolting comments against a 16 year old who’s done nothing except use the full weight of all the evidence to disagree with them.

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, … both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another. … Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.

Misogyny isn’t the only motivation of reactionaries. There’s greed and garden variety hatred in there, too, but misogyny is the core. It’s misogyny, not greed or racism or ordinary hatred, that makes men fear weakness more than anything. And fear of weakness is what ties together the worst of what they do.

They think strong man governments are a good idea. They like guns and “defence” — war, really, so long as somebody else dies in it. Peace is only tolerable “through strength.” The reactionaries are against anything that doesn’t shout big power. They like nukes because gigawatts! dangerous! The truth is that even building a new gigawatt nuke every two months from 2010 till 2050 would solve only a small part of climate change and energy needs. Meanwhile renewables could provide all our energy by 2050 for a fraction of the cost and without radioactive waste. But distributed power, whether that’s rooftop solar or real democracy, strikes reactionaries as la-la limp-wristed hippie crap. Likewise, restraint against environmental destruction is pathetic weakness in the face of hard choices.

And weakness is the worst thing you can show. They (“They”) come and take your man card away. It’s the only thing that gave you any standing and it’s gone.

That is a future so horrible it’s worth burning the world down to avoid it. It must never be spoken lest saying its name calls it forth.

Crossposted from Acid Test.


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