For five years now, we have been at this gig of empowering humanity to end the climate crisis. And for five years, we have been cheered on by an enthusiastic minority and ignored, snubbed, attacked and placated by a solid and steadfast majority. As wonderful as it may be to be the underdog that folks are rooting for, to be the David in the David and Goliath, at some point, unless you’re completely delusional, you do need to stop and get the reality of just what the hell is actually going on.
When we developed the science and action models that let us see that through the actions of ordinary people we could actually get on track to end the climate crisis, we thought the world would be happy to hear this, that this would be music to the ears of people everywhere who experienced themselves as helpless in the face of the climate crisis. That the offering of power, real power, the power that comes from taking responsibility in the matter, would be seen as an opportunity, not just regarding the climate crisis, but for other seemingly daunting issues as well.
We could not have been more wrong. What we have seen, and what we can now stand square in the face of, is that people don’t want power. They don’t want responsibility. They don’t want to be the ones determining the fate of themselves, each other and the planet. People want someone else to handling it, or that someone else is coming to handle it. People want hope,not power. People prefer the smoke and mirrors of lies of denial that keep the situation out of reach, that make it fine to do nothing, rather than to confront the reality of it all.
One of our core messages of 2020 or Bust is that ending the climate crisis will require a critical mass of humanity powerfully related to the reality of the situation and in action consistent with that reality. We have failed miserably at this. Not only is the vast majority of humanity not powerfully related to the reality of the situation, but included in that majority is much of those within the climate movement. Rarely do you hear a real conversation for ending the crisis and the hard facts of what it will take in real time and real action to bring about that result. Lots of horror stories, lots of predictions, lots of studies and charts and white papers, lots of marches and strikes, lots of proposals for legislation, lots of books and conferences, lots of hope and progress and best efforts and hey kids, we have to do better, but ZERO actual where we are, where we are headed, where we need to be to not fry, and specifically what is required to bridge the gap.
We at 2020 or Bust have now had our own real awakening. People don’t want the facts, they don’t want to see what they need to do to alter the future. People don’t want to be powerfully related to reality. People don’t want reality at all. People want to do their best, they want to do their part, they want to be optimistic, they want to have hope, they want only the information that tells them that they can keep living the way they have been living and that somehow it is all just going to work out. People want comfort and safety, and if real comfort and safety isn’t available, then the the illusion of it will do just fine.
Our job is waking humanity to itself, not getting people to do the right thing. Even if people alter their behavior, if they haven’t had that experience of seeing who they are, what they are really up to, what really matters to them, then the change is episodic and will make no difference. The pandemic is a great example. Everyone went inside, but that’s the only difference, we’re inside. Waiting til we can go back out and nothing of any real consequence will have altered. We just made it though one more crisis, not dealing with the real crisis that is us.
Watching the political conventions, the screwedness that we are was glaringly apparent. We don’t want power, real power, and not the domination and control variety. If we had real power, if we woke up to the whining, sniveling, complaining creatures that we are, and started to take real responsibility for the whole gig, then we would actually have to do something. We could no longer bask in the reasons and justifications for why we don’t have any power and we would have to put our blankies down, take our thumbs out of our mouths and start to take the kind of action that moves the world. Much easier pretend that Mommy or Daddy is taking care of it all, and as long as we stay good little followers, then it’s all gonna be just fine.
In this election season, lots of talk of freedom, the cornerstone of our democracy. People say they want freedom, but it’s not real freedom they want, the freedom that comes from responsibility and real thinking. They want bullshit freedom, the freedom of a teenager, where you can stay out as late as you want, watch as much tv as you want, and buy as many guns as you want. The freedom that is the “letting us do what we want” freedom, the kind that comes from without and not within. The easy, unthinking and comfortable freedom.
This is not an indictment born of bitterness or despair, and we really are running out of time. Real time. Nothing to feel good or bad about. We humans are not good people. We’re not bad people either. And we do need to wake up if there is to be any shot whatsoever at a future beyond the predictable.
2020 or Bust. We’re busted!