Time to retire that fossil fuel infrastructure
My choice of words (specifically "delusional") was harsh and unfair. I apologize. The worst part is that it was hurtful to someone who doesn't deserve it; the second worst part was that it undermined the arguments that I was making. I am sorry for both.
Will refrain from expressing my thoughts on this but once again a big thank you to you Rachel for doing these “summaries and thoughts” after each of your podcasts (since I’m not a podcast listener). You continue to be one of the most important voices for me in regards to all things in the biosphere breakdown
We are all struggling! My heart aches for the earth .
What have we done?
I watch and observe everyone behaving mostly, so poorly. Keep up the good fight. It is all we have left.
Composting is a good way to put it. I've been asking myself these same questions, thank you for getting there.
Those who are drilling are committing violence. They have known for 50 years that CO2 would lead to this situation. Exxon's own scientists modeled this situation with remarkable accuracy in the 70s. Our lazy politicians wouldn't even participate in the Kyoto protocol. Drawing comparisons to the civil rights movement is apt. Cop City in Atlanta, and misdemeanors being turned to felonies to suppress our right to assemble are predictors of how things will go, should we take to the streets. Staying within the lines of the law have not worked. If we hope to survive the #ClimateEmergency, we have no choice but to get bloody. I dive into it here, for those interested. https://geoffreydeihl.substack.com/p/the-real-eco-terrorists
I wonder about this constantly. Power, force, control... Ownership, property... Our language is filled with recursive pitfalls. And for me, once I could see "the world" in that light, everything turned into a dark forest. What do we do when we realize our inherited tools for moving through the world are an illusion?
Mind is the vision, body the vehicle. When they become so disconnected, when mind runs the body ragged, refusing to heed the compounding injuries, can they be reunited without catastrophe?
Interesting article. Thanks for putting your name to this conversation; that is a brave thing to do.
Violence is already ubiquitous (as you point out, it is a core facet of the fossil fuel industrial complex and, more generally, capitalism itself), so it seems inevitable that at some point some people will act in self-defense to protect themselves, their loved ones, their communities and their world. That said, I have three critiques of your essay,
First, the use of the word “composting” tends towards delusion. The violence that is spoken of here is not, like composting, a natural process where living organisms repurpose and reclaim materials and return them to the earth’s nutrient cycles. Rather, blowing up fossil fuel infrastructure is better compared to armed resistance movements. Make no mistake; if (when?) folks turn to violent resistance to the ongoing destruction of our world, it will bear no similarity to composting.
Second, you seem to imply that a programme of resistance would need to be controlled and directed. That sounds reasonable, but violence doesn’t typically work that way. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it will almost certainly take on a life of its own. To think otherwise is again to be delusional. Yes, those who act violently in resistance towards the forces that callously seek to destroy the world only to line their own pockets might be acting morally, but that doesn’t mean that they will act with precision, restraint, discipline, and ethical purity.
Finally, you speak of violence directed at people as being “abhorrent” without any further discussion. Why? This strikes me as somewhat naive. As you said, violence is “embodied” and that means that it is perpetrated by bodies —i.e. people. It seems inevitable that at some point in a resistance movement there will be a perceived need to oppose the bodies of the oppressor with the bodies of the freedom fighters directly. Otherwise, the resistance movement draws a line around its actions beyond which it will not go. That might be the ‘right’ thing to do, but such a line will quickly be exploited by the dominant group to contain and neutralize the resistance movement. If there is an absolute refusal to consider targeting specific actors for their ecocidal behaviour, then such behaviours will almost certainly continue. Violence towards humans is not a pretty thought, but dismissing it with a single word is another delusion. It is a likely outcome of such a movement, so shouldn’t it be part of the conversation before the resistance begins?
Things are escalating too quickly for me, Rachel. It is very immoral to counsel your followers to seek to destroy their country’s energy infrastructure. It’s like you are telling them to go to the capital, and fight like hell. Real people can be hurt, killed, jailed. Lives can be destroyed. And it can’t achieve any sensible objective. You justify destroying society like the villain in a James Bond, or Incredibles film. Far better for me to try to live a good life, help alleviate suffering, reduce my impact on the planet, and help others to do the same. There are better ways to coexist with the planet peacefully without destroying society. Also wondering, is it better to do my own composting, or leave it to my municipality? What is the moral case?