At a crossroads

The reason I’ve spent so much time thinking and writing about James Allen’s essay, Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse, is because I agree with what he is saying about how we need to move forward now.

He doesn’t dwell on the foundational idea that we are heading into environmental and, therefore, political and economic collapse, but instead takes that as a given.

The evidence is in — even if we manage to avoid the worst applications of exponential technologies, we are at minimum already committed to an environmental catastrophe at a scale humans have never endured, and whose consequences we cannot fully fathom. The implications, for instance, of findings delivered by the International Panel on Climate Change are that, in order to avoid climate catastrophe we should already be achieving massive reductions in emissions today, and if we fail to make up for lost time by 2030, then we will have passed the point of no return. But we aren’t even in the realm of achieving this. Emissions are at record highs and continue to climb with no sign of meaningful abatement. Even complete compliance with the Paris Accords puts us on track for three degrees of global warming, by which time the thawing of tundra permafrost, disappearance of arctic ice and melting of the Greenland ice sheet are predicted to set in motion a series of self-reinforcing feedback loops that will see warming spiral well beyond our control. That’s only to speak of climate change alone, let alone the myriad of implications of the other ecological and socio-technological crises…

To take the world as you find it, to assume responsibility for that which you can, and to act as if what you do actually matters, is the mark of a mature adult.

My young children need me to be an adult. They are the reason I feel despair so profoundly. Yet they are also the reason I cannot wallow in it, acquiesce to it, or turn away from the horror. This is the reason I have sought to imagine another way, and to find and focus on that which I might do to usher that vision into existence, and to behave as if what I do really matters for their future. They are the reason I have directed my imagination to the multitude of paths only visible once I looked beyond the myths that have clouded much of my thinking. It is up to me show them a way beyond grief to a way of life truly worth living for, even if it isn’t the path I had expected to be showing them.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, Medium, May 24, 2019

The following video from the Extinction Rebellion provides an excellent discussion about the state of our environment now, titled “Tell The Truth.”

“Tell the Truth” Extinction Rebellion

The crossroads we’re at now is whether to [1] join activist groups like the Extinction Rebellion to try to force urgent political change, or [2] accept we are past the point where we can stop the unfolding environmental catastrophe and work on ways to create community and support each other during the collapse.

As James Allen has written, and I’ve commented in recent posts, https://jeffkisling.com/?s=archipelago, I am led to believe we should follow the second path.

I have directed my imagination to the multitude of paths only visible once I looked beyond the myths that have clouded much of my thinking. It is up to me show them (my kids) a way beyond grief to a way of life truly worth living for, even if it isn’t the path I had expected to be showing them.” James Allen

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