by Alton C. Thompson
While “surfing” the internet two weeks ago (June 27, 2015) I came across an article—a review article, specifically—that I found of considerable interest. The article—“Crossing the River of Fire: The Liberal Attack on Naomi Klein and This Changes Everything”—appeared in the February 2015 issue of the Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine (with which I have no familiarity), and was authored by John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark. Bellamy is the editor of the Monthly Review, and also a Professor of Sociology; Clark is an Associate Professor of Sociology.
The article not only reviews Naomi Klein’s recent (2014) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, but comments on a large number of reviews of the book (!)—by, specifically, Rob Nixon, Dave Pruett, Elizabeth Kolbert (author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History), David Ulin, Michael Signer, Mark Jaccard, Will Boisvert, and Erle Ellis.
As I read this review article, I asked myself: “Do not the Klein book, the comments on the book by Foster and Clark, and the eight reviewers that they comment on represent varying degrees of cluelessness?! Why is it that none of them seems to realize the utter seriousness of the problem of global warming? Are all of them such “captives” of conventional thinking that none is able to “think outside the box”? Or, rather, is each so oriented to what is, and is not, “acceptable” to peers that none is willing to “think outside the box”? (Perhaps not even being conscious of being ruled by what their peers think.)
Frankly, I don’t know what explains their cluelessness, but for one thing it seems clear—to those of us in Guy McPherson’s “camp,” at least—that cluelessness pervades our society. Perhaps not just regarding global warming, of course, but it’s that cluelessness that’s of especial importance, for it has been leading us in the wrong direction—toward the demise of our species!
What so many who comment on global warming seemingly fail to realize is that unless one chooses the proper starting point for their discussion, whatever they write is little more than “hot air.”
What is the “proper” starting point? Recognition of the (highly probable) facts that (a) it’s likely that we’ve already entered a period of “runaway,” that (b) because of that strong possibility, change (i.e., an increase in the global mean and its correlates—such as increased storminess) is likely to accelerate (another way of saying that global warming is a process that tends to “feed on itself”), (c) there being no possibility of halting the process, so that (d) the phenomena associated with global warming will, at some point in time (2030? 2040?) cause the demise of our species.
Some have argued that geo-engineering is our “way out.” However, my view is that because the mentality that advocates geo-engineering is the same sort of mentality that has brought us to the brink (!), I have little reason to have confidence in geo-engineering. Besides, many scientists are skeptical of geo-engineering, with Al Gore even terming the idea “insane”!
Now if “our days are numbered” (the subtitle of Guy McPherson’s “Nature Bats Last” web site), what better response to that strong possibility than “passionately pursue a life of excellence” (the remaining part of the subtitle to “Nature Bats Last”?!).
The beauty of this advice is that it lacks specificity—enabling each individual to interpret the advice in a manner that “fits” that person—in terms of abilities, interests, financial resources, etc.
The problem with that advice, of course, is that following it will not “save” our species. But, then, nothing will, evidently, so that working to make this world a “better place” while waiting for the inevitable is about the best advice that I, at least, can imagine!
 Published on my birthday earlier this year!
 I would guess, though, that this is the case ultimately because of the “faith-based [!} belief in the invisible hand of the market as a natural law, or form of Providence” that has played such an important role in this country’s history—and has so “muddled” the thinking of so many in our society that cluelessness comes natural to many in our society!