Using democracy to solve the climate breakdown
The climate breakdown is not just a crisis of the environment. It is a crisis of global politics as well.
Societies will strain and buckle as climate emergencies become ever more pressing, ever more destructive.
Already we see rich countries adopting a politics of proto-fascism, or even outright fascism, in response to social challenges like immigration, wealth inequality, corporate malfeasance, and environmental destruction: all challenges that will be aggravated, perhaps exponentially so, by the climate breakdown.
At some point, authoritarianism will parade itself as the solution to the climate breakdown. Climate emergencies will give cover for would-be tyrants to demand they be given the power and the authority to implement police-state solutions to keep society in line.
It is easy to envision a world where the climate breakdown has been “solved” through authoritarianism -- surveillance, rationing, restrictions on political freedom, restrictions on movement.
Meanwhile, a ruling class would live abundantly and without restriction -- striking fear into the hearts of anyone who would challenge them.
This is an outcome we have to work hard to avoid. The only way to avoid this is to fight for a global, democratic solution to the climate breakdown.
This will require an entire rethinking of international relations. It will require us to adopt a species consciousness, and to truly assist one another in international development and equal opportunity.
And it will require countries to peacefully settle their disputes.
This is the world we need to imagine, and implement.