What went wrong? Why we didn’t act on climate when we still could have done owt meaningful?

Just tweeted the following microrant –

It is extraordinary. Unlike ppl who organised in far harder conditions, where dissent (or just BEING) could easily get you killed, #climate activists in the “West”, with freedom of speech, assembly, information, “the science” etc etc have been not just outspent, but outplayed 1/2outthought, outfought, outACTED. Emissions keep climbing. Populations bewitched by denial or soothing stories of technological salvation. And NOBODY is talking about it, the why and how of it. Like we all took a vow of silence?

There’s of course lots to quibble with (it was two tweets, not a manifesto).

It is silent on the role of the Bad Guys (not just the oil companies, but the bureaucrats and so-called “deep state” (it’s actually quite shallow, in my experience)), the role of the media in trivialising, in bewildering and bewitching. It is silent on the longer-term technological factors which tend to have increased atomisation and datasmog. It is silent, most of all, on the ongoing and escalating attacks on the ability of working people to understand the world and influence it through the usual organisations – unions, community bodies, religious organisations.

And yet, and yet…

Climate activists had conditions that made it okay, in my opinion, to expect a better performance than the one that has emerged. YES, there have of course been victories – pipelines and other projects stopped. The march of the giants has not continued unhindered. But still, they marched.

Where is this, the impetus for this post, coming from? I think partly from a couple of threads on Twitter, not yet a dead platform.

One on a 1964 social psychology paper, showing that – gosh – information on its own is not enough

Another containing reflections from a union guy now involved in climate groups and finding them to be grotesquely naive about power and unable (or, worse, unwilling) to hold politicians’ feet to the fire.

I know that there are people talking about the failure of the climate movement, but it tends to be around issues of “framing” or else they are technophiliacs saying if we all embrace technology X and its mates then all will be well (x usually equals the latest iteration of nuclear).

I don’t see much on the failure of individuals to form into sustained organisations that avoid being co-opted, corrupted, repressed or exhausted. I don’t see much on why – in the countries with all those freedoms, there has been so little sustained response about climate change. Why is that? Do writers simply not see it? Do they see it but then self-censor (because it would cost them friendships, access? Because they don’t want to name a problem without being able to talk about solutions?)

Who knows?

Who cares? I clearly do – or did, when I invented terms like smugosphere, emotacycle, ,egofodder and so on. But I don’t know why I care, because it’s too late to do owt about it, and the changes ahead – and by changes I mean cruelties, brutalities and worse – are going to be beyond what the lessons of the past, even if learnt assiduously, would even soften by a jot.

Update – you might also like my www.allouryesterdays.info site – and the Twitter feed @our_yesterdays

One thought on “What went wrong? Why we didn’t act on climate when we still could have done owt meaningful?

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  1. While I agree with most of this; We, the collective We are failing to talk about the real issue. There is nothing wrong with burning coal, wood, peat or dung, we have done it for centuries. The problem is the amount. The dodged, scared of, or fail to acknowledge issue is GROWTH.
    Growth starts with us, more people require more housing, more food, more energy and so it goes on.
    The only way to address Climate Change, be it good or bad, is to address the the real cause and we won’t. To debate whether to ban fossil fuels or support wind and waves, is about as useful as arguing
    whether QLD should be one hour in front or behind the rest of Australia! I’d ask, does it really matter?

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