As they stand today, the world’s governments are incapable of addressing the global climate crisis in time to moderate the coming catastrophe. That is just an unhappy fact. [...]
In his brilliant and thought-provoking new book, 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson refers to this era proceeding global environmental collapse as “The Dithering.” No kidding. Which brings me back to the key phrase in the opening paragraph above: “as they stand today.”
In the past, most of the world’s environmental activists have aimed at shaping the policies of governments as they exist. Successes have been incremental. But if status quo governments can’t get the job done, it means the actions must be focused elsewhere. They have to focus on dramatic changes in representative governments still open to such change.
If the paralysis is due to corporate control of government, then that control must be erased or diminished. In the U.S., that would mean a constitutional amendment ending the bizarre dystopian concept of corporate personhood. It would also mean radical and fundamental reform of political practices—full public finance of elections, for example.
Unless these and other changes are made, there is little hope of addressing climate change until long after it is too late. We are asking a machine to do a job it can’t do. We may as well ask a lawnmower to build a house.
There is a growing global environmental movement that recognizes these barriers to change. It skews younger, to the generation that will write the first histories of this crisis, a generation that’s not going to treat baby boomer leadership with anything but contempt.
That movement—and the legacy environmental groups—should strongly consider turning their focus on the reform of governments we need to act. We can’t stop agitating on critical environmental issues, but we need to recognize that right now we’re not doing much but dropping index cards in a corporate suggestion box. About the only environmental gain from that is that the corporations might be recycling the unread index cards.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009:
Earlier today, Mark Sanford told The State he went to Argentina about 18 months ago on a taxpayer-funded Commerce Department trip.
Sanford, in a brief interview in the nation's busiest airport, said he has been to the city twice before, most recently about a year and half ago during a Commerce Department trip.So he had an affair with a woman from Argentina, and he recently visited there on the taxpayer dime.
According to Sanford's travel reports, he spent $21,488 on a trip to Brazil, Argentina, and China. However much of that can be allocated to his trip to Argentina, it still means taxpayers likely spent thousands on his affair.