In essence COP21 was not ‘too little too late’, nor ‘a first step in the right direction’. If it is a fundamental change, it is not a fundamental change for the sake of a living planet, but one for the sake of those who already have just about everything, and a means to divide between them what their claws have not been able to tear apart yet. Many of them were present in Paris. It doesn’t get much more corporatist than Bill Gates gathering support for his re-invented nuclear deal.
Corporatism has realised in its constant search for how to generate maximum profit that it must adopt the talk of the growing number of those who are honestly concerned for the living planet. That concern, through incredibly clever PR, they have diverted, converted, and perverted into a strong support for the third industrial revolution: Renewable Energy™. People who were once worried about corporatism destroying life on earth suddenly find themselves almost religiously promoting… a corporate industry.
Perhaps this culture of maximum destruction can continue that bit longer on Renewables™ than on fossil fuel alone, and keep people in ‘developed’ nations consuming, and allow a choice few from ‘developing’ nations to join their ranks, all over the backs of the globally poor and the living planet. Consumption (means devouring, destroying, using up) to keep the planet inhabitable. No real changes required. Too good to be true.
Since the Paris Climate Summit’s results have been published, I’ve been discussing it here and there, and at some point I was told that it’s becoming boring that I keep on shouting that the tire is flat instead of coming up with a new tire.
The answer is simple. It’s because so many insist on continuing driving with that flat tire instead of even considering that changing it is necessary, let alone possible. It’s not all that useful to come up with alternatives if those listening don’t see the need for one and are quite comfortable the way they’re going.
The way I saw the elements in the analogy up to that point were as follows:
Flat tire equals fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Replace with other flat tire, which equals Renewables™, which aren’t renewable (and, if you’d ask Bill Gates, nuclear energy).
That is not a solution.
Solution: a different vehicle altogether, or rather walk.
The reaction to that was that it was ridiculous to change vehicle if all that was needed was to change a tire.
If the car is inherently flawed and capable only of doing damage, then yes, change we must.
To be clear, in this analogy the car represents the culture (or conglomerate of cultures) of civilisation. Civilisation is the culture which builds cities. Civil not from being polite, educated, helpful, noble, and so on, but like from civil engineer. Cities is what it’s about. Cities have more people in them than the local land can support, and so food, building materials, clothing and all kinds of other materials have to be imported from other places, resulting in theft, power structures, hierarchies, warfare, slavery, and, most importantly, exhaustion of the ecosystem not only where the city is, but in ever further away surroundings as well. Civilisation is also a unique culture for its totalitarian agriculture (all land and what grows there is for civilised humans and all competing for it have to be chased off or exterminated) and its totalitarian warfare (you’ll either become us or you’ll become dead, and either way we’ll have what you have now).
That’s the car I’m talking about. There’s a problem with analogies, and that is that when they’re stretched too much, they lose their link with what they were introduced for. If they were perfect, they weren’t analogies, but the actual thing we were talking about in the first place. The tire brought up earlier should probably be called engine instead, since it’s the thing powering this culture at the moment. The engine of fossil fuel is running on empty, and that comes with the risk not only of ruining the planet, but of making the car grind to a halt. And so now we’ve come to the point where even some oil companies and conservatives are starting to see and actually openly state that something needs to be done. And hence we’re on the brink of a revolution in the shape of an alternative engine running on Renewables™.
Renewables™ are in not at all renewable. Yes, the sun will keep on shining, the wind will keep blowing, the tides will keep rising and falling, the rivers will keep flowing (well actually, many now don’t reach the sea any more because dams divert water for irrigation), but the materials required to build and maintain the installations which harvest that energy, convert it into electricity, and the infrastructure required for its transport and ultimately for its use are far from renewable. That side of the story is usually omitted, as is the fact that all this is very much dependent on fossil fuels. This means that this revolution is a revolution without anything really fundamentally changing. The new and improved engine may be able to go a bit longer than the old one burning fossil fuels only would, but since its dependent on it still, it won’t be much longer. But hey… drive this car we DAMNED well will! Driving this car is not merely what we do, it’s what we are. We’ll see if we can come up with a better engine, but getting out of the car is out of the question. Or, in other words, we may try and change what powers civilised culture, but civilised power DAMNED well will be powered.
But the choice of what we use to power civilised culture with is only of marginal importance. The real point is civilised culture itself. Will it cut down the last forests with chainsaws running on petrol, or on water? Will it wage continuously increased totalitarian warfare with bombers flying on kerosine or on rapeseed oil? Will the last wildernesses be divided up into tiny islands by roads (made out of oil) laid by oil-gulping machines or machines running on sunlight? Will the last mines be dug and the last watersheds be ruined by machines running on petrochemicals or on fairy dust.
The end result of merely changing the engine is clear enough for those who look to see. We’ve almost annihilated old-growth forests, poisoned most rivers, decimated wildlife all around the globe, etc., including just about all if not all ‘environmental’ and ‘social’ problems of today, all parts of the collapse of the global ecosystem and the human species well in progress.
That crisis is what got most people interested in ‘environmentalism’. But, as I said before, happenings like COP21 and corporatism and governments have managed to divert, convert and pervert that interest in support for the revolutionary new engine which is mostly the same engine. And no or not much further thought is given to what happens if we keep driving this car which has done so much damage already. This culture is one which is based on the rich few forcing the middle class and poor masses to work away health and life to convert ever more of the living planet ever faster into dead products for the profit of the rich and into toxic waste and ultimately a dead planet. That’s what this car does, even if it should be powered by something which in itself is harmless.
To waste precious time (not to mention the living world bit by bit) on figuring out how to make the engine better is insane if we know that the car will do damage anyway. We do have to get out of it, leave it behind and continue in a way which helps rebuild the living community of this planet. Why is this so hard to see and acknowledge? Because it does away with our identity, and because losing your identity is harder than dying? Really?
Let’s ask Bill Gates.
And let’s then see and acknowledge, and get out of this car and help the living planet rebuild.