Monday, June 25, 2012

The Great Dithering: The Climate

The UN international sustainability conference held in Rio--twenty years after a similar meeting seemed to aim world efforts at addressing the Climate Crisis--has ended with nearly unanimous negative reviews.  The Executive Director of Greenpeace called the final report "the longest suicide note in history."

No real international or national commitments, no enforcement, nothing but platitudes--the Great Dithering.  The NY Times reporters suggest that non-governmental action and pledges to act were perhaps the only positive outcome.  None of this is new.  And that's the problem.

I try to take into account the natural sense of things ending, or not changing fast enough to avert catastrophe, that seems to come with age, especially as one's abilities to do anything about it have an expiration date that is fast approaching or probably has long since passed.  I take note of the efforts of young activists, and their point of view.  And while I am saddened by persistent but useless, unfair and counterproductive tarring of an entire Baby Boom generation, I know that the torch has passed and I wish the younger generations well.  But it seems increasingly likely that those being born now are going to be engaged in Civilization: the Reboot during their lifetimes.

For while political decisionmakers (including constituencies) dither, the climate keeps on its catastrophic path coming ever close to the point of no return.  Even if there is a sudden enormous change at the last minute--though another summer of devastating wildfires, heatwaves and storms doesn't seem to be turning the trick--it may be too late.  Right now I have to look for optimism to those who say that humanity could recover in a couple of hundred years, and that's mostly if we figure out how to live somewhere in space.  I console myself with the thought that in a thousand years, if humanity doesn't make the same mistake of deifying predatory capitalism as the god and measure of all things, it might be ready to take another step towards the fulfilment of its promise.  

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