Jane Goodall is a rebel girl, too.
If this were Star Trek, it would be easy to get people’s attention. The crew of the Enterprise wouldn’t need to rebel. Scotty would just call on the communicator and say, “Cap’n, the life support system she’s a-failin’. I can’t ‘old her together much longer!” Kirk would leap into furious action, stripping down to bare chest in the rising heat inside the Enterprise. Every member of the crew would pitch in bravely. Disaster would be narrowly averted. And the ship would be saved. (In this case the Starship Earth that we are all riding through the universe.)
Instead, this is America, 2019. Instead of Kirk, we have the blowhard ignoramus Trump, we have corporations lying, and we have a news media complicit in hiding the truth of the climate breakdown from the public. The life support system of Starship Earth is failing, broken by human action, and no politician in America (except Jay Inslee) seems to really care. In America, we are barely aware that ecological disaster is already on us. And there will be no happy ending. The real world is not TV.
In the UK, though, the citizens seem to be getting the message. The Extinction Rebellion is gaining strength, and today, April 15th, is its coming out day. Protests are taking place across London today, shutting roads and bridges, planting impromptu gardens in the middle of streets. Daring the police to arrest them.
This is a pretty good, serious article that actually talks a little about the climate crisis and the goals and demands of the Rebellion.
And some Christians are joining in.
On the other hand, CNN has someone posting live updates about the protests. The point of view seems mainly to belittle the protesters. No real mention of the environmental crisis at all. But headlines like “protesters glue themselves to a pink sailboat” and pictures of protesters dressed up as wizards.
Even Fox gets in on the news with a brief story.
Why is the reaction to the ecological catastrophe so different in the UK compared to the USA? Why are we so indifferent to the Sixth Extinction, to climate chaos? There are many factors, but I’d say one of the most important is just the size of the country. I think Americans find it hard to believe that they have any influence on distant Washington DC. Everyone in England is within a single day’s train ride of London. The sense that individuals are part of the country and can make a difference must be greater because of the smaller size of the country.
More significantly, the US media– in one of the most historically significant absences I can think of– seldom mentions the real extent of the ecological crisis.
But perhaps the biggest cause of American ignorance about the environment is our political parties. If the politicians will not emphasize, seldom even mention climate crisis, then it’s easy for the voters to think it doesn’t matter. The fact that both political parties and the media are owned by the complex of fossil fuel related corporations underlies all of this. When the industry that is destroying the world controls politics and media, perhaps a rebellion is, in fact, the only way to save ourselves.
Is there any answer to this ignorance? How can we engage the American public in the real facts of climate change? The greatest task I see is simply trying to educate Americans to the reality of the environmental crisis that is already on us. To help people understand that there is no time to wait.
From the side, neither political party in America seems to care about this most vital of all issues. But all the members of both political parties, as well as the rest of us who stand on the side, will be hit by the tsunami of climate change, unless we all work together to stop it.
On View from the Side, I’m doing what I can. Please join me.