Dearest Greta and fellow Blessed Unresters,
Don't know if this will ever reach your eyes, but it's sent with great urgency, affection and message-in-a-bottle positivity, so let's see how that works out.
Am an activist fan many times your age and a veteran of the '93 Kyoto Protocol and 2010 COP10 Biodiversity debacles. Like COP25, both efforts were castrated by the Big-coin-operated hands of corporate captured govs. Am writing to offer a late birthday welcome to this fraught decade and a biomimetic path to redemption.
us lift our minds high enough to dominate the problem."
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
COP25's lack of urgency or spine only surprised those unfamiliar with COP history or the 2014 Princeton report documenting that citizens' desires and needs have a "near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." That was a US study, but as Madrid showed, the same contempt for public interest is as flagrant in Australia, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia et corp-suborned alii. And all but the US will be in Glasgow this year with the same marching orders to derail outcomes there. Ditto at Davos, Riyadh G20, Dubai WGS and other global confabs.
In the post-COP25 pause it helps to remember when broad movements falter they tend to fractionate back to local trenches and conflicts, cf. Occupation, Indignados, Arab Springs, recent anti-war coalitions, etc. But rather than lowering sights and getting "realistic", would ask young climate defenders to defy gravity, depression & centrifugal force and take the battle upstream instead.
Specifically would urge impatient climateers to side-step public sector puppets and go directly after their megacorporate masters - not as individual bad actors, but as a malignant form of life.
Your and my grandkids' generation face a cruel diversity of scourges. None may be greater than the climate crisis, but the dangers don't really stop there. Besides the raging climate fevers we're still imperiled by nuclear hazards, pillaged seas, resource wars, hijacked democracies, escalating inequality, migrant torment, etc. And activist efforts have become perilously divided and frequently conquered by focusing on different symptoms. Since this fragmented approach isn't working too well, shouldn't we ask what we'd require for a truly broad spectrum cure?
Consider the major entities currently causing, worsening or fattening from 90% of our eco-social ills: Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Data, Big Chem, Big "Defense" and the whole growth-obsessed Fortune 2000 fraternity. Given the common denominator, couldn't a concerted global effort to radically downsize, decentralize & democratize these cancerous bodies unite and empower activism all around the world?
Megacorporate bodies really are cancers, by the way, cancers of the biosphere and every body politic they occupy. And that's a defensible fact, not a flippant metaphor. They are aggressive living systems that have abandoned positive eco-social purposes for endless self-enriching growth. Climate justice and sanity are two of their latest victims, but left to their own rapacious devices they will continue to devastate democratic governance, generations of hard-won reforms and thousands more species & ecosystems until they destroy their hosts.
What if youth were to demand not just emission reductions, but radical size reductions in all malignant corporate life? Awakening to and uniting against a common lethal enemy would open fresh avenues of collaboration and synergy among countless single issue groups.
Don't know if you've followed the field of biomimicry or its impressive success solving all sorts of technical & design challenges. Nobody's applied it yet to earth devouring cancers, but logically it suggests we mimic the best arts & craft of our own immune systems. Tumors can be shrunk to remission by a diversity of immune cells if their shared intel is accurate re the nature, strengths and weaknesses of the threat. Immune cells are autonomous and decentralized, but strategically collaborate for common goals. Re tumors, their joint objective is ridding the host of the mutant bodies or at least shrinking them back to innocuous scale.
Activists could replicate that strategic wisdom, but most of our intel today sucks. It's way too focused on individual symptoms, "bad apple" players or regulatory iniquities that distract us from their central upstream cause. Our climate, survival and evolutionary promise can only be saved by swiftly recognizing and reversing megacorps' current de facto hegemony over our countries, cultures and policies.
Nobody ever asked the "sovereign people" in any land to approve these bodies' deadly scale or ecocidal impunity, let alone their global control of our governance. Yet their kind and growth uber alles agendas now indisputably dominate our era and an ever increasing number of societies.
In professed democracies, we the people do have some options. Public restraint of corporate form, scale & activities was quite common in 19th century America. State legislatures determined each corporate body's purpose, size, behaviors and lifespan via their charter's DNA; and such controls still remain within our reach.