Gapingvoid - get comfortable

 

World Environment Day today comes on the heels of one of the biggest setbacks in eco-sustainability with the exit by Trump from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A dramatic move in an increasing fraught issue. The controversy has inspired plenty of heated debate and viewpoints. But perhaps none so extreme as the New York Times piece a while back titled “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene”.  A wholehearted embrace of failure, it asserts that the only way to save humanity is to “kill” it (a bit of metaphor involved there)…

  • Across the world today, our actions testify to our belief that we can go on like this forever, burning oil, poisoning the seas, killing off other species, pumping carbon into the air, ignoring the ominous silence of our coal mine canaries in favor of the unending robotic tweets of our new digital imaginarium. Yet the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our fantasies of perpetual growth, permanent innovation and endless energy, just as the reality of mortality shocks our casual faith in permanence. The biggest problem climate change poses isn’t how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning. The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality. The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain. Or we can learn to see each day as the death of what came before, freeing ourselves to deal with whatever problems the present offers without attachment or fear. If we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die.”

The civilization is dead. Long live the civilisation.

 

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