Guardian: The Florida Building Collapse was a George Floyd Climate Action Turning Point

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Guardian, all the bad things which happened last year should convince society to embrace carbon taxes and renewable energy.

Our climate change turning point is right here, right now

Rebecca Solnit
Mon 12 Jul 2021 22.31 AEST

People are dying. Aquatic animals are baking in their shells. Fruit is being cooked on the tree. It’s time to act

Human beings crave clarity, immediacy, landmark events. We seek turning points, because our minds are good at recognizing the specific – this time, this place, this sudden event, this tangible change. This is why we were never very good, most of us, at comprehending climate change in the first place. The climate was an overarching, underlying condition of our lives and planet, and the change was incremental and intricate and hard to recognize if you weren’t keeping track of this species or that temperature record. Climate catastrophe is a slow shattering of the stable patterns that governed the weather, the seasons, the species and migrations, all the beautifully orchestrated systems of the holocene era we exited when we manufactured the anthropocene through a couple of centuries of increasingly wanton greenhouse gas emissions and forest destruction.

A building collapsing is an ideal specimen of news, sudden and specific in time and place, and in the case of this one on the Florida coast, easy for the media to cover as a spectacle with straightforward causes and consequences. A crisis spread across three states and two Canadian provinces, with many kinds of impact, including untallied deaths, was in many ways its antithesis. There was a case to be made that climate change – in the form of rising saltwater intrusion – was a factor in the Florida building’s collapse, but climate change was far more dramatically present in the Pacific Northwest’s heat records being broken day after day and the consequences of that heat. In Canada the previous highest temperature was broken by eight degrees Fahrenheit, a big lurch into the dangerous new conditions human beings have made, and then most of the town in which that record was set burned down.

A turning point is often something you individually or collectively choose, when you find the status quo unacceptable, when you turn yourself and your goals around. George Floyd’s murder was a turning point for racial justice in the US. Those who have been paying attention, those with expertise or imagination, found their turning points for the climate crisis years and decades back. For some it was Hurricane Sandy or their own home burning down or the permafrost of the far north turning to mush or the IPCC report in 2018 saying we had a decade to do what the planet needs of us. Greta Thunberg had her turning point, and so did the indigenous women leading the Line 3 pipeline protests.

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In my opinion this is an example of what happens to people who only talk to those who reinforce their fears.

I’ll never forget a time many years ago, when someone invited me to a meeting which turned out to be a small group of student trotskyites. They kept saying “The people are with us”.

So I asked “Which people?”.

All I got was blank stares. Nobody had actually thought to check with ordinary people outside their little cabal, to see if normal people felt any connection with the radical ideas the group was discussing.

I was not invited to the next meeting.

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via Watts Up With That?

July 14, 2021 at 12:18AM

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