When Will We Ever Learn?

It takes so little to raise my hackles these days, so let me just share two little snippets that left me growling this week.


Life on Planet Earth … but for how long?

Just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its latest report detailing the threats posed by global warming and concluding that nations aren’t doing nearly enough to protect the planet, the U.S. Supreme Court stands poised to curtail the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to proceed with sweeping regulation of climate-warming emissions from the nation’s power plants.

According to the IPCC report, water and food insecurity have become widespread, affecting millions across the globe, as droughts, heat waves and floods inundate the planet.  More than 13 million people in Africa and Asia were displaced by extreme weather in 2019.  Says ecologist Camille Parmesan, one of the report’s authors …

“One of the most striking conclusions in our report is that we’re seeing adverse impacts that are much more widespread and much more negative than expected.”

The report said “transformational” changes will need to be made not only in the way we get our energy, but in the methods used in the building of new homes, in the way we grow food and in the way we protect the environment.

“With climate change, some parts of the planet will become uninhabitable.” 

“Overall, the picture is stark for food systems. No one is left unaffected by climate change.”

Although many world leaders have pledged to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the current trajectory is from two to three degrees Celsius by the end of the century.  Says Maarten van Aalst, another of the report’s authors …

“Beyond 1.5, we’re not going to manage on a lot of fronts. If we don’t implement changes now in terms of how we deal with physical infrastructure, but also how we organize our societies, it’s going to be bad.”

Can you imagine life with food and water scarcities?  Most of us living in the U.S. cannot imagine it, for we have never been there, making it difficult for us to perceive.  However, if we don’t wake up and STOP mining coal and drilling for oil, stop driving gas guzzling vehicles, stop leaving every light in the house on, then it may be a matter of only a few short years before we wake one morning and find our world transformed and not in any good way.

And on the heels of that report, the Supreme Court, or at least the five ‘conservative’ justices on the Court, are considering clipping the wings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  On Monday, the Court heard oral arguments in the case of West Virginia vs EPA in which Republican attorneys general and coal companies are asking the court to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate planet-warming gas emissions from power plants.  The name of the agency … Environmental Protection … speaks for itself.  We are killing our planet, the EPA is trying to stop the madness, and the Court is considering giving into the madness, giving already wealthy coal and oil barons a clear path to increase their wealth at the expense of future generations world-wide!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Let us hope that common sense and care for the planet their children and grandchildren will inherit will lead the Court to make the right decision in this case.  I’m not holding my breath.


Woke?

Okay, so I am 70 years old and perhaps my mind is too calcified at this point to understand the new pseudo-vocabulary that the ‘conservatives’ have been inventing for the past year or two, but apparently they don’t much understand the English language.  I direct your attention to their use of the word ‘woke’, a word that in the English language means arose from sleep.

So, the right-wing bunch refer to those of us who care about such things as women’s rights, equality for all, LGBTQ rights, and more as being ‘woke’.  Well, if you mean we came out of a deep sleep, whether actual or rhetorical, then no – we have always been awake, unlike others in this country who would deny half the population of their rights.  It seems that their very definition of ‘woke’ means an educated humanitarian, and the opposite is … well, an uneducated bigot.

The kicker on the use of ‘woke’ came yesterday when I read in an article that none other than conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon referred to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as being “anti-woke”, meaning he is still sleeping, has no concept of humanitarianism and human rights.  That sounds about right, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t how Bannon intended it!  His intent was to compliment Putin, and being called “anti-woke”, as I understand the newly-given definition of ‘woke’, is a monumental insult.  But then, people like Bannon et al aren’t very intelligent, so what do you expect?

And on the topic of conservatism … I think that calling for the lynching of one of the world’s renowned medical experts in the field of virology is not very conservative!  I also think that the disrespectful heckling of the president while he is giving a speech talking about his own son’s death is anti-conservative.  A trucker’s convoy to protest health safety measures damn sure doesn’t fall under any conservative set of values.  Chanting to ‘hang’ the vice-president does not sound very conservative to me.  The list is endless, but there is no way to reconcile today’s Republican Party, aka GOP, with conservatism.  None.  No. Way.  If these things represent the Republican Party and their ‘anti-wokeness’, then this nation is in a world of trouble.  Think about it.

46 thoughts on “When Will We Ever Learn?

  1. When Will We Ever Learn? That answer may not be found until the remaining chapters of Earth are finally written, after the last t’s are crossed, the last i’s are dotted, the final period is printed and an epilogue cannot appear. In the meantime I recommend, of course, some reading material : 1) “Losing Earth : A Recent History” by Nathaniel Rich published in April, 2019 and 2) “Planet on Fire : A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown” by Mathew Lawrence and Laurie Laybourn-Langton published in April, 2021.
    Woke? The word “Woke”, as it is often heard and loudly decried by many, originated in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). According to Merriam-Webster : aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). Yup, that’s me! I say to that ‘right-wing bunch’ : Woke & Proud!
    WHAK!! Thank-you!

