Sustainability does not mean defending the non-human world from human expansion. Instead, it has come to mean sustaining human civilisation at the comfort level which the world’s rich people feel is their right.
We should be saying: no more normal. Not now, not ever.
Solving climate change alone will not save us—especially when the so-called solutions involve ramping up technologies that are decimating the biosphere. Nothing can make a difference unless we find a way to end our fatal addiction to economic growth.
Civilized societies are not less violent than non-civilized societies–-though they may appear to be the more privileged citizens. One of the defining characteristics of civilization is the depersonalization of violence.
Though they’re often used synonymously, civilization is not the same thing as culture. Many of the things that are attributed to civilization, such as art and healing, existed before civilization and outside of states. And many of the lauded “improvements” brought by civilization were not really improvements, or else they were improvements which came at a terrible cost.
All honest environmental activists will feel despair at some point. The solution isn’t to run from it, or repress it, or deny it. There’s only one way to deal with despair, and that’s to go though it. We have to feel our feelings. Despair can be a teacher. It can lead us to a greater wholeness, more compassion, and a deeper sense of purpose.
I’m not going to try to tell you where to focus your energy. But I will say this, if your choice is being motivated by a fear of despair, if you are fighting down a feeling of hopelessness, consider letting yourself feel it. Really feel it. Trust that there is wisdom in all of our feelings, even the dark ones, maybe especially the dark ones. And see where it takes you.
“The film is asking us to come to terms with some difficult realities which we have yet to face: namely, that sustaining our infinite growth, industrial civilization on renewables is neither desirable nor possible, yet that is exactly what green capitalists are intent on pursuing.”
If your question is “How to we scale up sustainable ‘solutions’ so we can keep living the way we are?”, the answer is, “We don’t.”
What does a “civilizational collapse” look like? It looks like this. Here and now. It’s staring you right in the face.