On the Precipice

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1659 ... September 3, 2018
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On the Precipice

Victor Wallis

Like many others (unless they are in a state of simple denial), I sometimes feel paralyzed by the enormity of the environmental challenge.

How to break through this?

We must begin with the certainties.

First is the science. Not every aspect of it, of course, but the basic contours. The most in-depth, up-to-date, and accessible account is Ian Angus’s 2016 Monthly Review Press book, Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System. When you read this book, you will see how in some respects the point of no return has already been reached. But even if full collapse is only a matter of time, many life-and-death choices will still confront us along the... way -- over what we may hope will be more than a single lifetime.

The second certainty is that we are being systematically lied to by the most powerful interests in this society. It is now known that the big oil companies, by their own research in the 1970s, confirmed what would later become common knowledge about the climate-impact of greenhouse gases, but they then undertook a deliberate campaign of obfuscation which continues to this day.

The third certainty is an outcome of the second: hundreds of millions of people who should -- and could -- be waging the battle of and for their lives, are instead propelled by a structured inertia, part ‘practical’ and part ideological, to continue with their daily routines -- of heating or cooling, driving, flying, over-indulging in one or another addiction, and acquiescing in wars of domination -- as though nothing had changed.

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