Friday, June 12, 2020
A Friend Called
An old friend called yesterday. I think she wanted an annual update on our progress along the Road to Hell. We talked about the pandemic, the George Floyd uprisings, the decline of democracy, a lot of things. Her son-in-law and daughter being police officers, she has taken on a pretty hard-nosed, "law and order" mindset. I knew there was no point getting into it with her so I changed the subject and we moved on.
She was very worried about climate change and what awaits her grandchildren. I gave her an update on recent scientific knowledge as I understand it. She said she wants to get involved but I'm not so sure that her health would even allow that sort of thing.
I told her that a number of years ago I had joined a group from England called Dark Mountain. Discussing it turned into an opportunity to recall what drew me to this collective in the first place.
Dark Mountain is a place for climate activists, climate advocates, writers and poets and anyone who wishes to follow them, no matter the distance. What sets Dark Mountain apart from most groups is that it is expressly for those "tired of the lies that society tells itself."
It is not burdened by fanciful ideas that we are going to win this thing. No, climate breakdown has gone too far. There's no political will to change that in time and no public appetite for the difficult changes that would require. Everyone wants it fixed, sure, but almost nobody will entertain the sacrifices that would necessitate.
There is no magic wand. We don't have the will to do what must be done.
Dark Mountain is about liberating us from myths, delusions and self-deception. It's not about giving up the fight, throwing in the towel. No, not at all. It's about not wasting time on foolish hopes and dreams. Once you're freed from the delusions climate breakdown and the job ahead is so much easier to handle.
Once you're liberated from the desperation it's easier to see what is still worth fighting for. When you reach that point you can see that what we do from here on in still matters. It still matters for my friend's grandkids. It matters for your own.
We can take one of just two paths. We can't salvage for those kids the Eden-like environment and privilege we enjoyed from the 60s through the 90s. No, they'll never know that. Yet, hard as their world will be 20, 30, 50 years from now, our footprint today will be on it. We will be felt.
We can either continue to indulge ourselves, maintain the status quo, and make their future commensurately more painful, more precarious than it need be or we can start to take another path to ensure they have the best future possible. We can harm them or we can maybe, just maybe, help them a bit. If we stop squandering time with meaningless targets and empty promises, we might buy them some time that they can put to better use than we ever will.
And that's still worth fighting for.