Blog post

And so we have it. At noon today (PST), we saw the predictable collapse of Democrat resolve to address the most serious crisis of our times.

So what. Big surprise.

The most likely bills were horrifically flawed (don't get me started on the Kerry Lieberman joke, the one where the punchline was my childrens' future). The public demand for truly significant, timely progress on energy and climate simply isn't there. This was never going to happen in the first place.

We can point  fingers at Washington, DC, but we should be pointing them at ourselves. We allow our votes to be taken for granted. We equate online activism with real-world pressure. We talk smartly of responsible consumption and equitable resource distribution--while waiting in line to purchase new iPhones. We hold hands when we should be holding feet to fire. We self-identify as consumers, not citizens. We elect, time and time again, fellow citizens with no track record of caring about our issues. We believe that Tweeting counts as activism. We make excuses like, "Lesser of two evils" and "Incremental change is better than slipping backward." (To be crystal here, I am including ME in 'we'. I work on these issues every single day, and still I fail in my personal life to be a notable example of resilient living.) 

It's not that we don't care. Or don't believe that the earth is warming and action must be taken. We, as a nation, emphatically do.

It's that we haven't yet commited to making meaningful progress, as individuals or as a society. We must remember that every daily action has a reaction (somewhere, some time), and behave like informed citizens who give a damn. We know what to do. We even know how to do it. We know what the future can and should look like. We know how to get there. Everything is in place for a rapid and orderly transition to relocalized, resilient communities.

The 10-10-10 Global Work Party has the potential to be Day One of that transition. Beyond shovels in soil, we can use it to start the political transformations needed right now all over the world. New blood, new values, new determination to do right by this planet. Who knows, maybe even new parties who will leave the old guard behind in the dust of work boots and wheelbarrows.


P.S. Here's a great overview by Joseph Romm at Grist.



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Reader Comments


From: Ed Straker, Jul 23, 2010 04:20 PM

Yes, we're going to adapt. The vast majority of us are going to die off in response to the huge drop in carrying capacity on our way to the hot-house earth just as James Lovelock says. That's assuming peak oil doesn't cut us down first.

Dems No Different than Repubs

From: David Eccles, Jul 23, 2010 09:27 AM

The most important statement in the first half of htis article is "We self-identify as consumers, not citizens."

Thank you so very much for pointing out the obvious. I've stopped calling myself a consumer years ago and until people shed that mentality, they will continue to plod along pretending that signing an online petition and voting once every four years equals democracy.

Is it any wonder this nation is in such disarray?! It's only because the citizens have gone to sleep and allowed it to happen. It is the citizens fault, not governments and not corporations.

Dems Roll Over

From: Robin Datta, Jul 23, 2010 01:36 AM

Transitioning out of fossil fuel consumption will help mitigate the impact of that resource depletion, but will do nothing to stop the cycle of Ice Ages.

From: Deep Green, Jul 22, 2010 10:27 PM

@Rick: We may not be able to vote our way out of this mess, but we sure as hell aren't going to shop our way out of it either. Do you really think buying low energy light bulbs and Prius are going to save the planet?

Your comment reinforces the status quo by supporting our status as passive consumers, relying on corporations to provide us with "eco-friendly" products. Corporations --- like, oh, I don't know, BP comes to mind --- who have proven time and time again that they only care about "the environment" insofar as it helps their bottom line. Meaning that they are all too happy to engage in a re-branding exercise if it gets them a new customer base (consumers who flatter themselves as being more "conscious" and who look for products that reinforce this self-image) which continuing to engage in practices that destroy the biosphere, consume vast amounts of resources, and contribute to climate change. The idea that you can "vote with your dollars" is just a marketing ploy. It's as much of a lie as electoral politics.

We need to get real about this. We need to stop looking for a savior, a panacea, or someone or something to "fix" this. There is no fixing it. There is no possible way we can "save" the planet. The background of climatic stability against which human civilization have developed has been disrupted by our activities. We need to adapt to this new world of environmental instability, and we need to do it on a community level. There are a number of ways to do this, but they all involve rejecting the corporate infrastructure as much as possible, both because this infrastructure is the driving force of environmental destruction and also because it is powered by oil --- a non-renewable resource that is rapidly approaching a peak in global production.

If you are an American, and you do happen to vote, do yourself a favor do not vote for either of the two major parties. Vote for the Green Party or another third party that endorses a sane platform. Better yet, vote only in local elections and for candidates whose policies will enable you and your immediate community to take steps to prepare for this brave new world with a minimum of bureaucratic interference.

Just my two cents.

We are the problem!

From: Rick, Jul 22, 2010 02:34 PM

We the people are causing the problem. We think our vote counts. It's how we spend our money that counts. You vote every time you spend your money. If you have money in an retirement fund, take it out and put solar electric and hot water on your house. Insulate, ride a bike, buy an electric car. Quit bitching and start doing!

Like, duh....

From: Archer M. Daniels, Jul 22, 2010 02:24 PM

So the Dems rolled over and played dead on Kerry Lieberman. In other news, water is wet.

So, is now the time to take our ball and go home? Or is now the time to step up our game and push for the CLEAN Act or some other cap'n'dividend approach or another idea that might actually make a difference?

By all means, let's walk the talk in our own communities. Yes! let's organize 10.10.10 events, but let's not confine them one day a year--they should be showcases for what we can do, are doing, every day.

And let's don't let our electeds off the hook. It's both/and, not either/or. Invite your Reps and Senators (and state, county, regional, local officials) to every event. Send them e-mails with pictures of you--their constituents--leading the way. Remind them that every person in those photos votes (you do encourage people to vote, right?). And so on.

Kerry-Lieberman died, neglected and unloved. A new day will dawn and a new opportunity will arise. Let's be sure our actions help shape that opportunity, rather than allowing what happens in DC to shape us.