Disregard, for the moment, the reality of climate change science. Yes, climate on this dynamic planet is changing, has always changed and will always change until it is consumed in the fires of an expanding sun, the ultimate global warming.
Meanwhile, hysteria over perceived man-made global warming is being used to mask the very real causes of global air and water pollution, global soil reduction, global fresh water depletion, global habitat loss and global species extinction.
The destructive effects of man’s industrial activities are not restricted to Greenhouse Gases. They include billions of tons of toxic materials, the byproducts of our wasteful, industrialized consumer society, that are cast off into the local and global environment. They include the commandeering of the public commons for private profit, the paving and development of natural lands, incessant gobbling-up of critical habitat that supports the biodiversity of all life on earth.
The media-magnified events in Copenhagen have succeeded in diverting attention from business as usual on this poor, beleaguered planet, concentrating the world’s attention on “undeveloped” countries (largely over-exploited ex-colonies of larger imperialist nations), who are encouraged to use the excuse of global warming oppression to support “environmentally responsible” development.
Note carefully that last word, “development.”
Military and economic imperialism petered out in the failed wars of Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq. It has become clear that international adventurism is no longer to be tolerated in a world of 6 billion people, a large chunk of whom are paying more attention to world events through the Internet, bypassing the traditional stenographers of power in the world’s corporate press.
A new “enemy” must be identified against which the world can mobilize.
That enemy is climate change.
The fight against climate change opens up a new world of industrial and economic expansion. Think of the possibilities: miles and miles of solar panels, wind farms stretching to the horizon, highways chucky-jammed full of sleek electric cars, networks of battery charging stations, the Arctic opened up to oil and mineral exploration. It’s enough to make a corporate CEO’s heart go pitter-pat.
But wait a minute. Where do all the rare minerals and metals come from to build this wondrous new future? Where does the energy come from to build the new energy infrastructure? How does all this technology get transported from source to site? And who controls access to the raw materials and who profits from its mining, distribution, manufacture and use. Those people in small, colonized countries suffering from “global warming?”
What happened to conservation, recycling, reuse, doing without? What happened to self-responsibility, self-reliance, mutual aid?
Seeing our way to a truly sustainable human future means clearing away the smoke of media obfuscation and shading our eyes from the reflected glare of technological promise.
When one is standing on the precipice, with toes hanging over the edge, progress consists of turning around and taking a step forward.