The Whole City Catalogue
Climate and the struggle for clarity.
It is difficult to make it clear to people about climate issues
when most people can’t see beyond the day to day toil and struggle to survive. It is difficult for enough for them to see beyond the day, the week, month, never mind the future. The only way this major event that will affect all of our lives is to be understood is in human terms and the basic needs of all human beings no matter where they are.
Climate change is a mainly middle class occupation. It is compelling for many reasons, one being the most important the survival of our planet. But there are many more nuanced problems like saving it for what? Capitalism II? There are still big discussions needing to be had, apart from how to open the debate to the masses of people unaware, unsure and uninterested in this crisis due to many reasons and circumstances. Michael Moors film “Planet of the Humans” and how it was received by the big wheels in the climate debate in trying to censor it, leaves much to be revised and examined. And even more critical was the ten thousand word essay by research journalist Max Blumenthal, which went even further than the film in exposing he corporate interests of some of the worst polluters on the planet that climate activists leaders are getting into bed with.
The obsession with technological solutions misses out one crucial obvious point, one which the predatory corporations understand well. Growth! Expansion by any means. Wether it be oil, biomass (trees) solar power, wave power or any other kind. The flavour of the technology is secondary to the demands being made on it. If we think the Koch brothers, et al, are going to be investing money into life enhancing projects, then we have got to ignore, like many leading the renewable movement have, what they have been doing over the last fifty years or so, which is the exact opposite. They know the bottom is falling out of the oil market and they need to move on, renewables is the next cash cow.
I would risk saying the vast majority of people in the west anyway see technology as a way of saving time, as a convenience that helps them cope with the kind of hassles that the technology itself has partly created for them. Technology becomes the needle, consumerism the drug. Addiction to consumption is the main aim of corporate oligarchies. What comes through the needle is of no consequence, so long as the habit is developed and maintained.
Without dealing with the addiction as we are all experiencing, unless we have been living under a rock for the last ten years. The urge to consume can not be solved by technological fixing. On its own it only gives the idea that it is ok to continue to consume. The dealer needs to be removed, not to just to give way for another to take their place. The only way to get rid of the corporate dealer is to hurt what they hold dear. To starve them of the nutrients that they thrive on. Profits!
It is ok for some middle class person who may have spent their lives been delivered to school or to a friends place on the family four wheel, to then pontificate working class folks that we all need to give up cars. Along with the many other taken for granted privileges enjoyed by those who are better off.
To folk who see the ownership of a car as an achievement in their lives. We are constantly telling folk to give up, sometimes, what they themselves have never even had. Or to buy better food that is not available to them, even if they did have the money. This is not a great tactic for building a movement.
While the university educated may have some edge over us punters, what they lack is the vehicle for translating knowledge and articulating ideas and information into peoples experiences at the bottom end of the pay scale. Most people buy shit to replace other things missing in their lives. Unless these other thing can be brung to he surface, to be valued, protected and celebrated. The corporate beast will continue to survive by the nutrient of consumption, no matter what technology is used to manufacture, market and deliver it.