The Grand Illusion

Besides the joy of gathering together for the Truthsgiving holiday, I looked forward to learning what my younger relatives think and feel about political issues, and especially climate change. This year I find they feel discouraged, with little hope for a good future. My niece says she is very careful about her use of plastic, for example. But she and her generation don’t have money to invest in green practices and technologies, such as solar panels. They know what needs to be done but are frustrated because they don’t have the financial resources to do those things.

I was struck by the depressed and helpless manner with which she expressed these things. It is hard to put myself in their position knowing, as they do, the deepening climate chaos coming.

My nephew has studied and thought a great deal about the future, but didn’t seem convinced by my belief that as political and social structures collapse under the pressures of increasing environmental chaos, we will have opportunities, indeed will be forced to build communities with our relatives and neighbors to support each other. I wrote about this yesterday in Imagine a Future. I’d like to see more people respond to James Allen’s assertion that “most of us lack the stories that help imagine a future where we thrive in the midst of unstoppable ecological catastrophe.

As the ecological crisis deepens, nearing the infamous Tipping Point – taking us closer to planetary catastrophe – we are being led to believe that an imminent “greening” of the world economy will deliver us from a very dark future. Somehow, against all logic, we have adopted a collective faith in the willingness of ruling governments and corporations to do the right thing. Carbon footprints will be drastically reduced thanks to a combination of market stratagems and technological magic. While greenhouse mitigation seamlessly advances, the ruling forces can return to what they do best – indulge their religion of endless accumulation and growth.

Amid fashionable pleas to “save the planet” and recent surge in “climate activism”, few countries have embraced a program of serious carbon mitigation. For government and corporate elites, it is continued business-as-usual. Writing in Climate Leviathan, British Marxists Geoff Mann and Jonathan Wainwright lament: “The possibility of rapid global carbon mitigation as climate-change abatement has passed. The world’s elites, at least, appear to have abandoned it – if they ever took it seriously.” Instead, the real plan going forward is one of adaptation to a continuously heating planet.

The Grand Illusion by Carl Boggs, Counterpunch, Nov 29, 2019

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