Too Little, Too Late for Sure

Now that presents have all been opened and we’re at least beginning to think about cleaning up the resulting mess, we might also want to consider a parallel situation.

We are not quite finished opening up all the presents from fossil fuels. It’s been a process of several centuries since Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric engine was used in 1712 for pumping in a mine. Although there are a few presents still to be unwrapped, we are certainly¬†beginning to notice the mess left behind – climate change, acidification of the rising oceans, persistent organic pollutants such as pesticides, herbicides and endocrine disruptors, and the cascading consequences of the sixth Great Extinction.

It’s quite a mess to clean up. With the exception of a few efforts here and there, the cleanup has not yet begun. For an idea of just how serious this issue is – far outside the scope of issues hotly debated within our corrupt two-party system – you should really read John Michael Greer’s latest essay “Too Little, Too Late.”¬† Continue reading

Today’s Modest Proposal

In 1729, Jonathan Swift published “A Modest Proposal.” The full title is, “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.” In it, he proposed that impoverished Irish families could solve their financial problems by selling their children as food for rich people.

In 1729, everyone who read the article readily understood that (a) selling your children is a horrible idea and (b) the article is satire.

Almost three centuries later, with our culture saturated by advertising and political propaganda (which is essentially just a specialized form of advertising), it is not so readily understood that discussing nuclear reactors as a solution for global warming (a) is a horrible idea and (b) should be understood as a cynical attempt to extend the current business system operating by deflecting attention from actions that would actually do something to minimize global warming.  Continue reading