You can make a difference to the hurt being caused by climate chaos and the great extinction event in your town or your city! How? Reuse, repurpose, and recycle this information. You can push your local politicians to act. It will make a difference!
This is thelast letter for week 209, the last week of a weekly climate strike that went on for 4 years in front of San Francisco City Hall, beginning early March 2019. For more context, see this story. For an annotated table of contents of the topics for all the strike letters, see this story. Meanwhile, and for the final time…
STRIKE FOR THE PLANET
It’s been 4 years, and what have you done?
This week: NOTHING WILL COME OF NOTHING1
What actions have you taken in 4 years to combat climate chaos?
You’ve done a few things and talked a big game. The few things that you’ve done are:
- Reduced CO2 output (not enough and not fast enough, but it’s something)
- Reduced per capita water use, partially by instituting some graywater recycling (again not enough, but it’s action at least)
- Invested in and required clean power for some buildings and some remodels (not enough and not fast enough, but it’s better than nothing)
And that’s about it. Other plans that have been widely touted remain just plans, often with little to nothing to show for them. Some of these plans have provided cover for inaction and backwards movement (think Vision Zero, and SF’s urban forest). Most have no funding attached, no authority overseeing them, and no path to move forward.
So why won’t you act to protect SF?
Any one of, or a combination of the following, are likely reasons:
- You do what your sponsors (political and financial “elites”) want, and they do not want you to act on climate chaos; doing so would immediately impact their wealth and power.
- Because politically you are followers, and not leaders, you’re not capable of leading SF in the fight for its life.
- You are true SF politicians, in the historical mold.
This last reason needs a little more explication.
What is a true San Francisco politician?
San Francisco is, and always has been, a Gold Rush town. It was founded on greed, short-term solutions, exploitation, and the expectation of immediate results. In SF, if you can get away with something your actions will be tolerated and respected, even if they are actively destructive. Yes, there have been groups that exploit this laissez-faire reality to create communities, often creative communities with substantial social impact. But when a group gains power in SF, our politics is such that the powers that be will co-opt that group into SF’s power structure, no matter how it was formed or what it actually does (e.g. People’s Temple2).
SF’s pols are people who subscribe to and act on the above.
That is why you’ll never act
True, you can be forced into action in some circumstances, especially if those circumstances threaten your personal interests. If a state or federal law or a big enough local group demands action, some SF pols will stir themselves. In these cases, you’ll act because you can claim it wasn’t your fault if it doesn’t work (it was all the fault of the outside group, or law), and take full credit if it does work (e.g. Newsom and food composting). But, generally, SF politicians, when not advancing your own personal interests, won’t do anything at all.
My mistake was in thinking that your own welfare was of interest to you
I naively assumed you cared about SF, your families, and your own safety, and that if you understood the situation you’d act. But apparently your political situations supersede the destruction of the biosphere and the death of the city. Over the last 4 years, you’ve made it abundantly clear you won’t listen and you don’t care. And I know this because I’ve been trying to reach you for 4 years, as of today.
4 years is enough
In that time, every measure of SF’s situation has worsened. In that time, you’ve been delivered an entire course of study on the current state of the environment, trends, tipping points, actions, financial implications, funding sources, solutions with contact information, and much more. In that time, you’ve done so little so late that, to date, your actions count against the crises exactly as if you’ve done nothing.
I’m not going to waste 4 years of work, not when the biosphere is at stake. I’m going to share the problems and solutions as far and wide as possible, using SF and her politicians’ lack of response as a case study. Maybe that will force you into acting a bit more. However, knowing you, anything you do will always be too little and too late.
Apparently you do not believe in the future
Your decisions, your choices, and your years of inaction all say you don’t. That means you are the problem. Congratulations.
1. King Lear says this to Cordelia before destroying his family and ripping apart his kingdom in a fit of pique and hubris.
2. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple were deeply, deeply embedded in SF politics from 1971 to 1978.