As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying. Excerpts from a controversial new book to be released 2010-2011. Article one in a series, we discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors.
“The good intentions of participants of 350.org aside, requesting world leaders to reduce carbon emissions is unfortunately not going to work. Bill McKibben asserts that world leaders will listen “if we’re loud enough,” but that’s simply untrue. If we stick with symbolic action, the destruction will become progressively worse, and we will continuously lose ground and be reduced to begging for mercy that will never be granted. Those in power (and their political representatives) will only stop destroying the planet if they are forced to do so. The immediate threat of social disorder and economic disruption will make them listen. An immediate and serious threat to their wealth and well-being will make them listen.” - Stephanie McMillan, Code Green
All big greens and little greens alike are
promoting the latest climate change campaign, 10:10:10, on the front page of every website and in every email. Two of the main promoters of 350.org’s 10:10:10 ‘Global Work Party’ are none other than corporate darling TckTckTck and, of course, Greenpeace International. Making the intimate link between the two, Kumi Naidoo is the Executive Director of the organization and chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the group behind TckTckTck.
The escalating climate crisis - scientists now refer to it as the ‘6th extinction’ - has now been transformed to a party.
10:10:10 states, “A strong and vibrant climate movement will create the political space for our champions to lead; take-on the big polluters and bought-off politicians who are blocking progress; and help us implement innovative climate solutions from the ground up.” Completely ignoring the intent of their own rhetoric, some of the top ideas on the 10:10:10 website for the party are: organize a tree planting, work on a community garden or an organic farm, go for a bike ride, or do a trash cleanup. Once again, the emphasis of this latest symbolic big green campaign avoids the root causes of climate change; the current state of accelerating climate change according to the latest science; the false solutions being sold as just goods; and a stark, deafening silence on the People’s Agreement constructed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 2010. (It is important to note here that this is the only agreement to date that has the potential to save humanity from suicidal extinction. This last, despite 350.org’s presence in Cochabamba, with its own representatives positioned as ‘presidents’ of several working groups.)
The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that all nations and all non-government organizations (NGOs) formally acknowledge the world is far beyond dangerous interference with the climate system. Why not? Leading scientist John Holdren has been explaining this since 2006. Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that nations and NGOs declare a global climate state of emergency. Why not? NASA climate scientist James Hansen has appealed for such a declaration since 2008. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that civil society must be the organ to make this declaration – yet those who claim to represent civil society -- as 350.org often does -- spew rhetoric instead of reality.
The greatest danger to survival of life lies within combined Arctic feedback cycles, all of which are now operational. None of the climate models used by IPCC include any of the Arctic feedbacks below. This makes all projections of potential increase in global temperature, as well as any contrived limits on human emissions, dangerously misleading.
Arctic sea ice volume has reached the lowest level ever recorded, prompting the director of the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Mark Serreze, to state, "The Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It's not going to recover...I hate to say it but I think we are committed to a four- to sixdegree warmer Arctic.”
Methane release from melting permafrost is the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the carbon cycle. Earlier this year we were witness to a science stunner. Scientists found that the vast Siberian Arctic shelf methane stores are now destabilizing and venting. National Science Foundation issued our world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”
Scientists have discovered that the seas are acidifying ten times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. The increasing acidity reduces the amounts of calcium carbonate available to plankton and other species which require it to form shells and skeletons. Studies show phytoplankton have died off more than 40% since 1950 and continue to do so at an accelerating rate. “This is an almost unprecedented geological event,” states Andy Ridgwell, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol.
Making matters significantly worse for humanity, food security manifests itself as a second state of emergency intimately connected with climate.
The worst ever environmental and health catastrophe is now inevitable, and we must render a comprehensive global emergency response. Nations and NGOs who refuse to acknowledge destructive climate interference and the inherent state of global climate emergency are, in effect, supporting and perpetuating the status quo: a general state of denial of, and inaction toward, the worst crime ever committed against humanity.
In the presence of fact and a recognizable path to global extinction, the only target that now matters is zero carbon. To save humanity, fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Every other target, without distinction, leads to irreversible climate catastrophe.
Yet we are told to throw a global day of action for 24 hours each year (this year, 10:10:10), no matter the challenges science purports and reality verifies. And somehow this party will grow into a new movement to take on these challenges, and this reality that no one discusses.
