Business as Usual is Over
So, how can we respond?
Everybody, consciously or not, knows that business as usual is over.
And by that I include those who are climate deniers or the billionaires making money on oil.
How dare I say this? Look at the behaviours of many people these days – irrational in the extreme!
Throwing gravel at Prime Minister Trudeau.
Banning the mandatory wearing of masks or mandating of vaccination or testing at place of work.
People still dying in the US although free and effective vaccines are available for all.
Interest rates below inflation. Personal debt ballooning. Insane increasing in housing prices.
Fires and droughts and floods and the melting of Greenland – it even rained on top of the ice in Greenland!
Opioid deaths accelerating. Birth rate decreasing significantly is the US, falling 4%, below the replacement rate.
These, seemingly unrelated events are, in my opinion, all telling us the same thing:
Business as Usual is over.
Even peoples’ seemingly irrational behaviour makes sense. They are angry or depressed or anxious or lonely or filled with despair or some other extremely felt emotion because they feel powerless. Their lives and the life of their communities, of their way of life, of what they thought was “normal”, is slipping away. They don’t know why, so they flail around in destructive manners that, of course, like a drowning person who grabs hold of you and only ensures that you both drown, only makes things worse.
So what can you do?
Change how you consume.
Change how you travel.
Change how you think.
Change your values.
But don’t do it alone. “Doing it my way” is a big part of our malaise.
We seem to have forgotten that we all sink or swim together.
And by together I include all of Creation, all the plants and animals and rivers and soils are as alive as you and I are.
We need them all healthy for we humans to be healthy.
So, stop seeing of the climate deniers and antivaxxers as terrible and stupid people. They are not.
A more helpful attitude is to see some of their ideas as deluded, yes, but also in pain. But be humble, because the odds of you or me being totally correct is ZERO. They are confused. They are being misinformed. They are depressed. They need compassion, not insult. [see book below] We need to build bridges, knowing there will be no result, at least not know, because this climate war becomes really nasty, and it is looking like that day is coming sooner than later, we all need to be on the same side.
Only unified do we have a chance of avoiding massive pain and suffering and worse.
We can do it. Keep on doing what will heal the Earth. But also heal those people who cannot face the fact that Business as Usual is over.
When attempting to bridge the gap, start with compassion.
Here is a bit from the book.
In 2018, Lee McIntyre took on a fun assignment as a philosopher of science when he attended the Flat Earth International Conference in an attempt to ascertain firsthand how a community of people could enthusiastically dismiss the most basic proposition that our planet is a pockmarked and imperfect sphere floating in space.
Though the guerrilla scholarship had a lighthearted tone to it, McIntyre took his mission seriously, hoping his lessons with the Flat Earthers would help the scientific community debate more serious matters, like the efficacy of vaccines and the reality of manmade climate change.
McIntyre learned many lessons from the Flat Earthers and his subsequent review of the literature around science denial. Chiefly, he concluded that what we choose to believe is often a pure and powerful expression of who we are, who we want to be, and what communities we want to be part of.
Changing your mind about the Earth’s flatness might mean finding a new group of friends after all. It means missing next year’s conference. It means no more late-night, online discussions about how NASA hoaxed the planet with phony space images. Though McIntyre doesn’t press this point, it seems a lot like asking an alcoholic to stop drinking when their dearest friends gather daily at the bar.
As his How to Talk to a Science Denier debuts, the United States and the world face a compounding feedback loop between science denial and extremist politics. A national poll released in June from Monmouth University found that one in three Americans believes Joe Biden only won the U.S. presidential election because of voter fraud. This was months after an historic riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Concurrently, American conservatives took up resistance to mask-wearing and then to receiving covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, climate change remains a worldwide political and scientific issue that is not addressed by Biden bringing the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement.
Lee takes an empathetic approach to his science-denying subjects, even when he vehemently disagrees with their conclusions. He traces the roots of science denialism back to the public-relations campaign waged by tobacco companies against health research in the mid-20th century. Their strategy, McIntyre says, was to “manufacture doubt.”
How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason
- By Lee McIntyre The MIT Press reviewed August 19, 2021