In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Picketing the ZeitgeistXR
  • Harold Jaffe (bio)

Stands for EXTINCTION REBELLION.

We are in the midst of a climate and ecological breakdown

Our world is in crisis and life itself is under threat Now is not the time to ignore the issues

Now is the time to act as if the truth is real

The science is clear

We are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making

Our governments are not doing nearly enough to protect their citizens, our resources, our biodiversity, our planet, our future

XR

Have you noticed? Our mad maddening world has gotten crazier. Both institutional and institutionally sanctioned cruelty, violence, and a cynicism bordering on nihilism have become as contagious as the Delta variant and are now largely accepted as yet another illustration of the “new normal.”

An estimated 35 million refugees uprooted from wars not of their making circle the globe or settle in unwelcome countries where they — mostly brown or black Muslims — try to stay alive without knowing the language, with little or no paying employment and no mosques in which to worship. When do we hear anything about these suffering humans?

When do we hear a word from these suffering humans?

Naomi Klein: This unspeakable separation of humans from their culture amounts to ranking the relative value of humans, writing off entire nations and ancient cultures.

My contention is that the genesis of the mania affecting global culture is Terminus (capital T). Mother Earth is in its death throes and even the millions of humans who refuse to acknowledge it often act as if they do acknowledge it — if not consciously. The image of an Apocalypse without God, with no future for their children and grandchildren — even for themselves because of how rapidly the climate crisis is metastasizing — seems impossible to accept.

One obvious impediment is that the crisis, evidenced in multiple ways on a daily basis, registers for shortsighted people, perhaps especially Americans, only when the crisis touches them directly, unequivocally, in their backyard, when their reflex response of “Just weather being weather” suddenly does not allay their anxieties.

Life on earth is expiring and world governments know it. But there are hindrances. Poor overpopulated countries have implemented triage systems (at least in theory). First, the beleaguered country must address interior problems: drought, hunger, housing, factional strife, crime, etc. In fact, several of these “hindrances” are caused or exacerbated by the climate crisis, but for a country’s leadership to veer in that direction and attempt to negotiate with profit-first fossil fuel industries, automobile manufacturers, defense contractors, would be suicidal.

Unless other leaders respond the same way collectively.

Put baldly, the question now is can we change course radically and rapidly to contain the damage and preserve a halfway livable planet? The European Union for example recognizes the imminent threat but temporizes, evidently more nervous about the shakeup of leadership and ensuing chaos than the catastrophe itself, and in some instances thinking, or making themselves think, that either it is too late to act, or there is still time. Other world leaders are too cynical or nearsighted to pay close attention to anything but power mongering.

XR: The climate and biodiversity crisis demands urgent and drastic action to decarbonize the economy as quickly as possible We don’t know if we will succeed but we can no longer stand by and act as if the future doesn’t matter World leaders have failed to adequately confront the emergency and polite lobbying, marching, voting, consumer- and shareholder-activism have all failed to achieve meaningful change

Where then do writers and artists come in? Picasso was not a social activist, but when he responded passionately to the fascist bombing of Guernica, a Basque town in northern Spain, in 1937, it caught the world’s attention. Predictably, it was not just the atrocity of the bombing, it was Picasso, and most interested people turned their attention to the formal qualities of “Guernica” rather than to the fact that a powerless small city was bombed by Franco with the backing of Hitler and Mussolini.

XR:Our aim is to make these most urgent issues of our time unignorable to decision makers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-4578
Print ISSN
0149-9408
Pages
pp. 35-36
Launched on MUSE
2021-11-08
Open Access
No
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