Symbolism must be an omnipotent force. “Get to Work” - 350.org
“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe – Nigerian Writer
For too long, the environmental movement - led by the big greens - has locked the climate movement into a two-pronged strategy comprised of lobbying partisan, corrupt politicians, and climbing into bed with any - and nearly every - corporate power, in the pursuit of symbolic victories, the ecstasy of the illusion of power, and to integrate the DC cocktail circuit. Even in this, the movement has failed. After the largest oil spill in history earlier this year, the movement and its most powerful leaders did not call for a ban on all offshore drilling; instead, they urged citizens to demand a temporary moratorium on new offshore drilling. Having no ability in the art of negotiation, and displaying an approach that was sophomoric, at best, they failed to properly secure the half-solution they sought, and the loopholes continue the cataclysmic trends that existed before the Deepwater Horizon entered our consciousness. Epic fail.
Nearly two decades after the first climate convention in Rio, global emissions are up over 40% and planetary boundaries are being crossed. We now stand on the cusp of humanity’s most dangerous moment. For those two decades the big greens have been flirting and sleeping with the enemy, and no matter their willingness are still shamed come morning, because the BPs of the world are welcome to plant their decadent seed in any of the big greens, and the governments around the globe besides, without any recourse.
What more evidence do we need to see in order to accept that backroom lobbying and symbolic campaigning has not worked and will not work?
“The best we can get.”
Big greens can’t yet comprehend the concept of morning remorse. It takes a spine to accept the guilt. Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. We have already stated that, from the perspective of reality. Let us say it again. Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Nature won’t be giving us a pat on the back or boost our resumes for what we deem politically feasible, and the physics of nature is not about to come to the table for negotiations on entropy. Better is not better when better still means dead. Massive climate emergency movements in every country are the only forces with the potential to drive politicians toward effective action against greenhouse gas emissions. That is the only way to win time for our Earth - and ourselves.
“It is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.” - Keith Farnish, the Unsuitablog
Thus, we find ourselves in yet another bizarre situation and ready to party on 10:10:10 with international climate change organization TckTckTck; with Greenpeace; with 350.org; with World Wildlife Federation (WWF); with more than 350 other dance partners; and, not without significance, with Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth largest advertising company, and creator of the TckTckTck campaign. Havas clients include Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, BP and several other multinational conglomerates who indiscriminately rape and pillage our Earth, while exploiting the most vulnerable communities, cultures, and societies around the globe, in exchange for nothing more than financial profits and cash windfalls, seeking infinite gains on a finite planet.
When we fight multinationals, we call them corporate criminals. When we take their money, we call them partners.
The climate change movement is said to oppose oil giants controlled by Rockefeller and friends. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller and friends generously fund progressive environmentalists with the purpose being to ultimately oversee and influence various and significant activities. Recall the fairytale in which the witch decorates her home as a gingerbread house in order to entice the children inside and ultimately cook them to kibble in a pot of boiling water. We are those children – and we are being manipulated to admire the grand illusion of democracy set before us as we march as one towards our own demise.
Not so bad, says 10:10:10 and friends. We can throw a party along the way, and the conscientious among us can pre-order caskets made of green, sustainable bamboo manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop.
Last year, on 350.org’s Global Day of Action (October 24, 2009), TckTckTck was shiny, new and present. In Canada, on Parliament Hill, between 1,000 and 2,000 people assembled throughout the morning and afternoon. The crowd received instructions to move apart, and individuals were then told reach their hands to the sky and pretend they were clocks. Next, they were told to chant “TckTckTck!” while rotating arms in analog fashion. TckTckTck ... TckTckTck … faster! Faster! It is no stretch of the imagination to envision Havas and their corporate CEO friends - friends who push for more nuclear power, more genetic engineering, more cloning, more water privatization, more growth, more consumption - sitting back and laughing their asses off at those of us at Parliament Hill and all around the globe that day, people-clocks chanting their corporate branded slogan TckTckTck as the world burned.
Big greens want us to believe that we will fall into a pit of despair once we accept the situation as dire and will become immobilized. Is this true? No. In fact, history demonstrates time and time again that when faced with cataclysmic emergencies, people and communities pull together. Facing disaster, citizens of nations have shown they can unite for the common good. Sure, when we face the facts that now exist, despair is only human. The question is whether acknowledging our circumstances will immobilize us or give us the truth we need to face a daunting task. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche distinguished between what he called the “pessimism of strength” and the “pessimism of weakness”. “Pessimism of weakness” means succumbing to apathy in the face of overwhelming odds. “Pessimism of strength” means facing up to the facts, acknowledging the danger fully, and making a decision about how best to act. In other words, fear is good, and these parameters define our sense of responsibility.
