I have spent time this week browsing through the essays in the book Moral Ground Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. Browsing is a word chosen carefully as I can not really plow straight through a book of 80 plus essays focused on providing an answer to the same question: Do we have a moral obligation to take action to protect the future of a planet in peril? Obviously they all answer with an emphatic YES or there would be no reason to publish such a collection.
While there are many ways to say Yes.. almost like dialects of a common language, I would pick on two particular items to make my point. One by Derrick Jensen and the other by Barack Obama.
Jensen's vision is one of the darkest that I have read. He begins by asking a very different question: "Do you believe that this culture will undergo a voluntary transition to a sane and sustainable way of living?" He finds no indication that such a positive future is in store for us. Most of us who consider ourselves Green, or admit to being an "enviro" all know the word to the litany, we make our daily bended knee, but that is about it. Jensen demands more.
Those who come after -- presuming anyone survives -- are going to wonder what the fuck was wrong with us that we didn't do whatever it takes -- and I mean whatever it takes-- to stop industrial capitalism from killing the planet."
At the same time, Barack Obama's contribution is to describe "The Future I Want for my Daughters." This is not even his real work, but seems to be pulled together from three different sources, each footnoted and all attributed to Senator Barack Obama.
We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we diud here. The time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we own past and future generations.It is pretty clear that Obama and Jensen do not inhabit the same world. According to Jensen;
When most people in this culture ask, "How can we stop global warming?" that's not really what they're asking. They're asking "How can we stop global warming, without significantly changing this lifestyle [or deatstyle,, as some call it] that is causing global warming in the first place?"So, let me post the future's question to now President Obama. "What the fuck is wrong with you that you are not doing whatever it takes to save a planet in peril."
The answer is that you can't.
I received an invitation to join in a protest against Canadian / US Tar Sands projects, especially the building of a long pipeline to carry Albert Tar Sands Crude to US refineries. The asked us to dig out Obama Buttons, if we had them from 2008, and to wear them. Given that Obama has backed this project, and is obviously NOT willing to "do whatever it takes" then it seems that the protest will turn out to be just another of those environmental feel good happenings. The only real reason to have anyone bring an Obama button is to gather them all and ship them to the white house... collect.
At some point, our progressive friend will learn that one part of "whatever it takes" is to divorce themselves from the idea that salvation lies with the Democratic Party.