Our Radical Future Is Now

I wrote this piece for the 150th Anniversary Issue of The Nation. Our radical future is now. We must live the values that we espouse in our activism. Otherwise a “just and equitable” future will always be in the future. What we love can’t wait for the future.

The Radical Future of our Climate Is Now

I am 22 years old, and I have been a climate activist for ten years. My call is for a radical future now.

I look into my future, and I am scared. I know that climate change will define my life no matter what. I also know that this is true for everyone on our planet, especially the global poor on the front lines of fossil-fuel use.

Meanwhile, millions of people around the world unite to protect what they love. We insist on new institutions that respond to the climate crisis, enabling humans to prosper within Earth’s limits. We fight for a government that sees beyond short-term self-interest.

This future embodies different values that enable the turn away from a carbon economy and address root causes of the crisis. Equity, justice, life and empathy are at the core. Perhaps we can never fully achieve these values. Knowing that does not diminish their necessity. We must learn to value one another and our Earth in a different way.

If we relegate new values to an abstract, theoretical future, then they will always remain there. In the future. My radical now tries to bring this new moral framework into the present. Wave to the car that lets you cross the street; wave more vigorously at those choosing to take buses and trains to work; reach out to a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while; listen to all the voices in the room. The big things are equally important: create fiery campaigns that allow for all interests and levels of involvement; build a movement driven by “love for” not “fear of.” What we love can’t wait for the future.

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2 Comments

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  1. I re-watched “An inconvenient truth”, and I think Gore really needs to do more for DH. I don’t know if there are rules, written or unwritten, that he can’t be “political” or what the problem is. I mean, it’s such a powerful documentary, and he more than anyone, ought to understand at this point, that divestment is the only chance to save the planet. It’s abundantly clear, how many damn COP failures do we have to endure, to see that political corruption is way too ingrained in the system to produce the necessary changes. Sure, if we had 50 years to get it done, it might make sense to actually listen to Obama and Hillary make speeches about how they take it all seriously and promise to fix it, but we don’t have the time to waste, and it is a waste of time believing the Democratic party will save the day. They can’t even reject Keystone!!! It’s a joke. My favorite part of Gore’s film, is when he shows the photo from space of earth as the “pale green dot” and how all of our history, hopes, dreams, stuggles, wars, victories, all just happened on one little dot floating in the infinite vastness of space. It makes you realize how precious our little planet and atmosphere is. Shame on anybody who doesn’t at least TRY to avoid this very fixable catastrophe. Harvard worships money. But you can’t eat or drink money, when will they realize that some things are so much more valuable than pieces of paper?

  2. http://time.com/author/joel-stein/ Joel’s article “Wallets over Ballots” makes a powerful, true, and relevant point. It’s actually quite empowering, and somewhat relieves the frustration one has fighting for justice to think that we’ve always had this power, to vote with our dollars. I think this is much more effective that “peaceful protests”. Even though I thought the climate march sounded like a good idea, did it really accomplish anything? I doubt it. BUT, on the other hand, if every single dollar that each one of those 400,000 people spent, presumably into the low millions at least, not to mention the time spent, doing all that for the march, were intentionally spent rewarding some company or corporation that is fighting for climate change or whatever causes we believe in, that would be exponentially more powerful and do more to further the cause. But we consumers need more info on which companies are the best. I can buy beer labelled “union made” and I do, but what about everything else, shoes? coffee? clothes? “Buy local” helps, but there can be bad local business too. Where are there resources where we can find out which products to support? This is the key to solving all of our problems I believe, voting with our dollars. Imagine a website where one could easily reference the practices of every product before heading out to shop, that’s what I’m thinking of.

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