Just as the Cold War turned the power that the U.S. gained after World War II against itself, climate change continues turning power against ourselves (and the rest of the world). Better dead than red, once an anti-communist slogan, takes on a new meaning as impacts from climate change grow while a sizable portion of the U.S. population denies or ignores the signs. We would rather die than suffer from being in the red (in the accounting ledger). It’s the economic equivalent of a drunken man ordering one more for the road.
We go to battle every day, spewing more carbon into the atmosphere, allowing more heat to be trapped. Unlike the Cold War, with its threat of instant annihilation from nuclear weapons, climate change is war on a much longer time scale, taking centuries (maybe only decades), to wreak similar amounts of havoc upon the world. Politically, few of the ruling elite want to make any concessions that they feel would place them in a short-term disadvantage. We have dug ourselves into trenches of apathy, not willing to take an offensive, unaware of the reeking stench of death from within. Read the rest of this entry »
As the dust slowly settled after World War II, an even heavier cloud began to gather over the world. The United States emerged as a clear victor, having developed and used the first atomic weapons while suffering little destruction on its home turf. The U.S. rise to a superpower was primarily built on its ability to destroy anything and everything in a moment’s notice. In a short time, however, that ability was matched by the Soviet Union.
Elsewhere, cities were rebuilt, trials were held, and monuments were erected to the fallen. Humanity not only survived, but by many accounts, truly began to prosper after the second world war. Technological innovation exploded. Space exploration, computing technology, and medical advances all boosted the health and economies of the nations of the industrialized capitalist world for the most part.
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Where do we turn knowing that the world we have inherited may not support our continued existence? It is much too late to go back and take a different path, one that might have seemed unbearably difficult to navigate at the time. The path we did take, however, led right into what we thought was a walled garden. Vines covered the bars on the windows, masking the garden’s real function. We’ve been locked in for so long, we now mistake the vines for the bars.
Having time to reflect on our situation, however, we can begin to understand our imprisonment. We are imprisoned not only by our choices but by the existing systems that we are brought up with. We can change personally but still can’t shake the feeling of being imprisoned, knowing that our own refusal to accept the system that runs the prison does not affect its continued operation. That often leaves us only one place to turn.
“…links between mythology and vision make for mechanisms of remembrance and prediction, fiction and representation, repression and categorization, which are at the core of humanity’s self-perception and sense of identity. Materially nowhere, utopia fills the mind; a site of infinite fantasy, it can also trigger limitless destruction.” (Bartov, p. 148)
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