We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Tepid Plea for Unspecified Change

by Richard Heinberg from the Post Carbon Institute. 
The reality is that nothing significant has been done to deal with our energy crisis because tackling it will require fundamental changes to our economy—to our transport and food systems, even to our financial institutions. Until we are willing to honestly face the fact that an "American dream" based on ever increasing rates of consumption of non-renewable resources is a dead end, and that we will have to dramatically cut back on energy usage in order to make a transition away from fossil fuel dependency, all discussion about renewable energy, efficiency standards, and energy research is fairly pointless.
Heinberg, who understands so much about climate change and peak oil, apparently does not understand the dynamics of an economic system that requires growth, a system that provides huge rewards for people who lay claim to the wealth generated by the consumption of resources. Yes, my friends, that system is capitalism, and until we bring it down and construct a system that is compatible with nature, we, the ordinary people, will always lose. 

Until we understand the source of our problems, nothing will change. The evidence regarding this source is overwhelming. The fact that the system continues in the face of the overwhelming evidence is testimony to the power of the system's propaganda organs to control our minds. Hence, the first battle is to take back the truth, to clear out of our minds all the system's images and thought patterns about how the world is, and how we should relate to each other. Then we can begin the task of constructing a viable system that serves us all.