All that consumption is expressed in the other news item concerning the Arctic ice cover. The climate change deniers will not go away, but there is irrefutable evidence that the climate is changing. That evidence comes in part from the Arctic ice, now with only twenty per cent of it remaining as long term multi-year ice, the rest is new annual ice. The surprise comes from the awareness that although the winter ice appeared to have regained its cover - as it had - the multi-year ice had diminished greatly and what was left was a conglomeration of rotten ice and new ice. More evidence comes from the indigenous people, the Inuit, who have lived there for millennia and now are unable to read the ice and weather patterns as they change rapidly from their long ancestral observations. The culture changes with it as new names for new phenomena of weather and flora and fauna are being introduced.
All that oil, coal, and natural gas, our natural heritage from millions of years ago when the climate created an enormous energy bounty harvested naturally from the sun, we have squandered on an easy fast paced uncaring life in the short term for a decidedly undetermined, uncertain, and freaky future. The developed countries bounty comes from the easy energy domination of oil and the corporate structures controlling global wealth and global finances. Our changing climate with its wider range of variability is very much still an unknown"but what is known is that the ice cover, which was forecast to be gone in a century or so from the Arctic ocean, is now possibly going to disappear completely (except for winter ice cover) within a decade or so.
There in the Arctic is the confluence of our oily greed, our uncaring effluent affluence, our military solutions to world problems. When I look at the responses to natural and man made disasters around the world I shudder to think what would be the consequence of another major military action that could result in the use of nuclear weapons. I shudder to think what the climate might throw at us as it continues along its unpredictable responses to the carbon energy we are pumping back into the atmosphere. The economy, which in the news is generally front and center, becomes a matter of worthlessness when faced with what could be large and sudden changes in the status of global energy and weather systems.
I sometimes wonder if there are any realistic solutions given human nature, its short term perspectives, its vanity, and its supposed intelligence that somehow always seems to create some form of blowback for its actions. There are solutions, ones that would still create dramatic change but hopefully soften the trauma for everyone. The changes need to be significant and not just the cosmetic panaceas that cover - and conceal - the symptoms but do little for the actual underlying problem of living in a militarized consumptive finance-oriented society
In no particular order, as they are all complementary actions, there are several ideas that need to be put into action, hopefully through a rapid evolution of common sense intelligence toward the planet and its inhabitants, as revolutionary ideas while founded on good ideas and great plans, often create a deterioration into violence that nullifies the intent of the actions in the first place.
Israel/Palestine/Iran and the rest of the Middle East
Israel/Palestine are the symbolic focus of the militarized activity in the Middle East and South Asia. The tie in between the Israeli and U.S. military in all its components (industry, politics, technology, finance) demonstrates the perversity of human nature in relation to a falsely created "other'. The "other' for the Israelis occupying Palestinian lands are the Palestinian "terrorists' conveniently supported by the U.S. designation of any thought or action against their occupying forces as being terroristic. The solution to any problem in for both countries has proven to be some kind of military violence, neither truly wishing to negotiate, with its implications of equal bargaining rights and acknowledgement of legitimate grievances on the part of the occupied and subjugated peoples.
This part of the solution is simple but I do not see it happening. The occupiers need to go home. The brief spate of democracy that went awry - with Hezbollah gaining recognition in Lebanon, Hamas defeating Fatah in Palestine, the Shia's gaining power in Iraq with a challenge to U.S. occupation, and Egypt cracking down violently on its renewed opposition to autocratic rule - challenged the very theoretical philosophical rhetoric of democracy and freedom that these countries pretend to uphold. This part of the solution should happen, but it won't, as the other imperial factors of resources and finances are slowly nibbling away at the security and wealth of the "homeland'. The empire will not go away peacefully.
Another solution not likely to happen due to the power structures involved and the political and military tie ins is that of controlling the corporations. The supranational corporations - many larger than governments, most having entitlements to sue, threaten, lobby and challenge national governments that even the local citizens do not have, all provided by agreements that were decided upon in thoroughly non-democratic fashion - need to be shut down. Perhaps not totally disbanded, but they need to have their political and legal powers greatly curtailed if not abolished.
Corporations are set up for one purpose - to create wealth for the owners and avoid legal responsibility for anything else while doing so. The big corporations need to be brought under national civilian control, meaning essentially under national law based on human rights, social rights, and environmental responsibility. Responsibilities for the environment, workers conditions and rights, product recycling should all be implemented at both the global and national level. The cost of doing business should include the real costs on the environment and the people that work and live in that environment. Failing that, they should simply be disbanded - nationalized and broken apart.
There would be of course much screeching and crying about the loss of wealth and the loss of employment and the crashing of the global GDP and all the other economic ills that our current finance capitalism and debt burdened financing are creating anyway. With the environment threatened and in return giving humanity a literal unexpected blowback, with the economy teetering on the edge of chaos, the main solution will come from taking away the power of the corporations over the legitimate concerns of a country's citizens.
Many of these corporations rely on the "hidden fist' of the military for their survival, both for capturing and harnessing resources and markets, but also as part and parcel of the militarily financed corporations that create so much havoc globally. To think they will go peacefully away when their very foundation is threatened by the shrinking energy resources of the world is illusory. Citizens and duly elected governments need to stand up for their integrity and get rid of the power of the corporations that truly rule our lives.
Think sceptically, act positively - live locally, think globally
The foundations of a soft-landing for the restructuring of our relationship with the environment and the decreasing ease of carbon based energy resources needs to start with information and education. With human intelligence and craftiness much could be done to alleviate any hard landings from environmental change, economic collapse, and the loss of easy energy. I have to question whether any government, whether any group really has the power to do this as the inertia within a society based on fast fuel and ease of transportation and manufacturing energy will be hard to transform.
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