“Respect Existence or Expect Resistance”

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A young climate activist in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press via NYTimes.com

Did you make it to one of the thousands of protest marches today for the Global Youth Climate Strike? Because it was definitely THE place to be on this historic day, 20 September 2019, planet Earth. According to The Guardian, protests took place in about 185 countries and all the continents in the world. Millions of people, from children to elders and everyone in-between, marched and demonstrated, gave speeches, made and carried signs, posters and banners, sang songs, danced, and generally supported one another in solidarity against what most perceive as the root problem—corporate greed, backed by the power elite in governments around the world.

As this article in today’s Guardian News clearly demonstrates, today’s Global Climate Strike was unprecedented in numbers of humans (at least several million) from all walks of life getting out of their schools, workplaces and homes, and taking it to the streets. Additionally, over 7000 websites showed their solidarity by displaying only a black screen or a screen saying they were on climate strike for the day. And there were lots of speeches in every major city from Australia to the United States, from the global north to south, and east to west. It was a spectacular day for humanity to show up in solidarity as one people who understand that we have just one precious planet that is in grave danger of being destroyed.

One charismatic young activist in London did a great job of energizing the crowd. He mentioned that there are “terrified billionaires” in the world now who we must all keep fighting, in order to stop them from utterly destroying what remains of our beautiful planet.

At the protest rally in my hometown of Denver, Colorado, I saw plenty of young people carrying signs that demanded the billionaires stop their evil ways so they can have a future. Some of these signs were heartbreaking, and yet the mood was festive. It is impossible to stay subdued in a crowd of thousands kids under the age of 25, with many under 18. As one of the speakers pointed out, youth activists may not yet be of legal voting age, but they soon will be. Activists gave speeches about social justice and how eco-justice goes hand in hand with racial inequity and poverty issues around the world.

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Photograph: Susie Cagle/The Guardian via The Guardian live feed 20 sept 2019

I will admit, part of me relishes the image of billionaires who are afraid, perhaps even terrified, of losing their fortunes and futures because millions of young people, inspired by the fearless Greta Thunberg, have seen straight through their cunning and lies and are demanding change away from fossil fuels to a world that runs on clean and even free energy. Imagine, for just a moment, what such a world would be like! How would it look, smell, feel, sound and taste? What would the world in which we live be like if Nature, including all living creatures and plants, was given rights to exist and not be destroyed, trammeled and polluted for humanity’s selfish and greedy ends? If you are having a bit of trouble imagining it, you’re not alone. Many millions, probably billions, of humans are also having difficulty imagining a clean planet that will support all life with no problem, without extremely harsh weather conditions in the future. Sadly, there was a good chunk of trolls and haters who posted on Greta’s Twitter feed during today’s events. Tragically, there are plenty of people who do not want a clean, equitable and healthy future for humanity and Gaia. Why, one has to wonder? Why would anyone alive on Earth today NOT want all life on this incredible planet to improve, for all to become healthy, for the air, water, land and nature to once again be purified and restored to its natural state of health?

Today was an extraordinary day for Mama Gaia and for those of us who can imagine a clean and healthy future world. No matter what the naysayers and billionaires might think or do in days, weeks and years to come, I know that millions of us will continue to hold the vision of the more beautiful world we know is possible. I hope you will join us.

Getting closer to extinction

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image from https://www.newstalk.com/news/extinction-rebellion-dublin-849302

Dear Readers, many of you know that today, May 6th, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a massive report on the state of our natural world. The news is even worse than many believed. According to the IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Wilson, the evidence presented in the report “presents an ominous picture…the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” (www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment)

The report’s authors found that approximately one million species are threatened with extinction in the not-too-distant (meaning within decades) future, if humanity doesn’t put the brakes on global climate destruction through industrialized civilization. Both the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers carried the story in today’s headlines, and I recommend reading them for further details (links below).

