As the deadliest wildfire, The Campfire, in California rages on creating an apocalypse hellscape melting the Golden State, President Donald Trump’s plan is to not only let the world burn, but to add fuel to the fire.
Trump isn’t alone in all of this, it has been known for decades the world is facing a crisis with a warming climate. Even though some Presidents have been better than others, none have worked at the needed speed or scale of action to end and now prepare for its impact. As the latest UN report tells us, and indeed many scientists before have, it is is too late to stop it as it’s all about preventing the worst now- which we have only 12 years to do, less time than we’ve been fighting in Afghanistan.
And to that, instead of radically decarbonizing and reshaping our society our leaders have invested in war and empire.
Since 9/11/2001, the United States has spent nearly $6 trillion on the war on terror. Beyond the human and resource toll, wars do nothing but add carbon to the atmosphere. The American empire and our neglect in addressing climate change are instrincily linked. Instead of fighting for our lives in reshaping our society, we have invested in a sprawling military footprint, dealing out death and terror to ever changing list of enemies and dubias allies.
The logistics of war, weapon platforms that don’t work – from a new and broken aircraft carrier that is susceptible to enemy missiles whos bomb elevators don’t work, to the F-35 that ballooned over budget and is underperforming- military bases, and our strategy of power projection are broken. And the brain trust of the empire are calling for more money, despite how broken, yet shiny, our military is. The empire must come home and a new strategy, other than being able to overpower the entire globe must be created.
For people jumping to fear of an isolationist nation ill-prepared to defend itself, there is a wide gulf between how ill-equipped the United States was post-World War I and the most sprawling empire in history. Pulling back our military to one of a regional military power would save the nation countless resources and is the morally right thing to do.
Creating a military capable of defending its borders and springing to offense if need be is a realistic strategy, one that doesn’t neglect the national defense of the United States. In fact, it might make us safer, as we currently have our military on the neck of the globe, which only invites retaliation and threat.
Leave the faulty idea of empire to those foolish enough to chase it, let our wisdom and lessons of the last century take hold. Empire in of itself is not worth the monetary, human, natural, and spiritual cost, and empire at the existential cost of humanity is insanity.
But here, in the idea of war mobilization we can find inspiration in the need for mass mobilization to fight global warming – to handle its crisis within an idea of war and military. A Green New Deal is a start, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lays out the plan in such a way where it can help address racial, gender, and economic disparities. A Green New Deal must be pushed, but we have to think beyond that – nothing short of total mobilization of the nation is a must for us to mitigate and withstand the impact climate change will have.
I say total mobilization as we must completely re-shape our society, we have to electrify our entire infrastructure, every building and vehicle. We have to retrofit and build energy efficient buildings, homes, everything throughout the nation. We have to move beyond cars and get people on trains and other public transportation. We have to change the entirety of our packaging industry. Changing how we farm, store, and use food. Not to mention shifting away from any greenhouse gas energy sources.
This will take massive mobilization in the vein of World War II, from repurposing factories to make the products and platforms we need to make the shift, to mobilizing people on updating and changing the entirety of our infrastructure, people making new everyday products that produce zero greenhouse gas, R&D, and more. It is an all-hands-on-deck situation where we have to work to reuse every product and resource we have, scrape it to the bone and use that, too.
The mechanisms of how this can be done can look like a war mobilization effort, and must be sold as such as it will take the same sacrifice as total war. This is the war for our species and we must act like it. By taking mass mobilization action we can lead the world in a different way, not through death and destruction, but through life and humanity. A model of global leadership that protects the existence of humanity.
These mechanisms intersect with ideas of a federal jobs guarantee, housing as a human right, water as a human right, food as a human right, Medicare for all, education for all, living wages, and more. This is our chance to re-imagine who we are as a society in totality, and our only way through it is to do just that. We either die in separation or live together, these are our options.
“The fight for racial justice is the fight against climate change, the fight for gender justice is the fight against climate change, the fight for economic justice is a fight against climate change. But we must roll them into one, ending market-based capitalism, where perpetual growth means digging our own grave, must be left behind. All these things fall under the umbrella of fighting climate change.”
I say this as there is so much to it, we will need to abandon entire cities and perhaps regions of the nation, as fire or water takes it over. Mitigating our environmental footprint, but wisely as right now many of our models don’t take into account the impact of forests – both deforestation and reforestation.
We need a massive plan and road map, one that is sprawling as it is deep, one that helps people wrap their heads around and find their part – some wise propaganda doesn’t hurt either.
The fight is so much more, it is against capitalism, where 100 companies produce 71% of the global emissions and the oligarchs that run them push back against the changes necessary, as they build bunkers. Individual consumerism will not save us, only massive, mobilized, sustained national action – this is what a centralized government is supposed to do.
The fight for racial justice is the fight against climate change, the fight for gender justice is the fight against climate change, the fight for economic justice is a fight against climate change. But we must roll them into one, ending market-based capitalism, where perpetual growth means digging our own grave, must be left behind. All these things fall under the umbrella of fighting climate change.
The logistical fight, the ideal fight is a government that mobilizes its people and private entities to re-shape who we are, through massive decarbonization, massive investment in energy efficient infrastructure, reduction of wasteful packaging and products, recycling of everything we can and where the only waste is biodegradable – taking a massive investment, massive mobilization, and shifts in the entirety of our society.
The use of our massive military logistical infrastructure can and should aid this. Not only that, but the R&D we pump into machines of death can be into machines that shift our society. That help move people, change our cities, homes, infrastructure. The shifting of the annual military budget can be to that of the people. We have all that we need, we have the technology, and resources we need to make this shift, all we are lacking is the political will.
Even many of our progressive leaders are scared to call for an end to empire, as our military machine employs workers in their district making machines of death. But these same people, and more, can be employed making machines that save our species very existence. We must speak it.
This takes mobilization and a shift in narrative, new leaders like Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez have it right, but we need to go further and realize this connection and speak it explicitly. Don’t let our elected leaders off the hook. Contact your local, state, and national elected representatives and have them not just support a Green New Deal, but call for massive and sustained mobilized action to fight for our existence.