The devastation of climate change is becoming more pronounced. This progression will accelerate during the 2020’s, with deaths from extreme weather, as well as water and food shortages, rising precipitously. Yet the trend of governments worldwide largely paying lip service to the growing crisis will also continue. Here’s why.
Man-made pollution and natural resource exhaustion precipitated the current self-extinction event. Careless disregard of preserving the environment is as old as the human species. Prehistoric anthropological finds have shown how men repeatedly degraded their home range – by slaughtering animals, chopping down forests, mining minerals, and polluting available freshwater – such that they had to move on. During the time of ancient Greece city-states, observers were lamenting the destructive habits of men. Such casual abuse of Nature has been the most outstanding continuum of manly endeavor.
The evolution of pollution corresponded with economic development, technological advance, and human population growth. Industrialization was a major milestone in scaling pollution to insufferable levels.
Technologically, advances in chemistry and the mass adoption of fossil fuel engines provided seminal fodder for self-extinction. Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics are 3 prominent contributors to massive pollution spawned by modern chemists.
Prevailing economic and political regimes provided the propulsion for the eradication of life, including the perpetrators. The philosophy supporting these regimes is why inaction and ineffectual gestures will be the response to mounting death tolls.
Foremost is the cherishing of personal liberties – what are advertised as “human rights” according to the principle of “natural law.” Sloganeering succored the emergence of democracy in the West from the late 18th century.
The outstanding feature of entitlement to so-called “freedom” was that it was long limited to men in the dominant tribe of society. Its begrudging nominal grant to women and other subdominants made little dent in the political sphere, and even less in the economic realm.
Power shifts were modest if not entirely token. Subdominant individuals who ascended in political status did so only by adopting the cultural values of the dominants. Social trends, such as feminism, did nothing to alter the underlying political ethos.
The stranglehold on humanity became more firmly gripped by cliques of elite men as the 20th century closed. Those in power were naturally conservative – wanting to preserve their status was the prime directive. Political systems, including democracies, were corrupted to this end. Republican dominance in the United States is a prime example.
Hence evolved a fundamental societal deception – a façade of “people power” obscuring a conservative elitism. Rulers pander to rubes with fiery speeches and vacuous symbolic gestures whilst raping the moral stature of their states and continuing the economic and environmental pillage. US President Donald Trump has proven consummate in this art form.
There is no motivation for the ruling elite to address the growing climate crisis. Quite the contrary. Doing so necessitates radical changes in the way that societies operate: socially, economically, and politically.
The global climate crisis arose from the political economic systems men put into place to preserve their prestige. As such, the only way to address climate change is a systemic change in governance, primarily aimed at removing incentives for further environmental despoliation. This necessarily involves limiting liberties – a totalitarianism unseen in history, in that to succeed it must be both effective and humane. To be effective, such a political regime must enforce an unprecedented egalitarianism in every sphere. Hence, effective and humane become operational synonyms.
Such egalitarianism requires an economic revolution (as well as a political one) – to a socialism where all are truly equal in having their material needs met and having the obligation to constructively contribute to society. Such a system is not only eminently practical, it is an urgent necessity if humanity is to have any chance of surviving to the 22nd century. Whence our hastened demise.