Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Future Hangs on A Single Golden Thread, and We Are That Thread

Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe

The Future Hangs on A Single Golden Thread, and We Are That Thread

By Richard Power

Today, here in Norther California, no war is being waged on us, nor has any climate-crazed Super Storm trashed the infrastructure; we have running water, electricity, gasoline, food, and as bad as the economic disparity is, as deep as the poverty runs, and as high as unemployment really is, many of us are still getting by (even if only barely). But you know what? Here and now, in Northern California, we are just a click or two away from catastrophe and a free fall into chaos. And not just because a mega earthquake is overdue.

We are just a click away from catastrophe and a free fall into chaos because the rebuilding of our infrastructure is being blocked by an insane political ideology that fronts for the rapacious greed of the few, and which demonizes much of what is best in government.

We are just a click away from catastrophe and free fall because this insane political ideology and rapacious greed are also blocking our desperately needed conversion to a green economy.

Such a conversion could rescue us from both the devastation of a 4c planetary temperature rise and our deepening economic insecurity in a single righteous blow.

Although it is encouraging that the most psychologically disturbed elements of the corporatist disorder were denied absolute power in the November 2012 election, we are still in grave danger. Will we continue down the road into the madness of so-called "austerity" instead of further economic stimulus focused on infrastructure renewal and green energy? Will we continue to debate whether or not the Climate Crisis is real, instead of debating how to best mitigate its potentially extinction level impact? Do not be deceived. Psychologically disturbed elements of the corporatist disorder still control the horizontal and vertical in terms of our political debate.

Consider the facts.

A new World Bank-commissioned report warns the world is on track to a “4°C world” marked by extreme heat-waves and life-threatening sea level rise. "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided," (pdf) (eBook version) warns we’re on track for a 4°C warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise. World Bank, Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century, 11-18-12

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 30% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases. World Meteorological Organization, 11-20-12

A United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report released today says that countries aren’t doing enough to keep the world from warming 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels ... “Not only are nations failing to close the gap between their actions and the 2 degrees goal,” [Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy at UCS] said, “but the gap is actually widening.” Union of Concerned Scientists, Third Report Warns that Leaders' Lack of Action Is Locking In Worst Consequences of Climate Change, 11-21-12

Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and the World Resources Institute (WRI) identified 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China [363] and India [455]. Darrien Carrington, Guardian, 11-19-12

And yet Beltwayistan (the U.S. political establishment) and Infotainmenstan (the U.S. mainstream news media) continue to hide from the truth and what it demands of us.

"Cognitive dissonance” describes the response of our political leaders. They know we must quickly curb our addiction to fossil fuels to avoid a climate change tipping point. But they open up the Arctic, or the Tar Sands in Canada, to oil companies that want to squeeze out a few more billion in profits while the going’s good. Kumi Naidoo, 11-17-12

Take a break for half an hour and listen to this dialogue between Bill Moyers and Naomi Klein (see embedded video below, or just read the transcript). And then ask yourself what you can do or how you can be, to make a difference in the weeks and months ahead. The future hangs on a single golden thread, and we are that thread.

Naomi Klein: We have to plan. We can't leave everything to the free market. In fact, climate change is, I would argue, the greatest single free-market failure. This is what happens when you don't regulate corporations and you allow them to treat the atmosphere as an open sewer. So it isn't just, "Okay, the fossil fuel companies want to protect their profits." It's that it's that this science threatens a worldview. And when you dig deeper, when you drill deeper into those statistics about the drop in belief in climate change, what you see is that Democrats still believe in in climate change, in the 70th percentile. That whole drop of belief, drop off in belief has happened on the right side of the political spectrum. So the most reliable predictor of whether or not somebody believes that climate change is real is what their views are on a range of other political subjects. You know, what do you think about abortion? What is your view of taxes? And what you find is that people who have very strong conservative political beliefs cannot deal with this science, because it threatens everything else they believe. Bill Moyers Interviews Naomi Klein, 11-16-12

Bill Moyers and Naomi Klein: How Climate Change Is an Historic Opportunity for Progressives

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power is the author of eight books, including Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in an Era of Global PerilBetween Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. Power writes and speaks on spirituality, sustainability, human rights, and security. He blogs at and, and is a member of the Truthout Board of Advisors. He also teaches yoga.