My favorite quote of the moment comes from the 2006 paperback edition of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature
The eldest President Bush was facing a reelection battle against Bill Clinton, and so advisers persuaded him to attend the world environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, possibly the most optiistic moment in recent history. Before he went, however, he told a press conference that “the American way of life is not up for negotiation.” If that’s true, if we can’t imagine living any differently, then all else is mere commentary.
One thing that unites Kossacks, IMO, is that we imagine a different life, a different world, a better one, a better path forward … and we all, in our own ways, fight to achieve those visions (whether shared or not).
I am imagining life differently. One path terrifies me. am terrified at the world that we are creating at a head-long pace. Global Warming … I am terrified at economic prospects in coming years … Peak Oil.
And, I imagine life differently and it energizes me to fight to Energize America.
Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature is one of those books that should be required reading of all Americans — perhaps as part of High School ‘global citizenship’ programs that would help understand the interactions of our lives with those around us (human and otherwise), today and into the future, and how this feedbacks to affect our own lives (out into the future).
The End of Nature is about Global Warming — published first in 1989, it was the first mass accessible book about Global Warming. ”The End of Nature” refers to McKibben’s (convincing) thesis that atmospheric changes due to CO2 (and related GHG) emissions have eliminated the concept of “untouched” wilderness and wrecked the notions of the constants of nature so central to core concepts of the world. McKibben calls on us (US) to think differently to try to avert the consequences he (and many experts) saw looking into the future.
In particular, my “imagine life differently” focus relates to Peak Oil and Global Warming. My casual concerns over these have, thanks to learning sparked by the likes of Jerome a Paris, turn to varying levels of fear and utter terror as I try to comprehend the world that we — collectively — are creating for ourselves and the future. I am learning ever more about the feedbacks and interconnections that are such a part of The End of Nature.
Bill McKibben’s latest article, Energizing America, appeared in the Sierra Club magazine. McKibben, not for the first, time specifically called out the Daily Kos effort (led by Jerome a Paris) Energize America for praise (page 3)
Since Guillet’s day job involves analyzing the economics of energy projects, he soon expanded his sphere to explaining the basics of the energy crisis. Before long, others on the site interested in the same issues found themselves working with Guillet to produce, revise, and then revise again a detailed 20-point plan they call “Energize America,” a remarkably comprehensive energy strategy that pays full attention to political reality. Currently in version 5.0, the plan proposes ideas ranging from the Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act and the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Act to measures designed to boost telecommuting, experiment with state renewable energy efforts, and put solar panels on 20 million roofs. It’s precisely the kind of full-blown proposal that, if adopted, might fundamentally reorient our energy future.
We — here at Daily Kos and, in my case, the Kossacks involved in Energize America — are striving to imagine life differently.
I am a pessimistic optimist. My pessimism envisions an extremely bleak future (sadly within far near a term future), with terrifying economic (political, global, and perhaps conflict) havoc from Peak Oil and mass damage from Global Warming capped with a horrible die off to come.
My optimism drives a belief that I (that we) have something to say about this future. That we have the potential to change our path as I said in my presentation at Yearly Kos 2006:
the United States is hurtling toward the cliff like Thelma and Louise , but we’re in our Hummers rather than a convertible. And, we are dragging the world … and future generations … behind us, bound hand and foot by our dangerous habits and shaky energy structure. Energize America seeks to take us out of our obsolete, fuel-guzzling Hummers, hurtling into a dismal future, into 100+ mile per gallon (mpg), composite, flex-fuel, plug-in hybrid cars and SUVs that will allow us to turn aside from the cliff into a brighter and sustainable future.
In my life,From the Home to the Globe, I am striving to do my part to affect this change. Whether putting insulation in my roof, participating in The Climate Project (training by Al Gore on An Inconvenient Truth, with a commitment to give presentations in the future), or communicating to others (including on Daily Kos), I am striving to turn us away from that cliff.
As part of those efforts, I plan to take up dannyinla’s challenge and will diligently challenge those who seek to maintain a path hurtling over that cliff, whether that is inefficient Christmas light displays, McSUVs, not recyling aluminum cans, challenging Astroturf or Global Warming enablers (like Robert J Samuelson) … but dannyinla’s challenge referred to Daily Kos and I will take up that challenge TO CHALLENGE those here who do not comprehend the reality of the threats that Peak Oil and Global Warming portend for us, US, and the future.
For example, I am absolutely fed-up with all the reactions here at DailyKos about gasoline taxes. Now, I am not a believer any longer in gasoline tax — I want a Global Warming Impact Fee– but, the American “Way of Life” must be open for ‘negotiation’ or else we are calling into question the potential for even having a ‘way of life’ that is worth living for tomorrow’s Americans (or, the later years of today’s Americans — both are true).
But, my reaction to ‘gas tax is impossible … is immoral because X, Y, Z’ is “if that is true, if we can’t imagine living any differently, then all else is mere commentary.” We must change and a gasoline tax might be part of the package for making the change. We can figure out how to use the revenues to fast convert charities, government, people lower on the economic scale to lower-GHG (better fuel mileage) transportation. We can use the revenue in many ways, but exemptions — forget it, we want everyone (EVERYONE) to be seeking ways to cut their requirements for GHG-related fuels. Exemptions cut at that incentive.
And, I will be extremely happy to see the end of subsidies (direct and indirect) to oil, coal, etc …
But, I can imagine life differently — and I am terrified at the world that we are creating at a head-long pace. Global Warming … I am terrified at economic prospects in coming years … Peak Oil.
I cannot any longer leave stand any comment about ‘gasoline taxes are regressive’ — not anymore. Is there any “tax” more regressive than the damage that we are doing to the globe and the dangers it creates for the potential of human life in the years ahead? Politically inconvenient? Perhaps — but what is politics about but striving to create a better polity for all, and a better polity that is improving into the future. Without a meaningful confrontation of both Peak Oil and Global Warming, that future will not be better.
Nor can I leave stand comments about ‘this is beyond us’ or ‘we can’t do anything’ or … I refuse … I accept dannyinla’s challenge to challenge … And, that is a subset of … My New Year’s Resolution:
Imagine Life Differently …
Imagine it Better …
Seek to create that better life …