So I tried raising #ClimateBreakdown with in-laws this holiday. Context: they are working-class, self-educated, ethics of individual responsibility, enjoying in retirement what they never had as children or adults: leisure and travel.
My in-laws basically embody this excellent thread by @FlightFree2019. They are also resentful of me (educated, uni-job parents, uni-job myself) giving any advice or lecturing. Somewhat understandable. Uneasy truce over shared love of their grandchild. 2/
So yesterday we had a quick chat during TV commercials (SO MANY OF WHICH WERE ABOUT BOOKING FLIGHT-BASED HOLIDAYS). They said that "everyone knows" about #ClimateBreakdown but no one will do anything until "millions die, here, where it matters." 3/
They agreed that millions would die first in poor countries, but their point is no one here would care about that. "Who have you been talking to? The people here will only care when they start seeing devastation themselves. Until then no one will change. We all know." 4/
They were quite aggressive & adamant about this. Strange:
1) No, not everybody is aware of apocalyptic insights of IPCC #SR15 and related reports in 2018.
2) I don't believe for a second that if everyone knew, waiting for mass death would be the universal response. 5/
but most interesting to me is 3): how little my in-laws seemed aware of the conditioning embodied in their current behaviors, opinions, lifestyles. They see themselves as fiercely independent, but they are parroting what others want them to do and say - without knowing it. 6/
Including their contempt of everyone else around them. "It's not US, it's all the others around here who won't do anything. So there is no point in us doing anything either." This contempt is itself a neoliberal creation: that we are only purely selfish, hedonistic consumers. 7/
My in-laws live very isolated lives, few friends, no deep conversations or social engagements. They get their perceptions of the outside world through the BBC news. I think three elements must come together to change their worldviews and actions. 8/
(1) evidence of the possibility of social change through community organization, activism, etc. This would have to be communicated well so it's not just ascribed to "those hippies".
(2) connecting climate science with actions clearly, to avoid sense of futility. 9/
(3) exposing, through each of these communication efforts, how these facts go against a web of neoliberal lies and conditioning: that community organizing contradicts neoliberal selfishness, that the scientific evidence contradicts economic business as usual. 10/
Maybe nothing original here, just documenting my thoughts. It's tough seeing people who purportedly love their grandson and grand-nephews/nieces hold such views and actions. The millions of deaths they see as necessary to action include these children. End/
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