The activist within calls
by Jan Lundberg
work toward an alternative to global-warming industrialization. If I
dont, who does? If not you, who? Of the few who say they do, more
often than not they compromise on policy as they remain unduly attached to
consumer comforts. So, the best effort we see from almost any
environmentalist known via the mainstream corporate media is the attempt to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by just a modest degree.
position regarding the changing of society to best deal with the destruction of
the natural global climate is one of kind rather than degree. However, my
own preferences, and John Q. Publics expectations, are irrelevant compared to
whatever will likely be our common experience ahead.
civilizations onward march is not a given. Its reign has been a very
short span in recent human experience. Even the blind admirers of Western
Civilization must admit that modern threats to life excesses of material
power by the dominating elements of Western Civilizations societies are
perhaps so immense, and escalating, as to be beyond humanitys control.
Unfortunately, the admirers and the dominant elites approach is above all
to maintain todays form of order and to serve up more of the same, with no
real abatement of polluting the beleaguered ecosystem. It has gotten to
the point of our having to accept a probably disastrous amount of global warming
as the only future.
analysis of our lot in the 21st century allows for greater tolerance of and
experimentation with a much less technological way of life. For decades it
has been premature, oddly, to be opposed to relying on a skewed transportation
system that has killed more Americans than all the wars that have involved us.
And, looking at the epidemic of cancer, so few of us have found it reasonable to
reject eating factory-farm food and minimize toxic and radioactive environmental
hazards, that these habits are taken for granted as normal and acceptable.
An explanation lies in the average persons principal need to just get along
and make the grade or get the next paycheck.
it not ones right and duty, nevertheless, to decide there is little to like
under a deadly civilization that cant seem to stop distorting the climate
until it reaches the greenhouse effect of a hothouse known as Venus? We
can promote a new socioeconomic model and predict the demise of technological
civilization, whether we enjoy aspects of current culture or not. We must
separate the benign accomplishments from the terrible errors, and look at the
common basis of it all: coercion and growth, spiced with superlative works.
Mozart was a great composer and musician, but that does not make the case that
the civilization he and you and I share is sustainable or the only way to live.
February 23 the city of Fredericksburg and the powers-that-be exploded the old
Embrey Dam to let the Rappahannock River run free again, for the first time in a
century and a half. Here is evidence that we are finally getting on the
right track. Civilization has wowed us with the works of man, but has
killed off countless cultures that lived in peace with their lands for
millennia. The native Americans needed no dams, cars, prisons, nuclear
missiles, petroleum-packaged junk food, TV-addictionyou name it.
Obviously, one can no longer just walk off and join a simpler culture of Indians
(which was what many a white newcomer did in the first several decades of
Virginias European invasion and conquest).
we can and must do is examine our way of life insofar as overwork and absence
from home & family all serve to render less and less rewarding our
materialist value system. Primitive cultures dont even have a word for
work because they take care of basic needs as a matter of daily activity.
Such work is not even needed every day, because a pristine
ecosystem provides endless amounts and varieties of food. That leaves
extra time for leisure. Progress
has deprived us of leisure and a free ecosystem.
Getting riled up is healthy
to the concept of having intrusive government over ones head, and resisting
exploitation, oppression and pollution, are clear enough to the few who manage
to get a whiff of such ideas. However, the achievement of such
consciousness does not often translate to actual programs or new communities
that function on a mutual-support basis.
if social movements are not off-base (almost always the case), they are
powerless even when on the mark in dealing with technological civilization and
alleviating the abuses of oligarchy.
forecasting the likely end-results of todays trends (e.g., petroleum
dependence and population growth) is perhaps the only doable course. But it also
can serve to stimulate social movements, however doubtful in a time of massive
complacency and various forms of oppression, subtle and otherwise.
against the machine and frustration regarding dominant societys crimes
against humanity and the planet are consequences of knowing the truth and
developing ones critique. It is arguable that our collective situation
is so bad and so extreme in victimizing the individual that any reaction
despair, hate, violence is understandable even when not justifiable by you
near brain-dead among the abused masses of consumers would do well to keep their
eyes and ears open for the extreme critique that rejects the value system
responsible for an increasingly intolerable and irrational system of management.
At the same time, the values that elevate our humanity, such as our kindness,
innovativeness, and respect for family must take on greater roles if we are to
turn a corner on the current direction of war, environmental destruction and the
dead end of economic growth that benefits only the few.
good indication of lack of intelligence amongst the majority of people is made
when one considers the obvious role of industrial advertisers reporting
the news. Despite the overt pressure and the covert perversion of
editorial and social messages in all media, all to many people imagine they are
receiving enough correct information such that they can see through any lies or
bias. The near universal refusal to seek or receive alternative views and
vital new information bodes poorly for any society facing fundamental change.
active suppression of public discussion on basic issues such as climate change
and petroleum dependence is a cruel disservice to everyone. However, it
props up the status quo that is ultimately interested almost solely in
accumulating wealth individualistically.
can be easily claimed that the wealthy, particularly the extremely wealthy, are
the problem, as if their removal from the face of the Earth would alter
the system like a decapitated creature no longer feeding on other forms of
life. However, a million Bush and Kerry wannabes are waiting in the wings
to seize power and enjoy maximum privilege. A bloodbath is an absurd and
weak-minded solution. At the same time, it is remarkable that poor
masses tolerate so much misery at the hands of the rich.
most conservative bastion of the U.S. is Fredericksburg, Virginia, a recently
acquired suburb of Washington, DC on the Rappahannock River. It was a
vital town in colonial times. Amidst this relatively affluent population
that is blithely consuming along, thanks in large part to huge
military-industrial complex wages, two signs of discontent were recently spotted
in the cutesy, historic downtown: (1) Eat the rich is a stencil depicting
a lion marked with a circled A (for anarchy) who is eating up a man
(presumably evil). (2)
Revolt! is part of some wall-graffiti visible just off the main street.
In terms of numbers of non-mainstream citizens, the anarchists
responsible for these public sentiments are barely outnumbered by the Naderites
who might be 1% of Fredericksburg.
the gravity of issues facing us, how can falling in love, for example, solve any
of this? It cant, but it can
help. Enjoying a good movie or bottle of good wine can help too. But
it is getting past the time to get organized, if we are to successfully and
honestly address the challenges that would completely unravel the social fabric
and the natural world.
American flag has nothing to do with any of these issues. Any national
flag can obscure issues, and can be co-opted by the forces of reaction to defend
and extend the status quo. But the flag is also anyones right to fly as
a symbol of personal freedom and defiance of any form of oppression. Wave
your flag(s), but lets talk to each other and get to the next level before
the flood hits. That would imply
taking proactive measures such as taking out the dams and working together for
the common weal.
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Pentagon plans for climate change: read a Fortune magazine article.
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Jan Lundberg's columns are protected by copyright; however, non-commercial use of the material is permitted as long as full attribution is given with a link to this website, and he is informed of the re-publishing: firstname.lastname@example.org