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Get Busy Being Born

The human mind often has a hard time reconciling acceptance and change. Accepting what a shitshow we’re facing often makes us dejected and makes us want to give up. But we need to bring those two mindsets together. Accept where we at while also do our best to change things. And we’re pretty far up the proverbial creek.

The optimists regarding climate change weren’t really taking “feedback loops” seriously. Pessimists knew that as it got warmer, the tundra would gradually start melting, releasing methane which would make it warmer which would release more and so it’d get even warmer.

But in 2020 something happened that was beyond even that horror scenario. The methane caught fire. Making the rise from the methane release not only global but also intensely local, and much faster.

We’re at death’s door with this. I know we’re also battling a virus, murderous racist cops, a record-breaking and gap-widening economy collapse, and corrupt government. We don’t want to hear about the end of the world on top of that. But this is where we’re at now.

Get busy being born instead of being busy dying.

Shove your defeatist or denialist attitude. Get in gear. I know that executive labor and emotional labor is braided up; that when you’re anxious you can’t get anything done and when you can’t get anything done you’re anxious. But untangle that. Start working on either of those two strands and move forward. When you are getting things done you’ll become less anxious. Or when you are less anxious you can get things done. I’m not saying this is easy. Get help if you can’t figure it out on your own. From your friends or from self-help texts if you can’t afford professional help.

Get on the asses of corporations and policy-makers. The Paris accord is not enough (net zero is not enough, we also need capture & mitigation to undo some of the damage). Get organized and rake these heartless machines over the very coals they want to burn.

It’s not enough to blame the corporations. It’s a start, and they need to be held accountable for sure, but you as an individual can also do better. I understand that when you slice the pie “horizontally” into layers, we see how some corporations are worse than others. The biggest one company is Aramco at 4.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, and ExxonMobil is in fourth place at 1.98%. We do need to hold them responsible for that. We also want to look at the pie sliced vertically, into wedges, to see what humanity (that includes you and me!) is actually using all of that energy on. Agriculture, transport, manifacturing, and construction.

Go vegan, as much as you can. Eat plants. Start doing meatless mondays, if you are doing meatless mondays then cut down to once a week, once a month, never. Whatever you can do, and then get even better. Animal agriculture is a huge factor in climate change. Cheese is as bad as meat. Two things: yes, methane release from the livestock directly. And secondly, the inefficiency of getting our energy and nutrition from the detour via animals instead of eating plants directly is almost a tenfold. That also translates to that much more energy spent on planting, growing, harvesting, storage and transportation. Not to mention deforestation. (Yes, that TED Talk by Allan Savory a few years ago was wrong. But even if his idea would’ve worked, the meat people actually can buy today doesn’t comes from that type of managed grazing. Almost none of it comes from the small farms we see outside the train window either. There are many small farms but the big industrial facilities are just that tightly packed that the products from them outnumber the “small cozy ‘open landscape’ farms” by a factor of twenty. Not that those small farms, no matter how “cozy”, are an efficient use of land compared to growing plants.)

Cut down on travel and transport. If you can live without that trip then skip it. Same goes for shipped goods.

Consider not having kids, or having fewer than you would otherwise have had. Maybe bring in foster kids or help a friend parent who has a heavy load. I’m not gonna harp on this point. I understand that asking this of people is pretty much like asking them to stop breathing oxygen. It’s kind of unfair that other “what you can do to fight climate change” reports put this at number one. It’s true that mere existance does have a footprint on climate change. And contrary to the racist bull about “how can we get the other countries to practice population control” from the mid 20th century, the footprint is way worse for people in places like the USA or Europe with all the meat-eating and travel and luxurious goods and imports. Twenty times worse. But don’t get tripped up by this one point. We need to do so much more.

I know that renewables suck with their rare earth minerals and their expensive overall life-cycles (but fossil fuel is still much worse). Ideally we’ll cook up some other utopian energy source but we can’t act as if we already had that clean energy. My head falls off everytime I hear someone say something like “in the future we’ll have clean air travel so that’s why I can fly now”. Or “in the future we’ll have cleaner meat production so that’s why I can eat meat now.” Uh… no, that’s just even stronger reason why you can’t do it now.

It’s awful that Swedish government is spending taxpayers money on bailing out the air travel industry.