I’m often incorrectly accused of “giving up” the patriarchal battle to “fix” climate change by promoting only love. There are many faults with this accusation, including the notion of giving up, reversing an irreversible trend, and the laser-like focus on a single emotion. These are hardly the only false accusations tossed my way. But I’ll tackle these three in this brief missive.
Where to begin? I’ll start with the long-running joke of my giving up, with this link to a five-year-old essay. I’ll briefly mention that I gave up everything — including all money, prestige, and relationships — to try to stop the omnicidal heat engine of civilization. In return, trolls will claim they’ve given a few dollars to wage the battle against climate change. As if the adherence to a monetary system driving us to extinction will stop or slow the process of extinction.
My response would be longer and more refined today. It still wouldn’t matter. In general, people believe what they want to believe. Evidence is irrelevant in a culture that values celebrity over science, opinion over fact, authority over evidence. And I’ve plowed this ground repeatedly in this space, to no avail.
Item Two is reversing the irreversible. We are in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change. In a culture in which celebrity is valued over science, opinion is valued over fact, and authority is valued over evidence, abrupt is confused with gradual and irreversible is assumed to mean “we can turn this trend around.” And I’ve plowed this ground repeatedly in this space, to no avail.
Item Three takes us from the ridiculous to the sublime. From a friend comes this comment about love: “I think that perhaps love does not remain, because it is a silly concept and a failure to articulate something more clearly.” He goes on to write, “love is nothing more than a trick we play on ourselves and a hegemonic device.”
My cryptic response: “All emotions might be similar tricks. But I doubt it. I suppose it depends upon definitions, as usual.”
I left it there with him. I’ll continue the conversation here. A definition seems relevant. I’ll turn to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s first definition of love: “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.”
Due to a lifetime of kinship and personal ties, I love the living planet. The concept is abstract to most people, which precludes their understanding. The concept is pragmatic and also concrete for me, which allows the relationship to have meaning. The meaning is not explicable to those unable or unwilling to develop a loving relationship with the living planet. Even rudimentary understanding is beyond most people embedded within a culture that refers to relationships as resources.
I have never suggested love could make a dent in the climate-change predicament. I’ve pointed out that predicaments don’t have solutions, and trolls lacking linguistic skills remain unimpressed. I’m still not suggesting love can make a dent in the climate-change predicament. I am suggesting it can make a difference in the lives of most people.
Love is worth experiencing pain, at least for me. Love is worth suffering for, at least for me. Love is worth dying for, at least for me. No definitions are needed for this kind of love. Not for me. As always, your mileage may vary.
McPherson’s latest book is available in audio, and can be purchased here. Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time is intended for ages 11 and up.