If the Climate Crisis is a Lemon, a Just Transition is the Lemonade

Have you read Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” or seen her recent article on why #blacklivesmatter?

To change everything, this movement is gonna take everybody. (Don’t take my word for it, more than 400,000 people agree)

But what are we actually talking about?

Once we get past the boring math-based logic about carbon budgets and 2 degrees of warming — and really understand their gravity — how do we combat the anxiety and apathy that result from the overwhelming enormity of it? How can we take the “lemons” of this unprecedented problem of global climate disruption to finally “make lemonade” –not just for a few rich white families, but for all 7.125 billion of us?

We must intentionally address not just scientific reality, but the deep-seated systemic injustices and glaring racial inequities that our current system quietly endorses, and begin to draft an inclusive and sustainable vision for a world that we ALL want to live in.

Social justice, achieved in part by public investments in transportation, healthcare, education, local food and decentralized energy, will be best achieved in a “post-fossilized democracy” — one that puts people way ahead of profit and the preservation of our planet before the hyper-consumptive habits of a minority of people who have more than their fair share of resources at their “disposal”.

This movement requires not only a cultural shift that breaks down the barriers of what was possible under the status quo of yesteryear, but re-imagines the world we want to live in today, and the even better one that we wish for our grandchildren.

This starts by telling new stories, sharing our collective struggles, and forging deeper relationships within our communities.

Ultimately, what I hope would result is a new society that is based on a regenerative economy instead of a consumptive one.

This new society would acknowledge the shortcomings of laissez-faire economics and end the perpetuation of perverse incentives that concentrate wealth, generate waste, and promote the global manifestation of toxic corporate zombie-capitalism.

A new society would facilitate an economy that mandates a closed-loop business model — where the inputs and outputs of production flow in circular loops instead of one-way garbage piles.

Our current system is not based on maximization of Life. It’s based on the maximization of profit.

Our values do not align with our dominant system. And although mega corporations do have a lot of money, We have morality on our side. And as Naomi Klein points out, we have precedence: “the intrinsic value of life is at the heart of all major progressive victories, from universal suffrage to universal healthcare”.

More from This Changes Everything:this-changes-everything

  • “These economic demands–for basic public services that work, for decent housing, for land redistribution–represent nothing less than the unfinished business of the most powerful liberation movements of the past two centuries, from civil rights, to feminism, to Indigenous sovereignty.”
  • “The massive global investments required to respond to the climate threat–to adapt humanely and equitably to the heavy weather we have already locked in, and to avert the truly catastrophic warming we can still avoid–is a chance to change all that, and to get it right this time.”
  • “As the furthest-reaching crisis created by the extractivist worldview, and one that puts humanity on a firm and unyielding deadline, climate change can be the force–the grand push–that will bring together all of these still living movements (for full human rights regardless of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation; for real decolonization and reparation; for food security and farmers’ rights; against oligarghic rule; and to defend and expand the public sphere).”
  • “What if part of the reason so many of us have failed to act is not because we are too selfish to care about an abstract or seemingly far-off problem–but because we are utterly overwhelmed by how much we do care? And what if we stay silent not out of acquiescence but in part because we lack the collective spaces in which to confront the raw terror of ecocide?”

Let’s create those spaces.

Let’s integrate our environmental movement with broader social and economic struggles—because we will not win, unless we all win.

It’s time for us to get organized.

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