Big greens are certainly aware that we are now in a death-spiral brought about by the capitalist, consumptive, and corporate domination of society. Yet they actively choose to remain muzzled on the subject. Power structures in place today do not act, and never will act, to stop climate change, because the changes so desperately needed by those most vulnerable on the planet are in direct conflict to the needs and rapacious desires of capital. Capital has no empathy. Capital has no children to love and protect. Capital has only one imperative, and that is to grow. Under the current economic system, the penultimate measure of success is profit. Corporations exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature. They cannot behave otherwise. Spewing greenhouse gases, toxins, and chemicals into the environment is a fundamental feature of capitalism employed by modern corporations and governments, and accounts for most of the pollutants directed into our air, water, and earth. Waste, pollution, and ecological destruction are built into the system.
“Nemesis was the Greek goddess of retribution. She exacted divine punishment on arrogant mortals who believed they could defy the gods, turn themselves into objects of worship and build ruthless systems of power to control the world around them. The price of such hubris was almost always death. Nemesis, related to the Greek word némein, means “to give what is due.” Our nemesis fast approaches. We will get what we are due. The staggering myopia of our corrupt political and economic elite, which plunder the nation’s wealth for financial speculation and endless war, the mass retreat of citizens into virtual hallucinations, the collapsing edifices around us, which include the ecosystem that sustains life, are ignored for a giddy self-worship.” - September 27th, 2010. Chris Hedges, TruthDig.
Are we ready for such reflection? Is it past time to start talking about the core issues, the root causes of climate change? Is it past time to start questioning why those who claim to speak for civil society refuse to discuss these very issues?
The most provocative tool for comprehending abject behavior we have learned as climate justice activists is this: when issues are not being tackled by directly addressing the root of the problem, one must ask why.
To answer this question, this “why”, we have discovered there is one tactic which uncovers more information than any other single tactic.
It is this:
Follow the money.
This 350.org project, 10:10:10, in whole or in part, is funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), an entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and others, including ‘1% for the Planet’ (slogan: “Keep Earth in Business”). On July 21, 2010, GGF announced a partnership with 350.org: “Greengrants is excited to launch a new initiative of the Greengrants Climate Fund: the 350 Project Fund. Led by 350.org, the campaign to build a global movement for climate solutions, this initiative builds momentum and funds for climate solutions worldwide.” Who is Global Greengrants? GGF states: “Our advisers and partners are currently focusing on REDD and REDD+ efforts around climate mitigation. REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forest) Degradation’. It is one of the areas of discussion at COP15 where some believe the most positive movement was made.”
In fact, REDD is one of the most contentious false solutions being fought by Indigenous peoples and grassroots climate activists all over the world. GGF has announced that through the establishment of their new pro-REDD ‘Climate Fund’, they were, and remain, involved in sponsoring delegates to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences such as COP15. This has proven to be a very successful formula for ensuring that anti-REDD Indigenous voices have been silenced from international conferences and climate talks, conveying to the general public the falsehood that REDD has been embraced far and wide. Those with no financial means to attend COP quite effectively have their mouths gagged and therefore become invisible on the global stage.
Those who agree with false solutions continue to be funded. Those who do not are replaced. From the Rockefeller site:
RBF grantee Sustainable Markets Foundation's 350.org launched its new web site, gearing up for "10/10/ 10, the Global Work Party" on October 10, 2010. Organizers are encouraging individuals worldwide to do something to combat global warming in their communities. More than a thousand groups in over 100 countries already have registered their events with 350.org, which include a bicycle repair day in New Zealand, planting thousands of trees in Uganda, and installing solar stoves for a carbon-neutral picnic in Bolivia.
These are all nice events, and are likely being organized by well-intentioned individuals. Unfortunately, none of them - or any semblance of them - will save us from catastrophic climate change.
