As you may have heard, last week a large chunk of ice broke off the Petermann glacier in Greenland. Together with the rapidly shrinking ice sheets in the Arctic, hotter summers and colder, wilder winters, it looks like humanity’s chickens are coming home to roost.
I’m not about to argue that humans have not been behaving in an intensely irrational way when it comes to our home. In the interests of money, power and more money, major corporations and governments have really screwed the place. What interests me is the “debate” about climate change.
Some years ago Ben Elton wrote a book about the outcomes of pollution and growing toxicity: “Stark”. Elton manages to be outrageously funny at the same time as rubbing one’s nose in a moral message. I love him. At that time Greenpeace and similar groups were considered beyond the pale and utterly unacceptable to the meta-narrative propaganda engines. They talked about pollution and environmental degradation. They made corporate filth publicly visible and demanded action. Last week a Greenpeace report was quoted in Reuters’ business section as a guide for investing in sustainable ventures… My how times have changed.
Meta-narrative: The one big, or true, story. Images in media or out of Hollywood that give us the impression that Western corporate culture is all there is and anyone who opposes or questions it must be a communist, terrorist or, gods forbid, a feminist. If you watched the Matrix films and wanted a word to describe the “system” that pwns us, in Sociology and Anthropology the term is “the meta-narrative”.
Unfortunately when the military-industrial regime approves of things, it’s generally a bad sign. While I don’t doubt Greenpeace’s integrity, there are concerns about the way their information is being manipulated to serve spin. When confronted with the reality of landfill, growing urban sprawl or smog and pollution, there’s no doubt that capitalism is screwing the planet and everyone/thing on it. If you consider the state of the ocean ecosystems and how they have been severely impacted by waste and runoff, there’s no rational way to dispute that evidence. So the media needed a way to divert attention from the ravages of consumerism and make a profit. Killing two birds with one stone is something they’re good at, like encouraging anger, violence and destruction then profiting from reporting about anger, violence and destruction…
So some joker referred to global warming as climate change… I think it may have been George Bush… The corporate media, if they didn’t manufacture the whole thing to start with, jumped on board and began disputing computer modelling and weather records, thus inventing a way to “debate” what vested self-interests are doing to our planet.
There’s now a pre-fabricated category of thought, fleshed out for you, in case you don’t have the time to read papers on atmospheric gasses, oceanography or computational modelling of weather systems and make up your own mind. The media has done it for you and called it “climate change denial.” Puppet voices inquire, “Is the weather changing or isn’t it?” others wonder about the real impact of atmospheric CO2 levels. Someone else points out that there have been long and short “warm periods” and “ice ages” during the earth’s history and questions the anticipated effects of humanity’s poisonous agenda. Meanwhile the mills keep churning.
In the current Federal election campaign in Australia, there’s been bugger all about the environment, sustainable living or changes to our hyper-consumer lifestyle. Oh, I did hear the word “sustainable” last night in Julia Gillard’s address… In the middle of giving Tony Abbott a serve about going backwards she mentioned “a sustainable future”. Not quite sure what that means. Perhaps there’s been a way invented for the growth economics of the colonialist 17th century to continue ad infinitum? More likely it’s bullshit designed for those who are uncomfortable with the idea that they’ve spent their lives working for something that’s all hot air.
At one point there was government noise about a carbon tax but it turned out to be one more way for big business to profit at the expense of smaller companies and the community in general. The Greens opposed it because it was essentially useless. Then the media sank the boots in to the Greens! This is one good instance of this “debate” serving it’s masters’ purpose: To divert attention and manufacture the appearance of consent.
But I won’t get onto money and economics here. Suffice it to say that the climate change debate is another good example of newspeak. Saying one thing when one means another. During an election campaign all the worst media propaganda and manipulation tricks are in full swing.
What have we really heard so far? Tantrums, petty arguments, finger-pointing and disinformation. Yawn.
Nothing about implementing a solar power roll out. Nothing about sustainable housing or communities. Nothing about land degradation, drought, housing sold to overseas interests, reduction in pollution, advertising or waste. Nothing really new or helpful. Years ago there was a joke: “They must think I’m a mushroom because they keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.” Well, thirty years on it ain’t so funny anymore. Enough with the spin, already.
Good thing the Permaculture revolution is in full swing. While political sock-puppets drone on and on pretending it’s all business as usual, millions of people are downshifting and reducing their consumption in favour of grow-your-own, reduced debt and low-impact living. People are well and truly tired of waiting for government or business to take any initiative to make the changes we need to make, so they’re getting on with it themselves. Better yet, people, families and communities are networking together to exchange information and support for this paradigm shift.
This is immensely encouraging. Rather than panicking about climate change, which serves only to buy into media generated hysteria and inaction, people are reducing their consumption and voting with dollars. Or less of them. If the only choice the meta-narrative gives us these days is in what we watch and what we consume, we’ll use that to do what needs doing, thankyou very much.