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  2. Pingback: WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. We have become—or at least the world’s mega-corporations—the proverbial obese frog grinning smugly as the entire frying pan is slowly engulfed by flames. The obese frog has played denial games for so long that it will not nor cannot hop out of the pan and survive. Know the idiom Jill?

    Living in north Texas (Dallas) most of my life and almost a decade in central Texas now, over the last 5-7 years, but MORE SO the last two years, I cannot ever remember so many days/nights where the temperature change/difference from a day’s high to the night’s low has become on average between 35° to 40° ! 😯 IOW, the last four days/nights here we go from say 72° daytime to 34° at the wee-hours. It is disturbing to me. And these more extreme weather currents becoming more North-South, instead of historically West-East with slight fluctuations seasonally, was a Climate-Change prediction by scientists in all weather and Earth-Ocean disciplines some 10-15 years ago. Increasingly MORE radical, extreme weather phenomena, this early signs & symptoms of Mother Earth becoming more and more SICK! Once the tipping-point is reached then surpassed, it is all over for most/many living species on the planet, including billions of humans. Period.

    Regarding “woke,” our various languages of communication, especially in the U.S., and the average comprehension of written and/or verbalized sophisticated language, rhetoric, etc, have always been horribly imperfect or declining due to a poor and gradual dismantling of public education, from K-12 into higher-eds, the under-grad and post-grad levels (not) attained. The latter has several contributing factors.

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    • Yep … the ‘boiling frog’ theory! As you say, we can each see the effects of climate change in our own backyard. Here in Ohio, we had only one measurable (albeit barely) snowfall this year, whereas typically we average 8-10 per winter. And last summer, we had nearly 30 90° days when in the past we’ve averaged only 1-2, if that. I can see it, I can feel it in the air we breathe. Unfortunately, far too many people are wearing their rose-coloured glasses and sticking their fingers in their ears.

      I agree with you that our system of education is lagging … I often think intentionally so. Keep the masses ignorant and allow only the wealthy to have the education to occupy seats as CEOs or high-level government persona. Heck, just look at the Boebert/Greene clown duet and their behaviour at the State of the Union address earlier this week! Sigh.

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      • When compared to more highly educated, more progressive nations in Europe, particularly the Nordic nations, we are shamefully way behind in so many categories of a thriving Standard of Living & Well-being. Makes me timid to EVER boast about the U.S. again, unless we all, E Pluribus Unum, do some 180° turnarounds… and fast!

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  4. Has anyone suggested yet the real reason Putin wants Ukraine under his control is the fact it is the Wheat Belt to Europe, the World Granary, or basically the producer of 25% of the world’s wheat supply? Especially with the Canadian prairies not able to produce the quantity or quality of wheat as usual DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE DISASTERS of drought and flood, Ukraine is going to become an even more valuable piece of real estate than ever before? Wheat is one of the most important staples in feeding the world’s population. It will be more valuable than gold in the coming years, if it is not already. So far, I have heard no one talking about this!
    Meanwhile, with Ukraine under attack right now, there is no wheat planting going on in those valuable steppes. World wheat production is going to take a huge drop if this war drags on into summer! If Canada has another growing season like last year, world wheat production could fall by over 50% in one year! With our reliance on wheat, the world is going to be in food crisis in 2023! If Putin is not stopped RIGHT NOW, we could have a famine worse than any famine this world has ever seen! And it will be global in scope, worse than the present pandemic. There is no vaccine against hunger!
    And in America, the Go On, Putin party is cheering for this to happen. Maybe they haven’t looked at the above possibility, or they just don’t care about it. They are the most crass, under-educated, uncaring, uncompassionate, craven humans that have ever joined together “en masse” to watch, and want, the rest of the world to suffer. Their egos are bigger than their wallets, and their hearts are tinier than their little toes.
    And nobody is doing anything real to stop Putin from what he is hell-bent on doing, annexing Ukraine. They do a lot of talking, but Putin understands only power. And right now, he is using his without hindrance!

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    • I somehow doubt that wheat is Putin’s reason for attacking Ukraine … his goals are more along the lines of establishing a new Soviet-style empire. No doubt the wheat would be an added bonus, but I doubt it is his main reason. That said, yes, wheat along with many other crops will become scarce in the coming years due to climate change, and people all over the world, but especially in the U.S., are too complacent, too blind, to see what is happening before their very eyes. Some have said that “Oh well … humans will learn to adapt” but there is no adapting to starvation and dehydration due to not having potable water. Time’s a wasting and we sit around in our warm, well-lighted houses playing Russian roulette. As for Putin … what can be done is limited, given his threat to unleash nuclear weapons. Are we really willing to take that risk, to challenge him to a game of chicken? Remember that he has no conscience and a few million dead people likely wouldn’t bother him in the least.

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      • It would not bother him, no, but he can only give an order. If no one follows it, too bad, so sad. Someone has to stand up to the pr*ck.
        Empire starts with being able to feed your own people, while staving others. Just looking at things from a different viewpoint.