Has the climate crisis (d)evolved into a mere Earth Day event to be held on an annual basis - a festive party to be celebrated? The symbolic Earth Hour, organized by industrial nonprofit complex World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), is now held each spring. 350.org a.k.a. Sustainable Markets Foundation a.k.a. 350.org Project a.k.a. 10:10:10 now claims a global climate party in the fall. Perhaps if we participate in Earth Hour or the Global Day of Action (or both!), and recycle our cans, bottles, and paper products at home, we can all feel we did our part until next year.
The Rockefellers certainly would like us to think so.
The Rockefeller family – think big oil (as big as oil gets) – is another primary funder of 350.org (Sustainable Markets Foundation). The Rockefellers, with other members of the plutocracy such as the Clinton family, were also instrumental in the creation of 1Sky, sister of 350.org. An organization which pushes false solutions and grossly inadequate climate legislation under the guise of ‘grassroots’ democracy, 1Sky is a prime example of an NGO created for the power elite. It operates as a think tank where past, present, and future policy analysts, high-ranking government officials, business leaders and CEOs, intellectuals, journalists, and conservative activists come together to develop political vision and strategy. Many well-intentioned, well-respected individuals are manipulated into lending their involvement to such institutes, which in turn lends credibility to 1Sky, 350.org, and their ilk when they deserve none. We would like to name every foundation and corporate entity that funds 350.org and 10:10:10, and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive to implement the tactics of manipulation put forth by their corporate partners, but they choose not to respond to our requests for information. Likewise, they refuse to share the information on their websites, or in any other public forum.
Why it Matters
“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair
Whether directly or indirectly, industry and industry-linked foundations steer environmental organizations away from grassroots movements and create an elite-structured caviar class of environmentalists financially motivated to pursue 'business as usual' solutions. Today there is a deafening silence as well as cries for censorship on this critical topic, even within the climate justice movement itself. Silence kills and silence is complicity in the escalating climate disruption, climate emergency and climate genocide that is predicted to kill billions this century. Earth and paleoclimate scientist, Dr. Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University states that “informed people are now staring into the abyss”. Pablo Eisenberg at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute has stated, “although we know that our socioeconomic, ecological, and political problems are interrelated, a growing portion of our nonprofit world nevertheless continues to operate in a way that fails to reflect this complexity and connectedness.” This unwillingness to confront the broader issues of climate change such as militarism, livestock, and the capitalistic practices inherent in the current corporatocracy, is at the heart of the crisis of the climate change movement. Behind closed doors, the organizations manipulating and exploiting 10:10:10 know and understand the dilemma created by their infatuation with the corporate power structure. Yet the big greens refuse to advance these fundamental issues. And to be fair, they can’t. For if they were to be effective, in a meaningful way that actually started a paradigm shift, they would quickly be cut off from their generous ‘partners’. These groups have become barriers to the movement. They no longer represent civil society, but stand as walls to protect the system. They utilize the coercive tactic of inviting supposed leaders of civil society into sanitized circles of power, and simultaneously repress the rank and file climate movement.
Why are the big greens and compromised NGOs spewing out meaningless targets for legislation which do nothing more than ensure a death sentence for humanity? It is because they have become corporations themselves. They are, in essence, subsidiaries of the very corporations that they claim to oppose. There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent itself is generously funded by those same corporate interests who must be targets of the protest movement.
Reading between the Lies
We must start turning off the faucets of the propaganda machine. Information flows from dominate forces that keep our society passive, dumbed down and stupefied. Humans display a universal propensity to deny uncomfortable realities—we actively repress intelligence and reason. Big Greens now employ marketing strategists to poll the public in order to ensure any messaging is palatable before campaigns and campaign messages are rolled out. This ensures the sad fact that the mainstream movement no longer leads, but rather capitulates to the status quo. The movement is now being shaped by marketing executives rather than activists. Big greens simply tell the public what they (the big greens) calculate the public wants to hear while at the same time protecting the system upon which they (the big greens) feast. Unfortunately, for ourselves and for our children, such denialism will ensure humanity’s certain famine - and ultimate demise.
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” - Gustave Le Bon 1895. “For us to maintain our way of living, we must… tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves… the lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers… are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities” - Derrick Jensen 2000.
