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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fire at World's End: Why We All Need to Learn the Word “Anthropogenic”

Click here to access article by Subhankar Banerjee from TomDispatch. (Note: if you wish to skip Engelhardt's usual introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article.)
The wettest rainforest in the continental United States had gone up in flames and the smoke was so thick, so blanketing, that you could see it miles away. Deep in Washington’s Olympic National Park, the aptly named Paradise Fire, undaunted by the dampness of it all, was eating the forest alive and destroying an ecological Eden. In this season of drought across the West, there have been far bigger blazes but none quite so symbolic or offering quite such grim news. It isn’t the size of the fire (though it is the largest in the park’s history), nor its intensity. It’s something else entirely -- the fact that it shouldn’t have been burning at all. When fire can eat a rainforest in a relatively cool climate, you know the Earth is beginning to burn.

And here’s the thing: the Olympic Peninsula is my home. Its destruction is my personal nightmare and I couldn’t stay away.
I live across the Puget Sound from the Olympic Peninsula, yet I've heard very little about this from corporate media which is the only media we can access for news about local and regional affairs. The talking heads they employ reported on it, but the reports were always very bland and sandwiched between local crime reports which corporate media executives love to cover in the most sensational way. 

As someone who is very concerned about these weather effects caused by capitalists' obsessive drive to produce and consume using fossils, I have observed in recent years the strange weather patterns with foreboding while also observing how they have been reported on corporate TV and other ruling class media. There is a dramatic disconnect. 

This is not an accident. Our ruling capitalist masters do not want to alarm us by associating the scientific concern about impending climate destabilization and what is now occurring before our very eyes. You see, capitalism, with its growth imperative, and a stable climate are completely incompatible. To be sure capitalists will be affected like everyone else (but less so because they have the resources to mitigate its effects on them), but they are so drugged by the opiates of power and profits that they are incapable of acting responsibly. So, the burden of radical change lies on our shoulders.