Many years ago I cut out a cartoon of Chicken Little sitting at a bar, drink in hand, and commenting to the bartender “Man, it’s really coming down out there…” I don’t drink anymore, but I still identify with that cartoon, especially of late with frequent FB postings about how and why Hillary is going to be taken down by FBI Director Comey shortly after Bernie wins the California primary. A wise old Buddhist friend and political operative in the Democratic Party who disagrees asked me the other night “Why is it so important to you?”
“Because I think it could very well be our last chance,” I said.
Here is what Chicken Little knows about the climate crisis that most non-scientists in America do not fully appreciate, and that almost never gets mentioned in the press. There is a forty-year lag time between Greenhouse Gas emissions and climate uptake. What we’re seeing in the world right now is the consequence of all Industrial Age emissions up to 1976 – and we’ve matched all those emissions since then. That’s the real Inconvenient Truth. So while the world’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, has found that we need to begin somehow removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere right now, we instead continue to extract fossil resources and burn them at a record pace.
So this election is not about what happens in the next 4–8 years. It is about what the state of the planet will be like in 2056 and beyond. In fact, if we blow right by 3–5 degree Celsius (average global temp beyond baseline), which we will if we implement either Hillary’s or Trump’s energy policies, this election really ends up being about what the world will look like for the next ten million years — because that is how long it takes to recover from a mass extinction event.
Pretty high stakes!
At more than +3C degrees, scientists say we lose our ability to grow food crops. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Office tells us that the soil will not support crops in any case by 2060, if we continue allowing Monsanto to dictate agricultural practices (chemical monocultures that kill everything else, eventually transforming soil into inert dirt). Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture the last 8 years? A Monsanto cheerleader. And why did Hillary orchestrate a coup of Ukraine’s democratically elected government? Because it wouldn’t give Monsanto access to Eastern Europe’s breadbasket. Combine this with her continuation of Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy, replacing coal-fired powerplants with gas from fracking, and you can kiss your grandchildren’s future goodbye.
This is why I tell my neoliberal friends that Hillary scares me more than Trump. Because the only candidate who has a plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the only candidate who will take our Agriculture Department and the FDA back from Monsanto and Dow Chemical, and the only candidate who will take our federal land back from the fracking industry, is Bernie Sanders. And Hillary is the only candidate who will prevent Bernie from becoming president. Because Donald Trump cannot. The only person Donald Trump can, and probably will, prevent from becoming president is Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump does not scare me. Our shared future, without President Bernie Sanders, scares the living daylights out of me. Because it is a future without elephants, lions, and tigers. A future without penguins, dolphins, and bears. A future of dead oceans and, for humans, mass migration, starvation, and mortality. This according to experts, not Hollywood movies! Like the International Energy Agency and Oceanographer Sylvia Earle (watch Mission Blue on Netflix). A future of more Fukushimas and Chernobyls. Maybe a billion people could survive into such a future. Or maybe all higher life forms will be snuffed out by the lack of oxygen produced by life in the ocean. It’s all connected, unfortunately for us.
My Buddhist friend and I had just seen Josh Fox’s touring documentary How To Let Go of The World & Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. There is a brilliant young Chinese innovator he interviews, someone who is trying to help China transition away from fossil fuels (and we think we have it tough!), who speaks of “moral imagination.” We have to turn to our own moral imagination if we are to transform our society in the way it needs to be transformed right now for a future to be possible. Pope Francis echoes this wisdom when he says the climate crisis is calling on us all to remember what it means to be human.
And that is what the Sanders campaign embodies. He is not a Democrat, and he is not a Social Democrat. He is a humanist. An advocate for the Earth at the one time she needs us most. And, like Naomi Klein, Bernie understands that in this interconnected, interdependent world, you cannot separate climate justice from social justice. We are the world. We are both its biggest problem and its best hope. But we cannot afford to kick this can down the road any longer, because it is already 2056. We have a lot of catching up to do.
While I am now a Climate Psychologist, out of necessity, I also happen to be a former government attorney. Because there is so much at stake in this election for my present client, Mother Earth, I’ve been following all the legal issues surrounding HillRod’s FBI investigation very closely. I can tell you without equivocation that she committed felony crimes, the least of which is intentionally concealing public records. The State Departments report this week confirmed the existence of these crimes, added obstruction of justice and perjuring herself before Congress, and even provided conclusive evidence of her motive. Because of the ongoing FBI investigation, the report was very careful to limit itself to proof of Hillary’s violation of rules and regulations. What most non-lawyers fail to grasp is that rules are there to comply with regulations, and regulations are required to implement laws. So all that is left now is for FBI Director Comey to place these same violations in the context of the laws at issue, in a much more comprehensive manner.
Here is what the Earth demands of us. Bernie will win California, as Hillary is taking on water now. Director Comey will then present his findings to Attorney General Lynch. Given the political implications, she will have no choice but to ask Obama to appoint a Special Prosecutor. Hillary will step down, and the DNC will attempt to foist Joe Biden on us. There will be a YUGE battle in Philadelphia, and in the end enough Super Delegates will defect to give Bernie the nomination. He will trample Trump and rout the Republicans in a historic election.
And then… the revolution will begin.