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FLOP21: It’s Survival Time Now

“With the climate talks in Paris now over, the world has set itself a serious goal: limit temperature rise to 1.5C. Or failing that, 2C. Hitting those targets is absolutely necessary: even the one-degree rise that we’ve already seen is wreaking havoc on everything from ice caps to ocean chemistry. But meeting it won’t be easy, given that we’re currently on track for between 4C and 5C. Our only hope is to decisively pick up the pace.”

~ Bill McKibben

Aside from the disingenuousness of THE guy who spent the Obama years convincing people that stopping one unnecessary pipeline link would do the trick having led directly to the lack of “pace” he now decries. Despite the absurdity of McKibben flying himself – joined by thousands of other First World paid “Climate Campaigners” – to Paris on Wings of Tar Sands to address limiting carbon pollution. (I don’t care how the Indigenous protesters got there – any carbon use to spotlight their plight is forgiven.) And, despite the fact that after all this time and money spent, 350 et al. have yet to publish an easily accessible list of consumer end products derived from Tar Sands (yes, aviation fuel is #1) and 350.org has 18 different campaigns going on their website and not one of them addresses Consumption – McKibben is circumspect compared to the lock-step Triumphalist Rhetoric emanating from Green Central, Industry and First World governments when it comes to assessing COP21.

Another thing Bill fails to note is that the US and its developed nation allies undemocratically changed the word “Shall” to “Should” in the final agreement.

If an agreement says, I “shall” take out the garbage or “x” happens, I HAVE to take it out, if I don’t and since there is a clear way of accounting if I don’t, then there are ramifications.  If it says, I “”should” take it out…and if I don’t, well, I “could” have, should have,” but…

flop21

According to the UN report on Paris pledges, at best they will use up 723 out of a 1000 Gt CO2 budget required for a 66% chance to stay below 2°C. At 40 Gt a year, this runs out in 7 years. The red line stretches this to 14 years with a crash abatement program. MIT says that if the pledges work as expected (not perfectly), the red line would need to hit zero by 2040.

Lower the Lifeboats

I’ve been getting to know a lot of younger people ages 25 – 35 of late. I’m older and more experienced, of course; but on many levels, I find we share a lot in common. I also find they have a hunger to know more about the Counterculture – the communitarian and back-to-the-land small footprint parts of it come up a lot. I’ve spent some engaging hours rambling on about it with them. I tell them tales of past efforts I’ve been part of: from Civil Rights, Peace Movement, Land Trusts, the Ancient Forest Campaign and other eco-efforts. I tell them what I think worked, why some things did not work and what distractions to look out for. I apologize for failing to have done more and for what they will face.

They realize what they are looking at, yet, in many ways, they give me hope. Some spend serious, effective time on all the issues I mention above.

As counterculture saint, Wavy Gravy says, “It’s all done with people.”

It’s time to rethink the existing successes of the Counterculture and look to expand on the ethos more; things like: minority rights; women’s rights; Native rights; organic foods; natural medicines; yoga; LGBT rights, if not full acceptance; gay marriage; legal cannabis; Death with Dignity; more individual and Earth-based spirituality …sure, there is still work to improve in all these and other areas. But, these were definitely not the case before the 60s Counterculture. (My buddy Jay’s eyes sparkled recently as he told me the tale of taking a photo of his husband in their legal marijuana patch!)

So, given how what motivated the low footprint back-to-the-land movement of yore – the potentiality of Collapse – is upon us now. Yes, I encourage my young friends to gather and embrace their allies (of all ages) and go together on setting up places to live, grow food and support one another. Some of them already have.

It’s bound to be a rough ride. Whether Gaia can continue to support us Clever Apes given the habitat damage we’ve done is questionable. At the same level of population and consumption, it is a given. People with a land base they can grow food on and allies they can rely on is critical. (There are models of how, examples of how. There are a lot of writings on this part of the 60s culture – lots on agrarian and communal efforts and some on urban farming ones. I’ve pledged to my friends that I “shall” write more on it.)

We may or may not fend off the irreversible decline towards Collapse. Whatever comes along is bound to be unfathomably different. But, we *shall* defend our home. We *shall* go down fighting. We’ll *shall* live our values: we ARE here now, there is nothing else TO do; and as the great counterculture poet/philosopher/warrior John Trudell’s last written words advised– we’re all we got: “Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life.”

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MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

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