Swimming in the midst of sharks

I “look” young for my age, apparently. I personally think I look normal. I feel old at 72. I have recently been taken to dinner by another man’s wife – “filling in” so-to-speak – where she called me a “VIP” at which he was not present. She had no explanation. It was part of NU’s Homecoming and 50th Reunion. I was invited as I filled a gap. I was an alum, unmarried, and knew my stuff on astronomy, my major. The speaker with whom we were dining is an expert on imaging and very, very famous in her own right as a research scientist.

Why was I there? I admired the speaker; what she has personally accomplished and represents. A colleague and fellow alum from my astronomy class of 1972 was also there.

I am no VIP. I have no net worth to speak of. (Just ask Bank of America where I have banked for 33 years, before which I was a Seattle First National customer. I have one credit card with a credit line of $1,000.). I am old. I am retired. I have a small pension and social security. And if they were aware of my green politics and class outlook they would have thrown me out. Still, I must witness and analyze. That is, to understand the truth, you must see and taste it no matter how sick it makes you. That is empirical science. That is practice. Perhaps that is why The Jehovah’s Witnesses are my friends. They understand witnessing that makes you sick to your stomach. They witness in both the material world and the “spiritual” world. They have been targeted by Putin in Russia and sentenced to death for practicing their religion.

I am in that fortunate and unfortunate position of being a white alum, somewhat bright, and totally opposed to fossil fuels of any sort. I do not own a car. I know the road ahead will be filled with less. We must learn to live with less. Less of everything if we as a species don’t stop and control our carbon emissions. And it requires climate justice. As Luisa Neubauer explains,

“The time of singular crises is over. It’s going to be insanely unfair as the crises amplify existing injustices. And it will be unexpected because the crises take strange forms – the pandemic was a very strange kind of crisis. The question is how not to get lost. How not to faint?”

That last phrase had seemed strange to our speaker, “How not to faint?”, Or “Against Fainting”, the title of Luisa and her grandmother’s new book.

Perhaps “Light-headed” is a different phrase meaning the same. There are two aspects. The real material aspect of having less oxygen to breath as our atmosphere becomes filled daily with more burnt carbon-oxygen compounds (CO/CO2). There is the real mental aspect of loosing a step or temporarily loosing our way. In keeping our focus.

I have lost many friends by voting Green. I have pushed others away to protect them. I have limited my contact with an hundred of friends in the Chicagoland area.

All to witness that before me, that few can. And to analyze. Without class analysis we are lost.

The sharks’ view is based on both pessimism and falsehoods

They rely on pessimism of the future to instill their message that there is no way out of using gasoline and coal power everyday. Or that in the political realm, nazis are on the rise and unstoppable. That if we are all doomed, those who can grasp the most will live longer.”

An example was the Dean’s Seminar Series in Engineering: Mark Mills – The Grand Nexus: Information, Materials, Energy

In his talk, as a former administrator for Ronald Reagan, he attempted to outlined that ‘there are no new chemical elements in the world since man first entered the picture’, an absolute falsehood. Humankind has created plutonium, for better and worse, among many human-created elements of the periodic table. This is important. Humanity has great possibilities in the realm of science.

His second false thesis was that in America we are on a never-ending spiral of increasing longevity, because of fossil fuels. We are living longer. All of us. Absolutely false, as pointed out by the CDC, American longevity has declined, because of the viral pandemic, the “pandemic of suicide and violence”, the global pollution and deteriorating climate. And particularly among the young. Youth between 0-30 years old today can expect to live only to 77 years old in America.

This is an example of the multiple-crises that Luisa spoke of, as there is no exceptionalism for America. The way forward for youth is to fight for climate justice for the World. It is fighting for climate justice you gain optimism for the World.

The third falsehood was ‘We must burn coal, to survive.’ He was a big fan of lignite.

Today, youth, students, and farmers are uniting to fight further coal producing and burning. The fight to save Lützerath village in Germany is only one such fight.