Since: Apr 12

St. Paul, MN

#1 Apr 18, 2014
In the cold war, the people on the planet faced the threat of all-out nuclear war. The Bay of Pigs incident brought us to such a war. In many ways, facing climate change is like facing nuclear war. The comfort of nuclear war was that for most of us it would be over, either we were safe or we were dead. Only in the fallout areas, would there be slow lingering death. The difference with climate change, is that it will slowly impact all of us. Only rich old billionaires can now live without any regard to what is happening.

So how does one live knowing the world is always going to get worse and worse? This is the opposite of the American dream. How does one say to one’s children – this is the best that it will ever be? It is even worse because we could see it coming, did see it coming and did not respond to the threat.

The frog-in-boiling-water metaphor seems to apply. It was too slow a threat. It was not immediate and individually threatening. As a species, we are unable to respond to something that kills us very slowly. Yet we are willing to spend millions of dollars on preventing shoe bombs that never worked.

Indeed our whole culture seems built on immediate profit/indulgence while ignoring long term costs like pollution, deforestation, and dwindling resources.

Right now, the realization is strong enough that if we had the social and government mechanisms, then we would respond. However, the richest people concentrated all wealth and power to ensure that we would not respond. The richest people are going to live the good life for the last 20 years by ensuring that we all pretend that nothing is happening.

Here is the sad thing about the rich people’s decision. There is only so much indulgence that one can buy and their wealth is already way beyond that point. One of the few things that few people have the chance to be is to the heroes saving human civilization. Priceless, as one ad would say.

So when rich people had the choice, they chose to be continue to be the original scrooge instead of the heroic scrooge. Maybe they just wanted to be able to party as the world fell apart.

For the rest of us, we are trying to find ways to adapt on a local level without major institutional support. The market is not helping change, since rich people have forced the government to subsidize the wrong things.

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