Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Fall of the Titans

Cornelis van Haarlem

There is a guest editorial by Ted Glick in Truth Out today. It does a pretty decent job of expressing what I'm feeling today.

Here is a small piece of it.

Climate: Time Is Short
By Ted Glick
t r u t h o u t Guest Contributor
Wednesday 25 April 2007

April 14 was without doubt a turning point in the movement to prevent catastrophic climate change. Many tens of thousands of people in all 50 states took action on Step It Up day. We demanded that Congress move now to cap and begin reducing the carbon emissions that are dangerously heating up the earth, toward the goal of 80 percent reductions by 2050.

I actively supported these actions. I was a leader of the NJ Climate March of April 13-16 which supported them. Bill McKibben and the young people from Middlebury College, who called for and coordinated this campaign, deserve tremendous praise.

However, I've been thinking all week about this fact: despite the tremendous upsurge in consciousness about, and activism on, the climate crisis over the past year and a half in the USA, those greenhouse gas emissions just keep going up.

Despite everything that is being done by the tens of thousands of grassroots activists, many mayors and city councils, students and college administrators, businesses and state governments, famous politicians and movie stars, and individuals and families in their homes, when it comes to an actual capping of emissions and the beginnings of a downward turn, it just isn't happening.

This is not surprising, given the pervasiveness of fossil fuel use throughout the economies of the world, the maddening intransigence of the Republicans and the timidity until very recently of most national Democratic leaders. But it is not something to be sanguine about.

We don't have the luxury of time on this issue. Scientists such as James Hansen have said we have less than ten years to fundamentally alter our energy policies, and that was a year and a half ago. A small number of scientists think we may have already reached the point of no return.
Other scientists think that we are fast approaching it. more

Meanwhile, a new island has formed off the coast of Greenland.

In my 1995 book called Lightland, Climate Change and the Human Potential, I speak of this time. In the book, I use Greek Mythology and the battle between the Olympians and the Titans as a metaphor for the time we now see.


The Olympian response to the realization that we are indeed involved in an epic struggle to right the balance of the earth will call for a radical and meaningful departure from the world view of the Titans. It will involve the ethics and virtues found in the Olympian Pantheon.

The Olympian response will embrace the belief that this calamity in the making can forge a refining of the human spirit and the human condition. It will postulate that a world of courage and justice is ours for the making.

It will state that our emphasis should be on wisdom and beauty; that fine arts, music, and the pastoral arts should be developed to the utmost of the human potential. It will stress refinement of the law. It would make medicine an art instead of a business.

The Olympian response will seize the opportunity presented by our own ignorance and seek to transform that ignorance into a mechanism of human transfiguration.

It will seek to bring man from the
age of fire to the age of light."

Just 20 years ago, the idea of running an advanced economy without carbon was seen as a little loopy. Now, with advanced wind turbines, and bio fuels, and the other renewables, serious people now believe we can reduce our emissions by 80% with renewables and efficiency.

But the truth is, we need to move courageously and quickly to an even more radical culture that doesn't even use fuel as we know it today. And to do that, we must also reshape the way we think about everything else.

The Great Battle between the the Titans and the Olympians was called the Titanomachy.

And the good guys win.

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Blogger Charlie Loving said...

It could be that we really are doomed. The more one learns about man's stupidity the more things point to disaster or?

3:25 PM  

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