To win the fight against climate change we must have roots

To win the fight against climate change we must have roots

Climate change produces subtle changes that are not noticed unless there is "an intimate connection with a specific ecosystem," he pointed out.

Indigenous and peasant peoples maintain that “connection with a specific ecosystem”, suggested by Naomi, although she does not mention them explicitly.

This type of communion occurs when a place is known in depth, not as a setting, but also as sustenance, and "when local knowledge is transmitted with a sacred sense from generation to generation."

This is increasingly rare in the urbanized and industrialized world where everything happens very fast, like a bullet train, and daily existence and "the culture of the eternal present" is disconnected from the physical spaces in which we live.

So for those who have no roots and live on their computers, Wendel Berry advised Naomi: “Stay somewhere, he replied. The thousand-year process of knowing that place begins. "

Naomi Klein's full article below:

A story about being out of time

Climate change is slow and we are fast. When you cross a rural landscape by bullet train, everything seems static. It is not, of course. They are moving, but at such a slow speed that we do not perceive it. So it is with climate change. Our culture, based on fossil fuels, is that bullet train.

By Naomi Klein *

One of the most disturbing forms of the effects of climate change is what environmentalists call time lag. Warming causes animals to become out of phase with their food sources, especially in times of reproduction, when the lack of food can cause strong declines in the population.

The migration patterns of many songbird species, for example, have evolved over millennia to hatch just when food sources, such as caterpillars, are at their most abundant, offering parents many nutrients for your hungry little ones. But since spring often comes early now, the caterpillars are also born early and in some areas they are less abundant when the chicks hatch.

Scientists are studying weather-related missessions among dozens of species, from the caribou to the cerrojillo flycatcher. But there is an important species that they are missing: us. Homo sapiens. We too suffer from a terrible weather-related case of out of time, but in a cultural-historical sense, rather than a biological one. Our problem is that climate change is a collective challenge that requires collective action, a type of action that humanity has never managed to do. However, it has already entered mass consciousness, in the midst of an ideological war that is being waged over the very idea of ​​the collective sphere.

The good news is that, unlike reindeer and songbirds, we humans are blessed with the ability to deliberately adapt, change old behavior patterns with extraordinary speed. If the dominant ideas in our culture stop us from saving ourselves, then we have the power to change those ideas. But before it can happen, we need to understand the nature of our personal climate lag.

Climate change demands that we consume less, but being consumers is all we know. Climate change is not a problem that can be solved simply by changing what we buy: a hybrid instead of a 4 × 4 truck, offsetting carbon emissions when we get on a plane. In essence, it is a crisis born of excess consumption by those who are relatively wealthier, which implies that the world's most rampant consumers will have to consume less.

Late capitalism teaches us to create ourselves from our consumer choices: by buying we form our identities, find community, and express ourselves. Telling people that they cannot go shopping as much as they would like because the planet's support systems are overloaded can be interpreted as a kind of attack, as if they are told that it cannot really be them.

Climate change is slow and we are fast. When you fly across a rural landscape on a bullet train, it seems as if everything that happens is stopped: the people, the tractors, the cars on the rural roads. They are not, of course. They are moving, but at such a slow speed compared to the train that they appear static.

So it is with climate change. Our culture, which runs on fossil fuels, is the bullet train. Our changing climate is like the landscape outside the window: from our vantage point it may appear static, but it is moving, its slow evolution measured in retreating ice caps, rising waters and increases in temperature. The problem is not only that we move too fast. It is also that the terrain in which the changes take place is intensely local: the early blooming of a flower, an unusually thin layer of ice on the lake, the delayed arrival of migratory birds.

Noticing those kinds of subtle changes requires an intimate connection to a specific ecosystem. This type of communion occurs when we know a place in depth; not as a stage, but also as sustenance, and when local knowledge is transmitted with a sacred sense from generation to generation. But that is increasingly rare in the urbanized and industrialized world. We tend to leave our homes easily, for a new job, a new school, a new love. Even for those of us who manage to stay in one place, our daily existence can be disconnected from the physical spaces in which we live. We may not be aware that a historic drought is destroying crops on the farms that surround our urban homes, as supermarkets still offer small mountains of imported produce and more are trucked in every day. It takes something huge - like a hurricane, surpassing all previous high water marks or a flood that destroys thousands of homes - for us to notice that something is really wrong.

The other gap has to do with our relationship with what goes unnoticed. When I published No logo a decade and a half ago, readers were shocked to learn of the abusive conditions under which clothing and electronics were manufactured. But we have learned to live with it. Ours is an economy of ghosts, of deliberate blindness. And the air is the one that goes most unnoticed, the greenhouse gases that heat it are our ghosts.

Another thing that makes it very difficult for us to grasp climate change is the culture of the eternal present. However, climate change is about how the actions of past generations will inevitably affect not only the present, but future generations as well.

It is not about making an individual judgment, punishing ourselves for our frivolity or lack of roots. It is about recognizing that we are products of an industrial project intimately and historically linked to fossil fuels.

And just as we have changed in the past, we can change again. After listening to the great farmer-poet Wendell Berry give a talk about the duty of each of us to love his land more than any other, I asked him if he had any advice for those without roots, like my friends and I, who we live on our computers and it seems like we are always looking for a home. Stay somewhere, he replied. The thousand-year process of getting to know that site begins.

It is good advice, on many levels. Because in order to win this fight, decisive for our lives, we all need a place to stand.

* Naomi Klein is a Canadian journalist, writer and researcher highly influential in the anti-globalization movement and democratic socialism. He is preparing his new book: This changes everything: capitalism vs the climate to be published in September 2014. Website:

Translated into Spanish by Tania Molina Ramírez for La Jornada. Corrected by Luis Claps for IWGIA and Servindi

Video: The Business of Business with Arlene Dickinson (June 2021).