FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Climacide: Survival Rebranding

A 15-year old Swedish girl bitch slapped the world’s representatives at the recent climate conference in Poland. She stood before them and called them frauds and fakers, while they sat in limp silence. She said they’d had their chances to do something effective about the climate crisis, and they had failed. It was time for them to get out of the way and leave the solution to the next generation, whose future was at stake.

The delegates applauded lamely and resumed their assignment of crafting an intricate  rule book for implementing the earlier Paris climate accords, which were admittedly voluntary, unenforceable and insufficient to the magnitude of the crisis. The American contingent in Poland even staged an event glorifying the burning of more coal—but “clean” coal with some carbon capture to make such operations benign.

This scene repeats a familiar pattern now reduced to a ritual. Professed experts and interests gather to assess what has been done. They concede their efforts have been earnest but inadequate. Some among them, plus intruders, pitch a fit about how little has been accomplished. All pledge to do better—and then go home and continue doing much the same as before.

These rituals apparently have the endurance to continue while the seas rise into the conference halls, the forests burn down around them and the people are rioting in the surrounding streets.

The world began formally addressing the issue this way with the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988—IPCC. At that time global warming was becoming a common name for the looming disaster. But this wasn’t scientifically sound because the evidence showed an increase in hot and cold spikes, rains and droughts, storms and calms around a gradually rising average global temperature in pace with atmospheric carbon dioxide increases from human activities. And global warming sounded too hellishly fire and brimstone apocalyptic.

Climate change seemed more accurate and less alarmist. It allowed the proper authorities to proceed routinely with their studies and recommendations, resulting thirty years later in the bitch slapping in Poland.

Climate change virus

Meanwhile the term climate change has become a virus. It is built into the name of the efforts to salvage the earth. The Poland gathering was COP 24 (the 24thConference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). And climate change appears throughout the world’s faltering attempts to grapple with the puzzle: governmental debates, academic studies, journalistic commentary, social media, coffeehouse chatter—everywhere.

This phrase comforts the skeptics and deniers. It assigns no cause or culprit and offers no cure. It suggests the climate has always been changing and might revert to earlier conditions or swirl into tipping point turbulence. In either case, human deeds are not the main driver of events. Change just happens and the prudent course is to adapt to whatever occurs.

Most scientists, and other sentient beings, immersed in the issue know this vision isn’t true. But the doubters keep sucking on it like a soothing sweet. For their sake (and the rest of ours also) this mental lollypop needs to be yanked out of their mouth and replaced with a brain cleansing purgative.

A word or phrase that accurately indicates what’s happening and suggests causes and cures. Something like: climacide.

Rectification of names

Adopting this replacement for climate change would honor the 2,500-year-old advice of Confucius, which he termed the rectification of names. He insisted that things must be given their correct names, because without that they cannot be understood, and appropriate action cannot occur. In the late 20th century accidental Confucian Utah Phillips applied this insight to conditions he observed around him. He said (reputedly—attribution is fuzzy but it surely resembles something that would appear in his songs or sayings): “The world isn’t dying. It’s being killed by people who have names and addresses.”

Climacide compacts all that into one word manufactured to fit current reality. It indicates that climate changeisn’t simply happening. It is being done by somebody and some institutions with malicious or reckless intent, and they remain at large, and they must be identified, apprehended, and stopped. Because they are guilty of ongoing death-dealing for the world’s climate: climacide. 

That may seem extreme, but so are the circumstances. Dignified, studious approaches have illuminated the situation but they are at risk of outliving their usefulness if the temptation for evermore study paralyzes action.

Merely substituting climacide for climate change wherever this lame term appears would help deliver a mobilizing jolt.

Imagine correcting the name of the body trying to cat-herd the world’s scientists, politicians, businesses, and peoples in a fruitful direction. It’s no longer the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It’s the IPC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climacide. That instantly makes it less a forum for conferences and reports and more a case for Interpol and the International Criminal Court.

Demotic possession

Or consider this recent op-ed leakage from Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer—but wherever he wrote climate change insert climacide:

For too long, Congress has failed to act in a meaningful way to combat the threat posed by climacide. Powerful special interests have a stranglehold on many of my Republican colleagues; some GOP legislators even refuse to acknowledge that climacide is happening. So despite the immense size of the problem, despite wildfires that sweep through the West and hurricanes that grow more powerful over the years, real action on climacide has been stymied by the denialism of the president and too many Republicans in Congress.

This simple change alters Schumer, makes him sound like he’s been possessed by the spirit of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Do the same whenever you encounter climate change in writing, the media, conversation, politicians’ blather—everywhere. Mentally insert climacide instead. This will be a tedious, irksome daily chore. Your brain will bristle, you will itch and twitch, fidget and fume, become so irritated and alarmed that you might actually get up and do something.

Whatever that might be, it’s probably better than what most of us are now doing, which is standing on the beach watching the eruption of a distant volcanic island, while its tsunami rushes toward us.

More articles by:

DAVID UNDERHILL lives in Mobile, Alabama. He can be reached at drunderhill@yahoo.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 20, 2019
Robert Hunziker
The Dangerous Methane Mystery
David Schultz
The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics
Sabri Öncü
Thus Spoke the Bond Market
Gary Leupp
Japanese and German Doubts on U.S. Drumbeat Towards Iran War
Binoy Kampmark
The Fragility of Democracy: Hong Kong, China and the Extradition Bill
Doug Johnson
On the Morning Consult Poll, Margins of Error, and the Undecideds in the Democratic Primary
Laura Flanders
In Barcelona, Being a Fearless City Mayor Means Letting the People Decide
Martha Rosenberg
Humor: Stop These Language Abuses
Jim Goodman
Current Farm Crisis Offers Opportunity For Change
Cesar Chelala
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
Kim C. Domenico
Lessons from D.H. : A Soul-based Anarchist Vision for Peace-making
Jesse Jackson
Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign
Wim Laven
We Need Evidence-Based Decision Making
Cesar Chelala
Health Consequences of Overwork
June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail