Chris Hedges is one of the foremost ‘public intellectuals’ in the USA. One of the clearest voices on the left and a harsh critic of US imperialism. Hedges takes a clear, uncompromising view of the reality that is confronting us.
He advises us to abandon hope, as that leads to disappointment and desolation, and to focus on what we can practically achieve and through that process find deep personal meaning in our engagement.
He references many key texts, and draws on his deep experience of 20 years as foreign corespondent for the New York Times before quitting his influential position as head of the middle east office over the NYT’s refusal to accurately convey the disaster that was the Iraq war. The interview is deeply revealing of how the state controls the narrative and also how journalism has been eroded to ‘court gossip’.
Ex Wall Street bond trader, turned financial journalist presents a fresh perspective on economics and social change. This episode fits perfectly into the theme of climate emergency and collapse. Its a good watch and on topic, witty, acerbic, insightful and informed.
Are we living in an era of soft totalitarianism?
Will there be a Davos 2020?
‘Bitcoin is the guillotine of the 21st century’
Thinking about the fragility and beauty of the natural world
We need to cultivate a culture of deep reverence for nature and be prepared to accept the lessons of our own observations. I added this as a counter balance to the other two videos.
However we see the times we are living though it seems to me it is this interaction between our economic world and the real ecology we are embedded in that we need to concentrate on fully as we are clearly getting this very wrong currently. The issue both of the first two videos addresses is the mechanism by which we can over throw the status quo. The over throw of Wall Street, of the Imperialism and the empowerment of all people to face our collective challenges together seems to be a common theme.
Cornwall Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’.
The authority says the declaration “recognises the climate change crisis and the need for urgent action”. It follows a motion debated at a full Council meeting today, where the Council called on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve the target for Cornwall to become carbon neutral by 2030 and committed to work with other Councils with similar ambitions.
The motion – ‘Urgency on Climate Change’ – was brought to Full Council by Councillor Dominic Fairman, local member for St Teath and St Breward, and seconded by Councillor Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for neighbourhoods.
The motion was amended by Councillor for Falmouth Smithick, Jayne Kirkham, to declare a climate emergency in line with the declarations of other local authorities.
Cllr Fairman said: “After a very lively debate a cross-party amendment was accepted which went even further than the original motion. If we are to avoid the worst-case scenarios, then the social change required will be deep.
Town by town and now whole counties are declaring a climate emergency, but what does that entail?
Should we all be pushing for similar action locally?
The science is settled, yet we seem unable to collectively plot a course to a safe horizon. Global emissions are still rising, they are still drilling and even worse we are still subsidizing the costs of bringing fossil energy to market and putting obstacles in the way of renewable energy development and investment. This must change.
But we definitely know that continuing to work in the ways we have done until now is not just backfiring – it is holding the gun to our own heads. With this in mind, we can choose to explore how to evolve what we do, without any simple answers.
Prof Jem Bendal PhD
The Prof. in a recent paper of staggering implications argues convincingly that we have to consider three courses of action, immediately as carrying on as we are is counter-productive to our own survival.
In the paper Deep Adaptation we are urged to look at our lives under these 3 headings
Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?”
What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies will wish to maintain as they seek to survive?
Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?”
This involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption.
Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”
This involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.
There is much we dont know
Equally there is much that we do, the inevitability of transition or total collapse and the need for urgency. Every prediction made using 1990’s climate modelling is being overshot by current reality, we are looking at very grim scenarios within all of our lifetimes.. the only way we can mitigate the crisis we face is to begin to frame our collective response. If it is a crisis of our own doing, then we need to call it a crisis and stop doing those things rapidly
We will be meeting in the Cross Keys again next week, that is Thursday 31st January, Llanfyllin High Street. It is a free event, refreshments are served, donations to Cross Keys are welcome. Doors open 7.00 pm formal business from 7.30.
In last weeks meeting we looked at issues around key topics.
Feedback points included the following
Land, farming, food
A profound shift is happening in farming, localised, seasonal, organic, diversity friendly and carbon negative. There was interest in generating dialogue with farmers to release more marginal plots to re-wilding and local food projects. Starting co-ops, supporting local groups, more allotments and better growing skills and local distribution
Church land? Other public spaces that could be re-wilded or made productive
Will also be profoundly hit by transport costs. Ideas shared were can children educate their parents, it is after all there future that is being destroyed. The kind of jobs people are being prepared for will not exist, are we even creating the right skill set in pupils. Can we cope emotionally with the changes before us.
Food growing, processing storing and cooking. Can permaculture be part of education, and children more empowered to shape the school environment and hierarchy?
Un-schooling, can we bring people of different ages and backgrounds together to share life experiences and skills and find new ways of learning?
Powys has miles of roads, a dispersed population and is very vulnerable to cliamte or market disruptions. We need to think a lot more about transport. Car we go car free through sharing schemes, car clubs and community taxis. Electric bikes, what other alternatives are there?
Can we create a local currency, or several different types of ways to interact with local, esp. food economy. Social ecoomy work can be rewarded with local currency.
In year one of the One School One Planet we screened this video at the school, as a baseline for understanding of climate science. Chaired by HRH Charles, introduced by David Attenborough and presented by Professor Johan Rokstrom it is an
‘invitation on a transformational journey’ Professor Johan Rokstrom
We have also invited our community to watch the ‘Overview Effect’ which documents the impact of viewing the Earth from space has had on many of the astronauts and space shuttle crew who have been in orbit.
Some Key Quotes from those who have viewed Earth from space
It is not just fixing an economic or a political system, but it our whole world view, our basic understanding of who we are that is at stake
A part of that is to come up with a new picture, a new story, a new way to approach this and to shift our behavior in a way that it leads to sustainable way instead of a destructive approach. Right now that seems very difficult to see how it is going to be, but we are going to have to work on it.
An a grand scale we are all basically living in this ecosystem called earth and everything that you do on side of the ecosystem affects the other side and that is a new way of living for most of humanity
Emergency is not too strong a word
Link to the presentation we will be discussing and answering questions about on Thursday 20th Dec at the Cross Keys Llanfyllin high street
One School One Planet is a Sector39 led project over three years to find ways to link school curriculum, climate action and community development together, using permaculture. We feel you cant teaching about climate change and ecological problems without also responding to them. Showing how to respond the problem, whilst also exploring the nature of the problem itself.