A lively debate has ensued at climate progress (the sort of passionate commentary that makes me love it) about the role of the younger generation in combatting climate change. My thought was:
"Im sorry, but I think the notion that the kids should take to the streets is a cop-out. We in our 50’s and older can still hobble along, WE should take to the streets.
I was just on the receiving end of a lecture from an 80-year old friend last week, who was complaining that my daughter and her friends seem oblivious to the Gulf Oil spill and should have spent their summer helping to clean the beaches instead of taking a break between college and graduate school. Meanwhile he flies back and forth to India twice/year and has for decades, has no intention of stopping, and has never done a politically active thing to combat climate change.To foist this problem off on young people who can almost certainly not bear to face the full horror of the world they are inheriting from us is cowardly and selfish, and shouldn’t be recommended by anybody who is still not in the streets themselves already, not making speeches and writing books."
Following is a particularly piercing comment, which I have interspersed with photos of leaves from the past few days. These leaves are from a variety of species of trees and shrubs, which nevertheless uniformly exhibit the exact sort of damage from exposure to the toxic ozone that results from emissions of burning fuel, and if that is something unfamiliar, check out the Basic Premise page at the top of the blog, and the list of links to scientific research!
Tearin' my body all apart
Evil man make me kill you
Evil man make you kill me
Evil man make me kill you
Even though we're only families apart
Well, I pick up my axe and fight like a farmer
But your bullets still knock me down to the ground
The same way you shoot me down, baby
You'll be goin' just the same
Three times the pain
And your own self to blame
I ain't afraid of your bullets no more, baby
I ain't afraid no more
After a while your cheap talk don't even cause me pain
So let your bullets fly like rain
'Cause I know all the time you wrong, baby
And you'll be going just the same
This event is Saturday at San Francisco State in SF.I wish I could attend.
Opening Remarks of Derrick Jensen for
Earth At Risk
What is the problem?
"There’s a sense—a very real and overwhelmingly devastating sense—in which you could say that the problem is that this culture is killing the planet. One hundred and twenty species were driven extinct today. Another 120 will be driven extinct tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. Ninety-seven percent of native forests are gone. Ninety-nine percent of native grasslands. Amphibian populations are collapsing, migratory songbird populations are collapsing, mollusk populations are collapsing, fish populations are collapsing, and so on."
"Why do members of this culture act as they do? Well, we can discuss (and I have in book after book) reason after reason, whether it is this culture’s system of social rewards (it generally socially rewards behaviors that benefit the individual at the expense of the group, rather than behaviors that benefit the group as a whole), which leads inevitably to competition, and ultimately to atrocious behavior; or whether it is that a way of life based on constant conquest gives that culture a short-term competitive advantage over other groups who are organized sustainably (if you cut down forests and mine mountains to make war machines, you will probably have a more well-equipped army than a group that does not do this: this is not a hypothetical example: the forests of North Africa, to provide one example among far too many, were felled to build the Phoenician and Egyptian navies), while of course leading to the collapse of landbase after landbase; or whether it is that a way of life based on the importation of resources can never be sustainable; or whether it is that a way of life that produces waste products that do not benefit the natural world can never be sustainable; or whether it is, as many indigenous peoples (for example, Jack Forbes, as in his wonderful book Columbus and Other Cannibals) suggest, that members of the dominant culture are insane, or suffer from a spiritual illness that turns them into types of vampires or zombies who need to consume the souls of others in order to survive."