The cynicism that has to a degree quashed most of the optimism I try to have has many roots. I have been looking for hope, a reason and a means to move beyond hope. This seems a perpetual task. Sometimes it is fruitful, often it is not (perhaps caught up in my recurrent cynicism. I do so good things, though these ‘good’ things often embody some of the same old shit that the ‘bad’ is predicated on. With the Copenhagen talks going to shit — as they should given the stance of the rich (they are not ‘developed‘ — I will explain why), alongside the political shambles surrounding the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in Australia, even those amongst the ‘left’ are so caught up in anthropocentric, (pseudo-)capitalist shite, I do not even see a basis for hope…
I have not heard/read/listened to a single commentary that critiques the anthropocentric focus of Copenhagen and climate change talks more broadly. What is all this shit about saving the planet for the metaphorical ‘our children’. What happened to consideration of how we are fucking the planet up for all species? What about restitutive justice? Forget talking about the impacts on the children some people may have in the future, and their (western) lifestyles. What about the continuing decimation of ecosystems and the increase extinction’s and direct threats to the survival of untold species?
Why the fuck are we so caught up in both our lifestyles and self-obsessed with our own species?
Notwithstanding some valid fears about survival that many in the global south have as a direct result of the west’s devastating impacts on the environment — the abject poverty, suffering and deaths it directly causes — when are we going to wake up? Are we going to wake up?
When are those in the left move beyond referring to the west as developed. The term itself implies improvement. That we have improved the environment. Without going into a sustained engagement here, the question that needs to be asked is to what degree have we ‘improved’ things (see above)?
Extending beyond this, can we expect the ‘left’, progressive folks, to see beyond anthropocentrism? Given the moral schizophrenia so pervasive in the west (and beyond), you might think there would be some concern for cute and fluffy ‘wild’ creatures — I am not even suggesting people stop consuming animals (thought it would be a start). Yet, all this talk about climate change is based on concern for the impacts on the metaphorical potential child…
I have avoided most of the reporting on Copenhagen. It does little to counter my current cynicism. Rather, the current outcomes (for lack of a suitable word) fosters, perpetuates and solidifies it.
In a similar vein, the political shit fight about the proposed ETS in Australia is void of much critical substance. The right is claiming it is a tax, the mainstream political left is claiming it is essential. Anyone not supporting it is portrayed as a climate change sceptic. Whilst I am certain many opposing it are, why is their little coverage of solid critical discussions of the ETS as being little more than business as usual — in the capitalist sense. What about the lack of any significant tangible changes to energy policy (i.e. little ecological benefit)? Where is the support for small-scale decentralised approaches that will have far more positive impacts on mitigating our impacts on the planet as opposed to re-entrenching existing centralised infrastructure? Infrastructure that has extensive untold ecological & social impacts.
Should I see means to move beyond hope in the principled stand of the Australian Greens (in the electoral sphere) and many of the Group of 77 (G77) — which in itself seems far more ‘democratic’ that than the G5/G7/G10?
In a post-Bush west, it seems little has changed beyond the icing on the cake. The substance is still the same. It is the rhetoric that has changed. Some optimists may see it as good people constrained by the system (irrespective of whether they want the system to be changed/removed/overthrown). Other’s may see it as capitalism with a (quasi?) human face. I guess I need to re-listen to Propaghandi’s Supporting Caste, specifically Life at Disconnect:
‘Maybe we truly are just shallow and lame and we’re all just waiting for the end, the spectacle, or some kind of catastrophe to bring us back to earth to stun our ever nodding heads.’
I need to move beyond my cynicism, beyond hope and get back to working for change. My privileged aspiring-to-be middle-class western white male self needs to move beyond the luxury that cynicism affords…