And this essay essay in the U.K. Guardian is a slam dunk.
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Here is another thought piece from The Guardian:
The letter often feels more like a statement of frustration with human nature than about climate change
Extinction Rebellion, and similar groups such as the Sunrise Movement, believe mass civil disobedience is the most effective way to break through passivity and pressure governments to take concrete action on the climate. ….
From everything we understand, climate change is a tragedy of the commons on a vast scale. Addressing it will require human beings do a lot of things they aren’t naturally inclined to do, like make short-term sacrifices for the sake of long-term common good: … 1.5C is the highest level the planet can sustain without entering the realm of the catastrophic. Just limiting warming to that level will require, the IPCC said, mobilization of a scale with “no documented historic precedent”.
the global rise and success of right wing authoritarians leads me to believe that humans under great pressure will react to global warming with xenophobia and nationalism instead of choosing communitarian principles that might serve us all better. It could be “how do we protect what we have?” instead of “how do we work together to reduce global suffering?” But, hey, what do I know? Maybe I have that all wrong.
Mike, I suspect that you’re right. I’ve been wondering for a few years now whether the anti-immigrant/refugee hysteria coming from the recent/current right-wing governments of Australia, Britain, Canada, the USA, and elsewhere is actually a calculated strategy to sow acceptance of stronger xenophobic/nationalistic action when the impacts of climate change really bite.
I find it staggering that so many conservatives could all be so blithely ignorant of the reality of the science, to the point of near-unanimity. Their behaviour over the last century or so indicates that they’re more likely to actually understand the truth, even if it’s in secret, but are happy to ignore it and misrepresent it if there’s a profit and/or power in it for their own lifetimes.
In the coming decades there will be orders of magnitude more immigration from the Third World to the First. It’s inescapable. Everything that the conservative West has done to date seems to make no preparation to responding cooperatively to this inevitability, and a lot to laying the groundwork for pouring oil over the ramparts when the time comes.
I think that the only hope for a half-decent future for the planet is if this xenophobic politic is cast aside so that everyone gets a fair go. If not, the sheer weight of the desperate poor will swamp the West and sink the whole ship.
I’ve followed the career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar since he was Lew Alcindor in high school in New York and I’ve always been impressed with both his physical and intellectual talents. This essay in the Guardian is just one more example of his under-appreciated wisdom and intelligence. Sorry to say, it and the comments from Susan and smallbuemike don’t say too much about humanity’s abilities to stave off our ultimate destruction and possible extinction.
I hate to be pessimistic about anything, but I find it increasingly impossible not to be very pessimistic about humanity’s future. But then I also find it to be supreme hubris on our part to think that we should have a noble and positive future simply because we are human. Our supposedly high level of intelligence must be looked at in the context of how it evolved over the last few million years.
Biological evolution has no goal, despite our delusions of grandeur that we’re the ultimate level of organic perfection. The characteristics and features of new species just piggyback on what has come before and that goes for all the behaviors that we assign to the typical human. Behaviors that served our distant ancestors well when they didn’t have our level of intelligence didn’t go away just because we became smarter. The self-serving behaviors that allowed all the species that led to ours to survive and pass on their genes to their descendants still lurk below the surface in all of us to varying degrees. Some like our illustrious present resident of the White House (I refuse to call him president) tend to have more self-serving behaviors than others and when they and their ilk manage to get into positions of power within human society they can do damage to just about everything far beyond what they could do as mere everyday citizens.
But human history is loaded with such people, and as our numbers and technologies have exploded their destructive influence and ability to sway huge numbers of us to follow them have led to an exponentially increased likelihood of catastrophe for us and as well as the entire global ecosystem. We have become the equivalent of past global catastrophes such as comet/asteroid impacts and major super-volcanic activities among other major disruptions to the the Earth system that have occurred periodically in the past. So, if we look at our existence in that context, we shouldn’t be surprised at how things are apparently turning out.
That’s not to say that we still shouldn’t try to do something about changing our trajectory; we are still quite intelligent after all and our species has had to deal with quite a few catastrophic events throughout our time on this planet. But we should do so with the knowledge that our attempts might be futile, or at least might lead to unanticipated results that we can’t even imagine. No matter what happens, it should certainly be an interesting journey!
I agree with Ed,
human beings are really smart, but deep down are not unlike one of my cats: devours all the food placed in front of him, and then butts in and steals food from his sister’s bowl. Still not satisfied, heads outdoors (barely fits through the cat door) in search of a bird or rodent to top it off. Needless to say he’s fat as a butterball.
Humanity in a nutshell.
Great analogy, Snape!
My fat cat, Isaac, had a lean twin brother, Newton, who got sick and passed away at an early age. Life is often not fair.
“Visiting America in 1946, French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss commented on the endearingly infantile traits of American culture. He especially noted adults’ childish adulation of baseball, their passionate approach to toy-like cars and the amount of time they invested in hobbies.”
” As contemporary scholars note, however, this “infantilist ethos” has become less charming – and more pervasive.”
It does appear that Donald Trump is showing symptoms of dementia.
Dementia, plus childish and vindictive. Plus a complete lack of empathy or remorse
….. and on a moment’s notice has the power to start WW3.