As Texas is crushed by surreal winter storms mere months after the entire West coast was consumed by wildfires, it can be easy to feel despair over the fate of our planet, to feel like the battle is lost and humanity’s future is simply doomed.
Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I actually don’t think it matters.
First of all, remember this: Climate change is not your fault. This was done to you. You are the victim of a crime.
One of the great victories of the monsters who gave us climate change was tricking us into thinking this is a Tragedy of the Commons, that we somehow collectively failed as a species. That we didn’t recycle enough, or not enough people bought efficient washing machines or electric cars.
This is crap and you know it. You haven’t failed.
All the big decisions were made for you, possibly even before you were born. There was a brief burst of interest in renewable energy during the energy crisis of the 1970s…until oil got cheap again and the country never looked back. Those pipelines and tankers never needed your consent. The people who stood against them were put down with tear gas and fire hoses.
Very few individuals actually benefit from climate change, maybe 25,000 at most. This blood is on their hands, not yours.
So what are we going to do about it?
I admit, I’m personally not feeling great about our chances. I’m sick of hearing about hope and the things we could do to stop the destruction. If this was a technical problem, we’d have had it licked in the 80s. This is a political problem and if you don’t have a political solution, I don’t want to hear it. Yes, renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, but we’re still fracking anyway.
Perhaps the utter devastation facing Texas will move the conversation. Based on the muddled response to last year’s wildfires, I’m not holding my breath.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Giving up is letting the villains get away with it, letting them flee to a New Zealand bunker while the world burns in their wake. There’s no reason to let that happen. They must be brought to task for what is arguably the greatest crime against humanity in all of history.
If we can still win, it will be restorative justice. If we’re screwed, we can call it revenge. The work is the same either way.
In the words of Mariame Kaba, “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” Let the battle be its own reward.