One of the articles of faith I have held for a long time is that we are not, collectively, going to deal with the troubles of our future willingly. We are not going to reduce our energy and resource usage in an effort to mitigate the worst impacts of ecological destruction and climate change, or to otherwise make a better future for ourselves and others. Yes, some brave few will do this for a variety of personal reasons, but the vast majority of us are not willing to make the dramatic personal sacrifices necessary to bring to heel the destructive tendencies of this industrial civilization we call home.
The reasons for that are myriad and they have been discussed at length by people smarter than me. It is a problem that pervades every part of our lives, from the personal to the familial, the social to the cultural, the economic and political. No, there will be no great, grand effort of shared sacrifice; and no, there will be no great, grand Green New Deal that will remake all our industrial infrastructure into a non-destructive, regenerative alternative to itself. We do not appear to have the social cohesion, political leadership, economic resilience, and cultural mores to tackle either approach, and the simple fact is that the modern industrial civilization we have come to demand is not one that is amenable to a sustainable solution; we must just live differently. Unfortunately, there is not enough buy in for that different kind of living for us to transition to it willingly.
That recognition is the foundation of another article of faith of mine, which is that we will deal with the troubles of our time, just not willingly. We will lower our energy and resource usage and turn away from the contours of our current industrial civilization and its trappings, but it won’t be due to a moral reckoning. We will not one sudden day collectively acknowledge the pain and misery we are creating for ourselves, future generations, and all the non-human life on this planet and then change our ways; no, we will simply muddle our way through the cascading failures of this very dumb way of living. Our movement toward a simpler way of life will take place haphazardly, piece meal, and often times cruelly. It will not be planned; it will far more be unplanned chaos and destruction, with too little directed effort mixed in. It will take a long time, but will also happen in a series of sudden bursts, sometimes spread far out and other times on the heels of each other. And it will happen in perfectly unpredictable ways.
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