Note — Jul 24, 2022

This Heatwave Has Eviscerated the Idea that Small Changes Can Tackle Extreme Weather

George Monbiot on the climate crisis (of course). Silence as “a fierce commitment to distraction and irrelevance in the face of an existential crisis,” and on the grave mistake environmentalists made. By focusing on small changes, they left the door open to stalling, and let one kind of massive systemic change off the table while enabling another kind brought by neoliberalism. Included here largely for the last quote below, it’s all there really.

But while they have been playing patience, power has been playing poker. The radical right insurgency has swept all before it, crushing the administrative state, destroying public protections, capturing the courts, the electoral system and the infrastructure of government, shutting down the right to protest and the right to live. While we persuaded ourselves that there is no time for system change, they proved us wrong by changing everything. […]

All this time, environmentalists have been telling people we face an unprecedented, existential crisis, while simultaneously asking them to recycle their bottle tops and change their drinking straws. […]

Some of us know what we want: private sufficiency, public luxury, doughnut economics, participatory democracy and an ecological civilisation. None of these are bigger asks than those the billionaire press has made and largely achieved: the neoliberal revolution that has swept away effective governance, effective taxation of the rich, effective restraints on the power of business and oligarchs and, increasingly, effective democracy.