Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The great enemy is gradualism

There is about climate change, but it's also about a lot of other things.

The greatest barrier in dealing with climate change is not climate change denial, but climate change gradualism.

Most politicians, most business leaders, heck most leaders in the fossil fuel industry say, "Yes, climate change is important, and we are dealing with it, and here's the plan for dealing with it, slowly reducing carbon emissions and getting to a zero carbon economy in 2050 or 2060 or 2070 if we can manage it."

This plan would be disastrous for the world. When it comes to climate change winning slowly is the same thing as losing. (I've read someone else say this, I can't remember who, these ideas are not original).

The challenge for activists is to be absolutely clear what the demands are, and unapologetic in demanding them.

That's hard, psychologically. If you say, "Give me an apple" and someone gives you a quarter of an apple, there's an instinct that wants to say "thank you" - because at least you got a some of an apple. Maybe this is a reasonable compromise, maybe this is as much apple as the other person could afford to give.

But when it comes to the climate crisis, or with fundamental human rights, or with equality, and the inherent dignity of a group of people, we have to be brave enough to say, "No. I demand nothing less than the whole apple. Anything less is just not good enough."

This risks being perceived as unreasonable, unwilling to meet someone half way, ungrateful. But we must have enough moral certainty to know that this is absolutely necessary. There is no "just enough equality" - there is equality or there isn't. There is no "partially, 'reasonably', gradually" dealing with the climate crisis. There is either dealing with the climate crisis with radical action, or there is criminal irresponsibility. "Compromise", gradualism is not good enough. Gradualism still leads us to disaster.

On climate change we must demand radical action from our governments and accept nothing less.


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