Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March for Survival

Today the NY Times cataloged the ways in which the current White House regime is planning to stop US efforts to address the climate crisis.  It is more than sobering.

It also contradicts what US citizens tell pollsters they want done, although the poll cited also shows a lack of urgency.  People don't believe it will affect them.  It will, but not as much as it will affect people now alive but too young to be asked, and their immediate and distant descendants.

There are a number of ways to think about this.  First, the die was cast on election night, and at minimum the time lost in more aggressive actions to confront the climate crisis will make the future worse.  Perhaps that time can be made up, but perhaps not.  Recent information on the oceans and coral reefs suggest that any lost time could be fatal, and that it might be game over anyway.

Plans are underway for big Earth Day demonstrations, under the banner of the March for Science.  The climate movement and its leaders (and its mavericks) have done some great things in focusing the topic and bringing it to public attention.  But they've also blown the nomenclature and generally failed to find a way to make the issue urgent.

Everybody understands the basic problems--the climate crisis is (in a variety of complicated ways) almost invisible to most people, and it is (or has been publicized as) a problem affecting the future, not so much the present.  So other stuff gets priority and attention.

There's also growing concern that an onrushing mass extinction event is even more urgent, and it involves a different set of solutions, though the two crises share a lot in cause and effect.

But all that considered, and for all the good things that have been done with a relatively low key approach, or even by not mentioning the climate crisis, this isn't likely to work.  The climate crisis was not an urgent issue in 2016--as it has never been in a presidential election--and so here we are.

I see the p.r. value and the constituency for a March for Science.  It is basic in a way, and certainly plays to the constituency that is already convinced.  Marches pretty much are about how big the choir is that you are preaching to.

Science is a set of tools for addressing the climate crisis.  Science is necessary, and symbolically, it's another way of drawing your line in the sand.  But it is not the main objective.  The main objective is survival.

Until there is an Earth Day March for Survival, we won't be really confronting the urgency of these tasks.

No comments: