“I barely know your kids and I feel like I would jump in front of a bus to stop this shit.”
Aug 19, 2019 12:00PM EDT
Of course we did it to ourselves; we had always been intellectually lazy, and the less asked of us, the less we had to say. We all lived for money, and that is what we died for.
William Vollmann, Carbon Ideologies
You wouldn’t have to do much in rewrites to Independence Day to reboot it as cli-fi. But, in the place of aliens, who would its heroes be fighting against? Ourselves?”
David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth[I]n the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stoodin our way — nothing except ourselves.”
Nathaniel Rich, Losing Earth
I expressed concern recently, on a listserv for climate nerds, over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s military-focused climate plan. It seemed weird to me that one of the first climate policies she’d announce would focus on greening the military; it seemed like a ploy to win over “never Trump” Republicans, centrists and “progressives” who are somehow still pro-military action. I couldn’t understand why someone so famous for holding corporate execs to account wouldn’t burst out the gate with guns blazing at the fossil fuel companies. “I think we need to avoid emotional responses to these policies,” one man sniffed.
My response had been based on knowledge, not emotion, but also: an emotional response to catastrophic climate change and our system’s evident inability to address it seems perfectly valid to me.
There have always been a lot of women covering environmental stories, but the breakout stars, the loudest voices, have tended to be those of white men. More recently they are specifically literary white men, for whom climate change is the ultimate epic saga, in which all of humanity is both villain and hero. “We” had a chance to act on climate decades ago and blew it, the story goes, and now “we” must rise to the challenge and save humanity. If we don’t—and we’re unlikely to—”we” will have only ourselves to blame.
These dominant voices are agreed that climate change stories can be serious, sad, occasionally funny or hopeful, always “smart” and “knowledgeable,” more recently a bit alarmist, but never too emotional. And especially not angry.
For about two decades now, white male environmentalists and journalists have been telling me, and other environmentalists and reporters who look like me, and especially those who are browner than me, that “We” doesn’t quite include us, or our anger.
The Case for Climate Rage – Popula
“I barely know your kids and I feel like I would jump in front of a bus to stop this shit.” Aug 19, 2019 12:00PM EDT Of course we did it to ourselves; we had always been intellectually lazy, and the less asked of us, the less we had to say. We all lived for… [Read More]