4/30/13 – 3:06AM
I can’t sleep. It’s 3:06AM and I’m uncharacteristically sleepless in Seattle. A little aloof. Frustrated. Staring out the window at the sky. My mind is racing, running on the hundred some-odd things I give myself to worry about. Exactly zero of them are being solved right now, at 3:06AM.
The clouds and dim stars, obscured by orange city lights, do lend their perspective. But it’s not the type of perspective I’m usually soothed by. Yes…I am so small, my problems seemingly insignificant. Even the city-scarred stars tell me that. There is an element of truth in it, but it doesn’t bring the comfort of a warm blanket. Instead I see as clearly as ever that this ride is on its way to the middle of somewhere we’ve never been before, and we’re all strapped in. The perspective that should calm my racing mind with the assurance that my problems aren’t problems –that the Universe has a colossal ticking order which is unaffected by my worry –instead leaves me feeling uncomfortably fastened to the side of a rocket like Major T.J. King Kong.
Connected for better or worse. And maybe that is the key: we are all connected. No matter what, we all breathe the same air. My exhalation finds it way through the carbon cycle and turns into your inhalation. To what extreme lengths can someone insulate themself from our connectedness? How can one avoid the consequences of climate chaos? Sure, for a select few there’s always the option to hide out. Guarded by private militias, drinking filtered water and breathing filtered air. They have ceased to be connected to me and I to them. Alone on a planet full of people.
For the rest of us, we share a common destiny. Why is it that the poorest among us, with the least material wealth, grasp so easily and so intimately the looming consequences of our collective actions? My guess: community and connectedness. It’s well documented that societies which lack material wealth make up for it with rich levels of community and familial bonding. Could inter-generational cohabitation correlate with community and concurrently influence the willingness of societies to act on climate change?
People who have yet to experience the fruits of Western industrial labor are willing to cast it aside. These are communities that will simply leapfrog into the next iteration of humanity.
If nothing else, just remember that climate change is not an “environmentalist” issue. Instead, try to think of it as an “I-am-alive-and-I-live-on-this-Earth” issue.
When I rest, I will rest easier knowing that it still seems to be within the constructs of human instinct to self-preserve. This is the good news that my sleepless night brought to me. We are all beautifully connected. So say the clouds and the city-scarred stars.
Talk about an Unnatural Disaster! Naomi Klein discusses Hurricane Sandy and disaster capitalism. If you’re unfamiliar with the term disaster capitalism, let me fill you in. During times of crisis, certain sectors of the business world and political class take advantage of our disorientation in order to push through policies favorable to them.
It’s happening again in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Less than three days after Sandy slammed into the Eastern Seaboard, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (which hosts distinguished fellows like John Bolton, Lynne Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle) was using the disaster to push the proliferation of WalMart stores in the affected area. According to Murray the slow recovery is, in fact, due to New Yorkers’ resistance to big box stores. Apparently Mom and Pop stores aren’t able to provide an adequate amount of supplies in the aftermath of a devastating storm. That’s probably because Mom and Pop are at home with their children or helping their neighbors instead of forcing their employees to work when they should be recovering with their families.
So the solution to Hurricane Sandy is…WalMart. Yes, that sounds like disaster capitalism.
If Hurricane Sandy isn’t a wake up call, then I don’t know what is. Naomi Klein discusses this and much more in the excellent clip below.