Where to start?
It’s always the question any writer has to face.
What do I want to say? Who will listen?
Firstly, a little about myself…
I’m Mike, a Melbourne based writer, sometime activist and full time Geek.
I used to run a moderately successful blog called Watching the Deniers (WtD) for a while, but I’m back after a long and very necessary break. I wanted to start anew and say something very different.
I was exhausted by the fight against the deniers. I did my time, and I needed some much needed R&R.
The debate between scientists, environmentalists and the deniers is not a debate over facts: it’s a culture war and bloody one at that. Sometimes there are causalities. I think I was one of them.
Luckily for you there is a thread running through everything you’ll find on Eve of Disruption: how the issue of climate change and the risk of environmental collapse changes everything.
Can we prevent it? How can we adapt to a changing planet? What are our ethical obligations when it comes to environmental issues? Have we done enough? And if not, why not?
Some of what I’ll have to say won’t make me popular. And not just with the climate change deniers with whom I used to have fun criticising on WtD.
No. What I have to say will challenge you. In a way it’s meant too. Not in an aggressive way. But I think we need to challenge our assumptions about many things.
We need to think more.
If humanity is to survive the next couple of centuries we’ll need to reset some of our fundamental values and rebuild our advanced technological civilisation from the ground up.
The challenge is not just keeping global average temperatures below 1.5c as the recent Paris agreement asks humanity to do.
We’re going to have to completely change our energy systems while our political and economic systems will need to adapt to new realities. We will need to overturn much conventional wisdom and start afresh.
Eve of Disruption is a place where I hope to explore those questions with you.
Statement of Intent
Eve of Disruption (EoD) will explore a broad range of issues. But for the intermediate period I will be exploring two main themes in a series of ongoing articles:
- A history of climate change denial and inaction in Australia within the broader context of Australian history and culture
- A history of conspiracy culture and denial and it’s impact on politics and society from the early 20th to early 21st century.
While these two themes appear unrelated, it is hoped the relationship between the two will become apparent.
Further to this EoD will explore:
- Environmental issues and adaptation to a warming planet;
- How society is being transformed by the nexus of resource scarcity, environmental collapse, technological and social change.
Eventually I plan to consolidate this work into a short text – in many respects these articles will lay the foundation for the following work.
Heady stuff indeed!
Denial Nation: Australia and the Social Construction of Ecological Privilege & Climate Change Inaction
Invaluable research has been undertaken into climate change denial by many outstanding scholars.
However I would contend there are some – essential – missing pieces. If we stand back and look at both history and our culture it is possible to see climate change denial as part of a broader pattern.
Denial Nation is the working title for a short text I hope to have published.
Australia and a culture of denial?
I don’t think it can be argued that Australia, a rich industrialised nation, has failed to deal with the challenge of climate change.
We had a price on carbon but got rid of it, replacing it with an ineffective pay-the-polluter scheme.
However we cannot attribute this failure to a few “climate change sceptics”, right-wing think tanks or timid politicians.
I propose that as a nation and culture we constructed a myth centered on denying our collective and individual impact on the environment.
It was done to protect what one could term “ecological privilege”. The debate over climate change and a price on carbon is reflective of these broader, deeper and more culturally centered values.
The antecedents of this mythology of denial have their roots in our settler colonial past, were then further shaped by our “growth fetish” and informed by a culture obsessed with consumption.
I propose that all levels of Australian society – business, the media, sections of government and large numbers of the public – entered into a “compact” to deny the urgency of climate change and other environmental challenges.
It’s a challenging notion, but I think there is a great deal of truth to the proposition I’m putting forward.
So hang on to your hats. I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.
~ Mike @ Eve of Disruption