We asked Alex Steffen of WorldChanging to imagine what victory in fight against climate change might look like. While there are global doubts about whatever the outcome of the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen will be—especially because the countries involved have already committed to not making any binding agreements until later in the year.it is not the last word in our collective struggle to cure our ailing planet. In this series, we will bring you up to speed on your climate change ABCs, run you through an outline of what success might look like, and then provide the questions that you.and more importantly, your city.need to answer in order to play your part in the solution.
Dreaming Constructively about Life after Climate Change
Life on a warming planet can make even optimists feel beaten. The climate news is so bad, the challenges so daunting, and the time to act growing so short that we can all be forgiven if from time to time we assume defeat is a given, that we're going to melt the poles and torch the rainforests and circle the planet in deserts, and there's just nothing we can realistically do about it. But the tougher things get, the more important it becomes to practice a radical act.
We are so deluged with climate problems that most of us tend to forget that we also have climate solutions. We face a difficult transformation, to be sure, but we also know that it is entirely within our power to rapidly reduce climate emissions, and to eventually even reduce the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, while building a bright green, sustainably prosperous global society as we go. Indeed, we can do it in a number of different ways. If the climate crisis is a war for the future, it's a war we can win.
In fact, the single toughest fight in this war is taking place in our minds. Polluting industries and planet-hostile business interests have dumped billions of dollars into bombarding us with propaganda.designed to convince us that climate change isn't real, to confuse us about its causes, to mislead us about the magnitude of the problem, to reassure us that nonexistent technologies will solve the problem without any substantial changes, and finally to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the costs of climate action.that almost all of us see building a climate-safe society as some near-impossible task. This is absolutely intentional.
We can't build what we can't imagine.
Stifling our ability to imagine a future in which we've successfully confronted the climate crisis is an excellent way to set low political expectations, to excuse delay, to disenchant the idealistic, to spread apathy and cynicism. The poet Diane Di Prima was right when she wrote "The only war that matters is the war on the imagination!"