Elizabeth Courtney’s recent post in VT Digger, “A Warning from the Future,” describes how a fictional, 50-page white paper written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway presents a grim retrospective account of the sort of catastrophe that generations to come may well be facing.
In 2393, the 300th anniversary of the Great Collapse of 2093, “a scholar from the Second People’s Republic of China” recounts how, “after decades of ignoring the symptoms of climate change–drought and floods, soaring temperatures and rising sea levels, pandemics, plagues and mass migrations–the final collapse of world order occurred with the dramatic melting of the Western Antarctica Ice Sheet.”
Like the future depicted by POLLY AND THE ONE AND ONLY WORLD, this one is a galvanizing vision of where we’re very possibly headed. How can we keep it from coming to pass?
Courtney says that Naomi Klein’s new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate” . . . “makes the case that there will be no polite transition to a new economic model. She predicts that nothing less than ‘slaying capitalism’ is in store, because ‘climate change is not about carbon it’s about capitalism.’”
It’s that what it’s going to take? The murder of capitalism? Who will do the slaying? Or, like a grotesquely fat man, will it give out in painful spasms, gasping under its own crushing weight? Or will it evolve more gently, piece by piece and place by place, as more and more people make clever, determined, and necessary adjustments to a world/local economy that must surely collapse without them?
Courtney suggests that “what Vermonters are quietly doing up here in the Green Mountains with the localization movement could prove to be a relatively peaceful transition to a new, clean, green, egalitarian economy. If part of the problem is the accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of the few, then it stands to reason that distributing that power to the many, should be a part of the solution.”
Whether it stands to reason or not, even as it may be occurring very gradually on a small scale in fairly homogeneous communities like Vermont, the redistribution of wealth isn’t likely to go down nearly so peacefully in most other parts of this country. Unless more young people everywhere can begin resist indoctrination and demagoguery. That I’d like to see.