T2B34: Cliden 7


Vaclav Smil is supposedly Bill Gates’ favorite intellectual. That infamous endorsement should not prevent you from reading the man.

Here’s an interesting essay on Food Systems and their modern history.

Want a blockbuster treatment? Read his tome on Energy and Civilization.

Climate Grammar

If the GND is over a decade old, why is it in the limelight now? People have been talking about climate change for over thirty years - but its only now that the US is talking about large scale solutions.

Why so?

I trace it to a failure of the organizational approach to change. The environmental regulations of the seventies were passed by Nixon - a Republican president - so people might have thought that the same method would work for climate, i.e., lobbying by well funded organizations of the White middle class (NRDC, Sierra Club etc).

Unfortunately, climate change is an existential threat to the fossil fuel industry; it’s not about capping pollutants but about shifting away from fossil fuels altogether. So the fossil fuel lobbies turned out to be more than a match for the environmental lobbies. The only path out of this stalemate is political change - getting people elected on a climate change ticket.

That’s what’s been accomplished in the last few years - just as Republicans couldn’t get themselves elected in most parts of the US without rejecting abortion rights, Democrats can’t get themselves elected without embracing climate action. That’s what I call climate grammar - the language of climate change is embedded in the every day life of Democratic politics. Combine climate grammar with the grammar of racial justice and you have a powerful moral coalition that appeals to a wide variety of Democratic constituencies: people of color, the youth, college educated white people.

What’s missing? Blue collar white people - traditional Democrats who went for Trump in a big way.

That’s where you need to add a layer of future proof jobs and a return to American manufacturing. The GND has both.

Combine jobs, justice and climate into one package and you have a vision of America’s future written in a language that has climate change baked into the grammar.

Lobbyist organizing isn’t enough; we need political organizing to go with it. The GND is a massive network of grassroots, labor, special interest and political organizations in the making.

How is this network being orchestrated?

Tomorrow’s update will be light, but I will get to this question starting Monday.