Politics as usual, like business as usual is over. The existential threat posed by climate change in the context of neo-liberal capitalism mandates this conclusion.
Recently Hillary Clinton met with Congressional Democrats. (1) In that meeting she laid out a 2016 presidential campaign strategy which emphasized climate change as a campaign issue. She observed that this issue would serve to animate and energize turnout particularly among young voters. However, she also reassured W. Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that she would go easy on coal.
This is a classic example of politics as usual: Identify a wedge issue and exploit it. However, the issue itself is only a means to an end--winning an election. By reassuring a representative of the coal industry that she would not take any action which would reduce its profits, Clinton telegraphed her insincerity. The issue of climate change is to be exploited for electoral benefit. Otherwise it will be business as usual. In other words, politics as usual.
Reality however, is wildly out of synch with "business as usual." Peter Waldhams heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University. (2) One of the world's leading experts on arctic climate, Waldhams has on multiple occasions had the Royal Navy place one of its atomic submarines at his personal disposal to conduct under the polar icecap research. Waldhams recently stated that within the next 10 years there is a 50/50 chance of a massive release of frozen methane from the Arctic Ocean due to rapid warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. (3)
If this occurs, it is certainly the end of human civilization in this century. (4) Likely, it would cause the extinction of humanity--in this century! (5) Essentially, we would trigger the same natural forces as resulted in the Permian Extinction 251 million years ago. (6) I've written in detail about this previously. See HERE and HERE. Many of the planet's leading climate scientists share Dr. Waldhams concerns. Several years ago they declared a planetary emergency and formed the Arctic Methane Emergency Group.
Think about this: Many of the most knowledgeable scientists on Earth are shouting out that we are about to cause our own extinction in the NEAR future. Yet few people are even aware of this! Continuing with business as usual is the order of the day.
Even politicians who mention the seriousness of climate change, such as Hillary Clinton, are only using the issue for electoral advantage. She does not actually envision doing anything radically different from today's business as usual status quo. This is because our planetary neo-liberal capitalist system, to which she is entirely beholden, is based upon the consumption of fossil fuels. The same is true of most of our politicians--they too, are effectively owned by multi-national corporations.
The news media are owned by a handful of multi-national corporations. They are an intrinsic part of this system and, as such, do not seriously question it. So we appear to be doomed to sleepwalk into an avoidable extinction.
Yet, there is hope. Pope Francis' climate change encyclical Laudato Si ("Praised Be") has delivered an authentic Christian perspective on this issue. (7) Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has shown a deep understanding of the issue, along with a sincere commitment to meaningfully addressing it. (8)
As both Sanders and Pope Francis have stressed, meaningfully addressing climate change before it terminates us all, REQUIRES forcing fundamental changes in the nature of our economy, of capitalism itself. Sanders, like the Pope, constantly stresses the inhumanity of today's capitalist system. Sanders has also stressed that growth--the "holy writ" of neoliberalism--is NOT a good in and of itself. Particularly if it comes at the expense of the mass of humanity and the Earth's biosphere.
Their logic leads to an inescapable conclusion: Capitalism as we have known it, must be swiftly terminated if the biosphere is to be saved.
I urge all readers to think about this. Consider actively supporting Sanders if you are a US citizen. Beyond this, consider participating in a citizens' political revolution to accomplish all of these ends.
Time is short. The fate of all life hangs in the balance. Politics as we have known it is over. Politicians as we have known them, such as Clinton, are over too. If they are not over, we are all over--forever.
A vote for any Republican or for Hillary Clinton is a vote for human extinction in YOUR lifetime! Get up and ACT while you still can do so! NOW!
Michael P Byron is the author of The Path Through Infinity's Rainbow: Your Guide to Personal Survival and Spiritual Transformation in a World Gone Mad. This book is a manual for taking effective action to deal with the crises of our age including global climate change, peak oil, and political failure to deal with these and other problems.
His previous book is Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate and Globalization.
Byron-has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.--He teaches all aspects of Political Science and Political Economy in local colleges in the San Diego area.- He was the Democratic Party's candidate for United States Congress in California's 49th Congressional District in 2004. In 2002,-he- ran as a write-in candidate upon discovering that the Republican incumbent, Darrell Issa, had no major-party challenger.
Mike lives in Oceanside, CA with his wife, Ramona Byron. Both are Navy veterans.