A Revolutionary Moment

A thought provoking piece:

> World War One, we are told, began with the shooting of an Archduke. Within four years, eight million men were dead. It was a clash of empires, fought over coalfields and colonies, there was no good side, despite what the chaplains on both sides said. The men and boys from a hundred thousand villages were poured into the grinder because they were available, the surplus harvest of empire.
The Second World War arose from the injustice of the first. Poverty and shame drove people to Fascism. This time the whole planet was a battlefield. 40 million died.
The Cold War that followed hung in the balance through thirty years of nuclear threat, which we carefully and gradually stepped back from. We are learning.
The Third World War will not be fought with guns. It’s the battle for the earth, not its ownership this time, but its existence. Who would have thought that of all the shortages our profligate living would lead to, it would be the very coolness and calmness of our planet’s skies.

the storm
Today unprecedented storms, droughts, fires, floods and famines, have begun to stalk the earth. Both the Russian, and American wheat crops have failed in two consecutive years. (The Arab Spring was driven not by democracy but by hunger – food prices worldwide have doubled, and the poor are the ones who take the brunt). Farmers are right now walking off West Australian wheat farms through endless drought. There is a single cause to all of this; atmospheric carbon is now higher than for millions of years. We have passed the safe point of 350 ppm, at which temperature growth can be contained, and are headed for 400 and beyond – there isn’t an upper limit. The result is that the radiative cooling power of the atmosphere is being lost.
It’s called “greenhouse” for a reason. Shut the doors on a greenhouse, let it broil in the sun, and you will know what that means.
Every season brings its dangers now; the TV news is like a disaster movie. And fortunately, finally, people are starting to wake up.

A conflict of massive proportions has already begun. Fossil fuel industries are the most powerful industries in the world, and they aren’t going to be stopped by legislation or negotiation, at least, not in time. So we need a new, different kind of war.
The Third World War will be fought not with guns, but with people putting their finances, their energies, their arguments, their boycotts, and probably their bodies in the way of the coal trains and ships and the mines that feed them. It will be a war of the little against the big. Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Food, and Big Media. All have grown fat while we fed at their table. Not realizing the cost of our holidays in Bali, our kid’s school trips to Paris, our commutes to football matches interstate or jobs two thousand miles from home. Our tank-like cars and air-conditioned McMansions broiling in the sun. Our agriculture that is nothing more than oil turned into fertilizer turned into food.
Its such a revolutionary moment. Everything that anyone cares about – animals, wilderness, farming, refugees, peace, safety, freedom from terrorism, health, culture, heritage, but most of all – our children’s and their children’s ability to eat, breathe, support themselves, and not die in chaos, depends on this one single cause.

If you are reading this and aged under forty, you may see billions of needless deaths in your lifetime, including perhaps your own. Because of the inescapable reality of this, almost beyond our cognitive powers to absorb, we have to stop the carbon madness.
There has to be a transition, considered, phased, and rational, but above all planetary and radically fast. We have to execute a 180 degree turn in how we run the world’s machine.
My generation has seen and created change. We’ve stopped wars, we’ve faced down corporations and won. We’ve gotten rid of bad politicians and consigned the two party duopoly to the garbage bin of history. Like many of my activist friends I am old, and feel the freedom of not overly caring about my own comfort. Future generations becomes more and more the center of our concerns.

I believe that nonviolence is essential, that gentle means must always be used first, and second and third. But gentle means can also be powerful, and absolute. We would not stand by and let murder happen without stepping in. That’s exactly what is happening when coal ships sail from our shores on their journey to creating famine, fire and flood. I don’t know what to do. But I am starting to ask around.
The Third World War will be for the earth, and I know whose side I am on.
World War 3 is Nigh
Or has it already begun? <

Re-blogged with permission from Adbusters May 28, 2013 ‘World War 3 is Nigh’ by Steve Biddulph, Adjunct Professor of Counselling at Cairnmillar Institute, Melbourne, Australia and author of Raising Girls, Raising Boys, and The New Manhood, among others. He lives in the Tamar Valley. This is an excerpt from his article in the Tasmanian Times.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Taylor
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 17:16:12

    wow Mom that’s amazing. You captured the essence of my post apocalyptic world view perfectly. Guess I know what side it comes from now.


    • grammomsblog
      Aug 21, 2013 @ 17:27:00

      Yes, that’s my boy! However, I might have captured the essence but I re-blogged it from someone else: Adbusters May 28, 2013 ‘World War 3 is Nigh’ by Steve Biddulph


  2. Taylor
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 17:33:06

    Yes, i saw that, but you captured it nonetheless. I never would have read that if you hadn’t.


  3. Wild_E
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 20:07:19

    I like this as well and will Reblog this too!
    Thank you for being so thoughtful and insightful !


  4. Trackback: A Revolutionary Moment rebloged | Wilderness Return
  5. Fred Schueler
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 21:04:37


    Reasoning from first principles bought the Hemlock,
    All men are brothers hung upon the cross,
    Grave Malthus prophesied,
    And Father Darwin scanned the tangled bank.
    And yet it moves — No Concord jail
    Can hold the forests’ slashed succession or the loss
    From grim satanic mills,
    And coal and guns and butter all go blank.

    Deny it, Slashers — all of it was true.
    Your acid smoke is drifting low
    The bodies of the trees you killed
    have melted ice to flood your bedroom suites.
    You cannot kill forever and take money for the dead —
    For soil and for Auks, for Pigeons and for Buffalo.
    The World is real and finite —
    but still your bloated economics grows and cheats.

    Able to think, perhaps, as well as we,
    You turned our Science to your selfish gains
    Muskrats without predators, you ate the World’s sweet marsh
    and ran more madly as you stripped it —
    Slave ships and black lung mines, Valdez and Stalingrad —
    All summed into the greenhouse panes.
    Thinking like men, you lived like Rotifers,
    Small swirling heads filtering the Earth for money profit.

    But now the World has warmed, the ozone thinned,
    The sky has summarized your lives.
    Your never-make-a-difference has come false.
    So let us, wimps and dreamers, undo Earth’s disrepair,
    Bind up your wounds with peat and flowers,
    Sequester carbon as the forest thrives,
    Living wood and leaf scour the skies,
    And orchids bloom where seething Sphagnum purifies the air.

    FWS, Tlell, Haida Gwaii, April & May 1989

    Schueler, Frederick W. 1991. Evidence suggests that production of carbon dioxide and methane from human activities has already begun to change the climate, and that radical steps must be taken to halt any further change. Sea Wind 5(1):4.


  6. fred schueler
    Dec 24, 2013 @ 17:39:12

    Reasoning from first principles bought the Hemlock – Socrates
    All men are brothers hung upon the cross – Jesus
    And Father Darwin scanned the tangled bank – last page of the Origin
    And yet it moves – Galileo after nominally recanting – “Eppur si muove”
    No Concord jail — Thoreau to Emerson “Why are you out there, Waldo?”{
    From grim satanic mills – Blake’s “And did those feet in ancient time”
    And coal and guns and butter all go blank.- coal – fossil fuel, guns – war, butter – consumerism

    have melted ice to flood your bedroom suites. – a suite at a lodge in Queen Charlotte City, near where we were living at the time, that wasn’t very far above sea level

    Muskrats without predators – the book Muskrat populations – by Paul Lester Errington

    Bind up your wounds with peat and flowers – establishing and spreading peatlands and wetland soils is the most neglected way of sequestering carbon, especially important as permafrost thaws.


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