Preparing for the Post-Carbon Age
by Doris "Granny D" Haddock
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The question for environmental activists is this: can the planet be saved even if many of the people do not understand the problem or, despite the ready facts, are insistent upon staying the course of self-destruction because it profits them in the short term? Will the rising stormy seas, the spreading deserts and droughts, only prompt them to dig their heels deeper into the mud of the melting levees?
And as a species, are we not waddling toward the cliff? Why has no great leader stood upon a rock with sufficient persuasion to halt the march and save the day? Are the forces now too great against mere words? Are the zombie masses, holding the hands of their children, on a Jonestown-like death march we cannot fathom or halt? Is it evolution itself we are watching, with our species automatically pre-wired for extinction when there are, say, by God's count, more Washington lobbyists than tree frogs - and with stickier fingers?
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Strategically, I can imagine two possible outcomes for this battle. One is dark and one is bright.
Here is the dark one. Global catastrophe builds upon global catastrophe. Democracies become dictatorships as the masses reach for leadership and rescue from storm, pestilence and famine. Shooting wars break out between those who follow and those who oppose. A time of violence and suffering falls upon the planet. The resources that could have been spent to repair the ecosystem are needed for police security and mass imprisonment or worse. The weakened species, as a whole, finds itself in no position to survive when agricultural systems collapse and anarchy overwhelms all authority. I cannot see much past that, though there is probably much to see.
Here is the bright one. Global catastrophe builds upon global catastrophe. (Yes, I know it starts out badly.) More and more people opt out of the carbon economy to join a rising society of people and communities who have moved rapidly toward an ethic of responsibility and sustainability. These communities produce the best leaders, more and more of whom are elected to national positions. Many existing national leaders begin to move toward the ethic of these communities and of sustainability. More and more towns and cities, led by goal-setting organizations dominated by young people, accept sustainable goals. The first President of the United States from such a community is elected in the same year that similar leaders are chosen in Europe, India and several other regions. The Untied Nations is rapidly reorganized around its own Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a post-carbon age economic model. Multi-national corporations are outlawed, as corporations must now be overseen by the communities that grant their limited, public purpose charters.
Now, which one of these visions, among the millions we could dream up, is the more likely? Or will the future be something in-between, where there are solar cells on every roof, but every roof is a detention facility?
What shall it be? Must we find caves in the far woods and set our booby traps against the storm troopers of the Empire who might come for us, or shall we get some responsible communities moving forward?
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["Granny D" continues this address with recommendations for success at the link above. . .]