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After chatting about climate w putatively progressive parents at 3 different kids' birthday parties this weekend 😐, I will report anecdotally that even folks who think they accept the science sometimes don't want to take action on climate change.

Why not?

2 reasons:

First, it seems to me, they have no faith that collective action--people rising up en masse and using techniques like civil disobedience, general strikes, public critique, "consumer voting," etc--will do anything to influence government policy.

They seem completely convinced that the political process is so corrupted by money--and that "power" in general is so unimpeachable (thank you, Foucault)--that Democracy is essentially a sham that allows the rich to run the world as they wish.

Lots to say about this, but suffice it to point out here that the idea that government doesn't respond to democratic pressure is not a historical truth, but a symptom of the neoliberal ideology that claims the government has no role in public life.

(No role in public life, that is, but to secure global markets for capital and socialize the costs of financial speculation, ahem.)

But this ennui, as it were, about democracy is *worse*, I think, among upper-middle-class progressives than it is among any other American class. I'm not sure why yet (although I do know the academy has helped foment this attitude).

It's not like the rich are not working overtime to secure the services of the American government. That's, like, 85% of the Koch brothers' political program!

(The other 15% being, of course, messaging to the general public.)

So educated progressives have been disenfranchised by the ideology that manipulates them into giving away their democratic power.

But there's another reason these parents seem not to want to take action on climate change: they don't want to stop flying. I'm not joking.

Over and over again, the parents I talked to this weekend, after I explained that to hold warming at 1.5 C we needed to be net carbon neutral by 2050, immediately worried that this carbon budget meant they would need to stop flying in their lifetimes.

Even when I hedged (because despite how I bang on here, I agree it's more effective to soft-pedal the flying issue with "civilians"), they would fixate on not flying as a hard limit beyond which they wouldn't sacrifice.

I would agree that not flying is awful; I would suggest just *reducing* flights instead of going cold turkey; I would reassure them that there was plenty of decarbonization to be done before we would need to dismantle the aviation industry. Nada. They couldn't get past it.

So then, throwing social niceties to the winds, I would talk about what our kids will face in their lifetimes if we don't transition to a safe energy system asap. (These are parents who are *extremely* invested in their kids.) But that didn't really work either, because...


It's like, they trusted me, but they hadn't really confronted that information before, so what I was saying didn't *resonate* w what they knew.

(Incidentally, this is why I'm super excited for @dwallacewells's new book to come out. He's going to say brilliantly how bad it'll get and how soon.)

Cuz people need to hear this!! Over and over!! From lots of trusted sources!!

So, yeah: #EndClimateSilence

Because it's easy to be cynical when the hell that fossil fuel use will create affects only some future (who, hey! might blow up with the sun anyway).

But it's less easy to be a Foucauldian or pseudo-Buddhist if it's *your* child you're resigning to the flames.

So, in sum: the work of critique now should no longer be to expose the oppressive essentialisms of identity, but to dismantle the political ideologies that disenfranchise us. Right @BrunoLatourAIME?

And the work of climate advocacy, IMHO, is to be honest about the horrifying possibilities and their timeline, along with whatever other moves you need to make for your message to be effective rhetorically.

(Journalism can just be honest lol.)

People. Just. Don't. Know.

Ok, well, there's my report "How I Spent My Weekend."

Off to do some required work.

Be well, all! And remember: #EndClimateSilence and #ActOnClimate with a #GreenNewDeal 💚
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