1. One more quick thread before dinner. Last night, at the Weeds town hall, a middle school teacher asked about the 9/11 anniversary and how it might be connected to climate change. I don't think I was very articulate, but here's what I intended to say.
2. To me, 9/11 is a case study: we reacted to trauma with anger, ignorance, belligerence, blood lust, and a thoroughgoing refusal to engage in any kind of introspection. We took a tragedy and magnified it a hundred-fold, into thousands, millions of tragedies.
3. It should have been a lesson in what that kind of reaction engenders. Talk to any therapist, read any book on trauma, they all agree: rage & revenge are utterly toxic. They do not bring closure, they do not bring resolution, they only extend the trauma.
4. America's rage & lust for revenge led it into a whole series of horrible decisions: endless wars against misidentified enemies, a corrupt surveillance-state apparatus, an ugly, consciously demagogic politics. We indulged our worst impulses, *encouraged by our leaders*.
5. Climate change is, above all, going to manifest as a series of traumas -- storms, heat waves, food shortages, mass migrations, etc. Over and over again, the countries of the world will be forced to decide, explicitly or implicitly, how to react to these traumas.
6. If we once again indulge our worst impulses -- building walls, excluding outsiders, hoarding resources, hypnotizing ourselves with comfortable myths, drawing in our circles of concern -- we will spiral into the shit, like after 9/11, but globally, and irreversibly.
7. That's what 9/11 can tell us about climate change: it is What Not To Do. If we do that, if we react to climate traumas like that, we are all of us irredeemably fucked. Our only hope is to react to trauma with grace, compassion, & solidarity.
8. That's what I would like to tell the middle schoolers of the world: you are going to be tested, again & again. Don't be like your parents. Don't be small; don't retreat behind tribal walls; don't wallow in rage & self-righteousness. Be better. You have to be, or we're all f'd.
9. Climate change will only be overcome if humanity learns to amplify its better instincts & work together for mutual benefit. 9/11 stands as a painful example of what can happen if it goes the other way. It's a choice you'll be forced to make again & again, so be prepared.
10. It's a lot to ask of kids, and, if I'm being honest, quite a long shot, but that's where we are. </fin>
Here's how Trump and the people he represents think about 9/11: blood & vengeance. Forever War against the Other. They'll think about climate disasters the same way eventually.
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