Don’t look away now—time for climate mobilization
The UK newspaper The Guardian has been a leading voice on climate change for some time now. As part of its Keep it in the Ground campaign, they ran a series of excerpts from Naomi Klein’s most recent book, This Changes Everything. This one popped up again recently in one of our social feeds, and it’s a solid reminder of the stakes, and the potential, that stand before us. Here’s the rallying cry:
Slavery wasn’t a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination wasn’t a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn’t a crisis until feminism turned it into one. Apartheid wasn’t a crisis until the anti-apartheid movement turned it into one.
Klein goes on:
In the very same way, if enough of us stop looking away and decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of what some have called a “Marshall Plan for the Earth,” then it will become one, and the political class will have to respond, both by making resources available and by bending the free market rules that have proven so pliable when elite interests are in peril.
I have begun to understand how climate change – if treated as a true planetary emergency akin to those rising flood waters – could become a galvanising force for humanity, leaving us all not just safer from extreme weather, but with societies that are safer and fairer in all kinds of other ways as well. The resources required to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and prepare for the coming heavy weather could pull huge swaths of humanity out of poverty, providing services now sorely lacking, from clean water to electricity, and on a model that is more democratic and less centralized than the models of the past. This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond “mitigating” and “adapting” to it in the grim language of the United Nations. It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere that seems, frankly, better than where we are right now.
This is exactly the work, indeed the life path, of the resilient investor: to make the best possible world, community, and personal/family life that we can, in whatever future may come—but at the same time, to be actively participating in pushing our local and national policies toward the future that we hope to see unfold. The pressure that Klein is talking about here will be applied through many avenues: mass gatherings like those organized by 350.org and others, an embrace of the financial potential of a renewable energy future by large corporations and institutional investors, and, perhaps crucially, via initiatives that create a political constituency for new models at the local, regional, and state levels. Every one of us can get involved in our local areas, moving beyond the feeble “eco lightbulbs, CSAs, and recycling” options we have as individuals, and becoming part of this larger movement in collaboration with neighbors and community-based organizations, agencies and utilities, and elected officials.