Even though this news is truly beyond words in its implications, I struggle to find some tonight in an effort to cope with what is mostly inevitable now—the extinction of much of our world’s natural ecosystems, which will certainly lead to societal collapse for humanity. I have been writing about this consistently for the past few months, as the evidence clearly shows that our common situation is becoming more and more of a crisis. I implore everyone reading to STAY AWAKE to what is now occurring, and DO NOT allow yourself to go numb in the face of what lies ahead. It is all too easy to do this, and in fact, global consumerism is doing everything within its considerable power to entice us to go numb, go shopping, buy a new car (because that will for sure help things along), watch endless sporting events, and any number of other distractions designed to do anything EXCEPT pay attention to what is actually happening now, before our very eyes, on Earth. WE MUST ALLOW OURSELVES TO FEEL THIS NEWS WITH OUR HEARTS.

Yes, it is difficult, nauseatingly so, to honestly face our deepest fears of annihilation. No one, really no one, on our planet wants to admit that we have ruined our precious home, Earth. Millions, even billions, of us are in utter denial, because taking responsibility for what we’ve done is simply far too painful. In the New York Times article today, there were well over a thousand comments on the story. They ran the gamut from utter sadness and despair, to blaming and shaming any number of groups for our predicament—the Baby Boomers, Big Oil and Gas, the government, the Republican Party of America, even people who haven’t made it to the Vegan club yet.

I am 24 years old. For as long as I remember, I have known about and understood climate change and the impacts it would have on us….I want to live the life I have prepared for and that future generations have had, working in my career field and eventually marrying and having children. I fear that my generation won’t be able to do these things or worse, will do them only to compound and perpetuate the problem. My heart is broken.Emily, a reader’s comment in NYTimes May 6th article

But honestly, at this point, what good does it do to point fingers and blame this or that group of humans for the mess we are in? Clearly, Big Oil and Gas corporations have shamelessly and lavishly promoted the use of fossil fuels for over half a century, even as they knew of the risks to our planet by burning them. Yes, those corporations’ CEOs and stockholders should be held accountable for their part in it. And, how many of us in the developed (and now developing) nations have been buying and using gas-fueled vehicles for years and years? The truth is, nearly all of us born before the turn of the 21st century are at fault.

It is time to urgently and collectively engage in the process of answering the question: Now what? How do we turn this ship around and stop destroying our world and all the life upon it? The IPBES Global Assessment Report, in its entirety, gives many suggestions and sound, scientifically proven advice for how to do exactly that. The report was compiled by 145 experts from 50 countries, who analyzed scientific papers and reports from approx.. 15,000 scientific and government sources during the past three years, with input form 310 contributing authors. The report ranks for the first time, the five biggest drivers of change in nature, which are listed (in descending order from most impact to lesser) here: 1) changes in land and sea use, 2) direct exploitation of organisms, 3) climate change, 4) pollution and 5) invasive species. (www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment).

Tonight, I feel like I imagine I would if a doctor had just given me or one of my family members a terminal diagnosis. The world’s leading scientists have given us all a terminal diagnosis about the state of our planet’s ecosystems, including the world’s plant, mammal, bird and sea populations. How will we cope with this diagnosis? Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation Facebook group and forum, along with Extinction Rebellion’s websites, are some places to start. There you will find people writing about these reports, ideas, feelings and actions to take as the early medicine to combat our disease. Please do not look away any longer. The sooner we collectively face our self-made tragedy, the sooner we can take actions towards healing and reconciling our part in the new world we’ve created.

Addendum:  In the space of twelve hours, the New York Times moved its article on the climate report down to “In Other News,” I guess to make room for an article titled, “See What the Stars Wore at the Met Gala,” as a perfect example of just EXACTLY what is causing our impending extinctions and current crisis. I am dumbfounded.

Links:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/climate/biodiversity-extinction-united-nations.html

www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment

https://deepadaptation.ning.com/

https://rebellion.earth/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/deepadaptation/