"The woman who was a battered wife and has escaped knows the answer: reality is when something is happening to you and you know it and can say it and when you say it other people understand what you mean and believe you. That is reality, and the battered wife, imprisoned alone in a nightmare that is happening to her, has lost it and cannot find it anywhere."
Compared with the earth, none of us are around for very long. We are, to the cosmos, ephemerons. Our little lives blink on for a moment and then go dark. Nothing truly important can be achieved in a single lifetime [Nothing?! I think it was Reagan who ended the cold war, and JFK would have but for the CIA et. al.]. We must work toward something greater than ourselves. We must live fully, as Dworkin did, by summoning the courage to confront the starkness of the human condition and demanding justice, not because it will be achieved, since in its perfect form it will never be achieved, but because it defines us as distinct and sentient individuals. Justice cannot be fought for in the abstract. It must be grounded in a concrete confrontation with power -- which is almost always embedded in white, male patriarchy -- on behalf of the oppressed. This means sustained acts of defiance and civil disobedience that shut down city roads, airports and pipelines. Corporate capitalism and imperialism, which created the ecological debacle, will be destroyed or these forces will kill us in an unprecedented global genocide.
"The struggle for climate justice is a struggle at the crossroads of historic and present injustices and a looming disaster that will prove to be, if allowed to unfold unchecked, the mother of all injustices," writes Wen Stephenson. "Because the disaster that is unfolding now will not only compound the suffering of those already oppressed (indeed, is already compounding it); it may very well foreclose any hope of economic stability and social justice for current and future generations. Why, then, does the term 'climate justice' barely register in the American conversation about climate change? Lurking in that question is a tension at the heart of the climate struggle: a tension between the 'mainstream' climate movement (dominated by largely white, well-funded, and Washington-focused green NGOs) and those -- most often people of color -- who have been fighting for social and environmental justice for decades."
[Well, I do hear ad hominem attacks on Greta from many sources, for example. Is that necessary to make someone feel somehow righteous? Can we even think about the possibility of Tulsi or Marianne listening to Paul Beckwith, and encouraging it? I mention those names in my earlier comment, to note that Chris encourages everyone to get in the streets, do this and that, but never directly advocates for the people we should be getting behind, to at least end what suffering we can while we can, as in ending regime change wars (the only kind I know of).]
Resistance grounded in action is its own raison d'être. It is catharsis. It brings us into a community with others who are coping with the darkness by naming it but refusing to submit to it. And in that act of resistance we find emotional wholeness, genuine hope and even euphoria, if not an ultimate victory. [Chris' action? Have another kid or two, don't dare talk about 9/11that sine qua non for where we are todayplagiarize freely and dismiss it with a wave of the hand, as most any preacher will happily do.]
"The certitude that there is no salvation is a form of salvation, in fact is salvation," wrote E.M. Cioran. "Starting from here, one might organize our own life as well as construct a philosophy of history: the insoluble as solution, as the only way out."
As the Grand Inquisitor pointed out in "The Brothers Karamazov," those who possess the emotional and intellectual fortitude to face what lies before them will always be in the minority. There is a numbing comfort that comes with surrendering moral autonomy for abject servility and obedience, and this comfort is especially attractive in a crisis.
"No doubt there will be free societies in the future as there have been in the past," writes the philosopher John Gray in "Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals." "But they will be rare, and variations on anarchy and tyranny will be the norm. The needs that are met by tyrants are as real as those to which freedom answers; sometimes they are more urgent. Tyrants promise security -- and release from the tedium of everyday existence. To be sure, this is only a confused fantasy. The drab truth of tyranny is a life spent in waiting. But the perennial romance of tyranny comes from its promising its subjects a life more interesting than any they can contrive for themselves. Whatever they become, tyrannies begin as festivals of the depressed. Dictators may come to power on the back of chaos, but their unspoken promise is that they will relieve the boredom of their subjects."
And yet, no more than 3% to 5% of the population need be engaged to challenge despotic power. This means, first, naming and accepting reality. It will not be easy. It means grieving for what is to come, for there is certain to be mass death. It means acting, even if defeat is certain, to thwart those who would extinguish us. Extinction Rebellion plans to occupy and shut down major city centers around the globe in October. This is a good place to start. By defying the forces of death, we affirm life. [They may as well fight the rising and setting of the sun, dismiss the laws of entropy, or work to defy gravity. There already is mass death from climate change, wars, economic oppression, etc. On the other hand, ER could look at the actual problems as folks like Paul Beckwith and Guy McPherson have so clearly done, and understand what the problems actually are, rather than shouting at politicians. Awareness remains the first step to change, as far as I know.]