Now we have three partners slithering out of the rot of the decayed carcass that was the climate change movement: 350.org, Greenpeace, and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have joined hands to sing a new version of Kumbayah with the grand illusion of waking the dead, and anyone can join the circle of song - provided we adhere to their guidelines. God forbid we challenge the system for what it is - a rapacious beast devouring humanity in the name of capitalism. Doing that doesn’t provide the win-win type of ‘solution’ these groups and their funders demand. Don’t begin to consider surprise actions that challenge corporate elites and the political structure directly. Don’t be provocative. Don’t plan for the potential need for self-defense. Don’t disturb dinner plans. Don’t miss yoga class.
Follow the lead of Bill McKibben (350.org), Phil Radford (Greenpeace USA), and Becky Tarbotton (RAN) and put three additional nails into the coffin of humanity. The Earth is beyond reacting to the tactics employed by those controlled by corporations, shared by tweets, and defined by actions that happen on a Saturday afternoon and end just in time for the next episode of Law and Order.
Aggressive action is required.
Mario Savio and Peter Camejo knew this. In the 1960’s they galvanized the souls of Berkeley into a force that would not be denied, and would not be repressed.
Those of us in the climate fight must not be denied, and we must not be repressed.
“Who raises money to protect rainforests yet greenwashes their first time logging? Who celebrates their 25th anniversary twice? Who has no scientists yet sets policy it refuses to defend? Rainforest Action Network @RAN of course.” - Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Climate reality dictates that there are no solutions within our cushy envelopes of political negotiation. We no longer have the luxury of playing nice and limiting sacrifice. There is no reason for our favorite big environmental groups to sit down with industry and hammer out a compromise; the Earth is already screaming at us that half-measures won’t work. There is no reason to believe that if we change a bunch of light bulbs or recycle all those plastic bottles or rock our Prius on the way to a Global Work Party we are part of the solution. We aren’t. We must strive for what defeatists and their enablers deem impossible. The science dictates a systemic upheaval that will shock us all, and we can choose to endure, or choose to die.
The alarms are sounding. All 5 of them. And we ask you this: if your neighbor’s house is burning, and you called 911 twenty minutes ago, and there has been no response, what would you do? Would you fill a bucket from your sink, toss the water on the blaze, pat yourself on the back, and conclude you’ve done your part? Would you throw a party next to the blaze with other neighbors, cheering the fact that they also brought their buckets of water? Or would you realize the structure, as it once stood, is now lost, and it is time to rebuild a better one, perhaps resistant to flame?
None of the placating, enabling, corrupt entities herein is prepared to tell you the truth. Most of them recognize it, as they have seen the same science we have. They understand the deadly consequences of ocean acidification, plankton kills, methane releases, ice shelf deterioration, and temperature extremes; yet their agenda, cozy as it sounds through rhetoric and repetition, does nothing to curtail this reality: the truth will hurt.
We have no time to argue over strategy and tactics. We have limited time (and only the planet really knows what hour it is) to implement massive, global changes. And we have a system in place that will refuse and refute every critical mode for the required paradigm shift part and parcel. That leaves little choice for those of us alive today.
The carbon economy must end. An optimist should say we have until 2020 to accomplish that. By every means necessary we must bring it to an end. We believe that requires an absolute refusal on the part of us, the masses, to continue to participate in it.
Pick a date, and after? Don’t participate.
Attend the Global Work Party. And when you realize the effort is going nowhere, let that uncomfortable reality demonstrate that we should attend a Global Work Shutdown.
The truth is not, and will not be, televised. We must collectively recognize that the solution set we must enact is far more complex than any one of us currently believes, or can rightly handle within the constructs of current society. Tactics that generate financial upheaval, such as refusal to pay debts to banking institutions, must be employed. Corporations must be exorcised through aggressive carbon taxation in the short-term, and severed from the subsidizing bonds to governments of the people. Criminal prosecutions against complicit individuals, corporations, and countries must take place. The car must die. Corporate media and irrelevant distraction must be abandoned. The insatiable, commodified narcissism poisoning our culture must fade. As it does, an new age of creativity and imagination must reawaken with fervor, re-energizing both the spirit and the means of our global community.
Wake up. Tear down. Rise Up.
“Humans claim to be uniquely capable of logical thought, forward planning and moral judgment. None of these unique capabilities are evident in the mainstream international dialogue on responses to climate change. The time has come to rise above primitive tribal instincts and exercise our full human capacities in confronting climate change. The time has come to act with intelligence, foresight and compassion for the mutual benefit of all.” - William Rees, originator of the “ecological footprint” concept and codeveloper of the method.