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        • I can only speak as an outsider looking in, but I think if he gives an order, most will follow it out of fear if nothing else. It seems the average Russian is sick of Putin and his ways, but he still has his loyal henchmen who, given the order to push that nuclear button, would no doubt do just that. Sigh.

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  5. Jill, this confirms what we have been seeing the last several years. The impact of climate change is here. Drought areas are drier, forest wildfires are more intense and increased in number, tornados and hurricane are wreaking more havoc due to size and slow movement, tidal areas are flooding on sunny days more frequently, tropical pests are climbing north on the globe, ski areas cannot produce enough snow for business, and so on. When some say this throws too many things together, I read a report in 2011 produced by the largest pension scheme managers in the world on the cost of climate change and the wildfires, droughts and large storms were mentioned then as key risks.

    And, the current and last governors and current senators from Florida are ignoring the fact that Miami is the most at risk city in the world given its location and size. And, it is not just the flooding and increased hurricane risk. The Biscayne aquifer is protected by porous limestone, which will not be able to hold back sea water that seeps in. Keith

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    • Indeed, I don’t see how anybody can deny that climate change is real and that it’s effects are escalating. Here, we had only one measurable snowfall all year, where we normally have 10-12, and last summer we saw somewhere around 30 days of 90° days, whereas in past years we rarely saw more than one or two. Are people really so blind? And yes, look at the major hurricanes of the past several years, not to mention the devastating wildfires on the West Coast.

      The Florida politicos who are ignoring the fact that Miami is the most at-risk city remind me of those same politicos (and many others) who deny that COVID is a real threat to the people of their state and that vaccines and masks could save many lives. We need to heed the warnings in the IPCC report, but I’m not holding my breath for common sense and logic to kick in anytime soon. If not, though, it will soon be too late.

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      • Jill, when now Senator Rick Scott was governor, there was a documentary filmed, in part in Miami Beach, regarding the global concerns of climate change. The mayor was standing with a scientist in the street of the city of Miami Beach with sea water halfway up their shins. It was evidence of sunny day flooding where the sea water comes up through the street drains. At the time, they were having about 40 of this per year. Scott’s office, who earlier had an edict that no public official use the words “climate change” or “global warming” in speeches or articles, declined to be present for the documentary. When I wrote about this before, my point was being surrounded by water on three sides might make you want to be a little more risk averse on the chance it was all true. Keith

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        • Scott issued an edict forbidding the use of the words “global warming” or “climate change”??? How very dictatorial! I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by the dictatorial “11-Point Plan” that he is proposing now! Like you, it seems to me that Florida should be more concerned than any other state, but yet Floridians keep electing climate-deniers. Time for the people of Florida to wake up and take a look around them!

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          • Jill, as inane as that sounds he did indeed. It is the ultimate ostrich with head in sand approach. Yet, so did President George W. Bush. He has a former petroleum lobbyist as his White House Council on the Environment and his task was to black line all references to global warming in reports. This is sadly true. Of course, when your Vice President is the former CEO of Haliburton, a fracking company, what would one expect. Keith

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            • Apparently these people don’t have children and grandchildren who they care about enough to try to ensure those future generations have a livable planet and can survive. It is sad and it is angering, for it is our lives they are playing games with. Sigh.

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  6. Their grasp of the nuances, subtlety and irony within the English language would be laughable if their views weren’t accepted by so many.
    We have discussed the sheer stupidity of using ‘snowflake’ and how vulnerable it leaves the user to a rebuff.
    Since it became a favourite of the reactionary and ignorant If I see anyone using ‘woke’ I simply switch off and not bother to read or listen to the rest.

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    • I agree … anyone using ‘woke’ to make a point is obviously not particularly intelligent and I cannot waste time reading or listening to them. It’s some sort of a trigger, like ‘snowflake’ that riles the masses … the under-educated masses or those prone to seeing a conspiracy around every corner!

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      • ‘The use of ‘woke’ and ‘snowflake’ definitely translates into ‘I am narrow-minded, with no clear perception’

        Yeah, tell a 9/11-er that the actually conspiracy, was the manufacturing of Conspiracy Theories by the Security and Intelligence services to cover up the fact that they failed to pick up on the signals, and watch the heads spin.

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  7. i’m with you all the way Jill. Maybe there should be lessons in school on this with pictures of parched Earth from Africa superimposed over some of the wheat fields that currently feeds America so they know what’s coming?
    As for the Conservatives, maybe someone could draw up a list of supposed Conservative values with a check list beside it that voters can fill in Against Conservative Candidates in the forthcoming elections. I doubt whether a single one will measure up and I imagine a few will get no ticks at all.

    cwttch

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    • There absolutely should be lessons in school about climate change and the devastating effects we are already seeing, as well as the ones that are likely to follow. But, in a country that is trying to ban the teaching of factual history, it’s unlikely they would allow the teaching of actual climate science. Sigh.

      I like your idea about the checklist of conservative “values” (as if they had any actual values)! I think that many who vote for the conservative candidates don’t even understand what they stand for, they simply fall for the rhetoric they spew.

      Cwtch

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