So. Here’s the deal. We’re fucked. We’re fucked, unless we have a revolution. And then, we will be less fucked. Then there’ll be a hope of maintaining some semblance of civilisation. That’s what this rebellion against extinction is about, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., harvesting a stone of hope from a mountain of despair.
What the actual. It’s a catastrophe. Massive biodiversity loss, and climate chaos. By 2022, according to a Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams, there will be no ice left in the arctic.
Once the arctic has gone, the whole circulation of the gulf stream will change. Weather will be chaotic, because the regulation systems will change dramatically. In the next 10 years we’re looking at 1-1.5 degrees centigrade rise according the to Paris agreement. Actually, it looks like – when you factor in feedback loops – around 3 degrees of warming are already locked in. If we get to 4-5 degrees of warming, well, game over for civilised society.
At those temperatures, the world’s social structures begin to collapse. Grain won’t grow, people can’t eat. Drinking water becomes scarce. People don’t go to work, because they’re not getting paid because the economic system has collapsed, and anyway money can’t buy you food because there’s none in the shops. Welfare stops. Schools close, hospitals are full or abandoned. Total social collapse. And this isn’t 20, 30, 100 years away. This is looking like it’s a real thing within perhaps the next 5-10 years. Last year crops were 20% down in Europe, North America and Russia. Some scientists predict that 3 consecutive years of that and we’re talking mass starvation in Europe. French farmers are on suicide watch due to the shocking wheat harvests this year. Go on. Read on. You can take it.
At certain temperatures, around 50-55 degress centigrade, the human body dies from heat stroke. God it’s fucking awful to look at this, as it is, isn’t it? It was 45.9 degrees in France this year. And it’s record years every year for the past 5. We can’t handle heat and humidity of 50 degrees and people die on mass. In cities, it will be unmanageable. The number of corpses will make them unliveable, and people will not be able to be buried. Diseases that are memories only in the minds of long dead ancestors like cholera will make a resurgence in such a world.
This all adds up to war. Humans without the resources they need to live turn violent. History shows that. Our animal reptilian brains override the frontal lobes, which do risk awareness and ‘higher’ thought. So yeah, that’s the deal, that’s where we headed. We’re being lied to. Extinction Rebellion’s first demand is tell the truth for exactly this reason. To make the changes we need to the reality of climate change needs to be understood.
So, what to do about it?
Focused, systematic studies on social change over the past 30 years have yielded some interesting results. They show that there’s only one thing that has ever turned a society around without a total slaughter, invasion or natural disaster. It’s called non-violent mass civil disobedience. We’ve tried everything else. Petitions, lobbying, marches, meeting our MPs, emails, letters: you name it. The lot. Civil disobedience is scary and enlivening and fun and it about making a fuss and breaking the rules and it works. It works because of 2 reasons: disruption and sacrifice.
No one takes any notice unless you cause disruption, because everything carries on as normal. Being nice doesn’t work. Disruption creates attention, and attention is what you need to make change. And once you’ve got attention, people need to see sacrifice. They see people sacrificing their liberty, their jobs, and ultimately being willing to sacrifice their lives. People take that seriously because action is worth a thousand words. Information never changes entrenched power: as Frederick Douglass said “Power concedes nothing without a demand: it never did and it never will.”
That’s the golden formula: demand + disruption + sacrifice = social change.
Neat, right? When the fear goes, radical political change happens. No fear. We have everything to lose, and if we’re not willing to sacrifice our time, energy and freedom on mass, the science says we will lose everything.
Right now, we’re in one of the biggest political crises in recent British history. There’s about to be a general election, and Brexit is a mess. This is a key time to set the agenda for a new government in a powerful way. The time to take action, if you’re vaguely contemplating it, is now. Now. 7th October, Extinction Rebellion will be severely disrupting the capital. They’ll be trying to get arrested. They have clear demands. Demand + disruption + sacrifice = social change. So, what are we waiting for?
See you on the streets.