Phony War

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I am so glad to read this, as

I am so glad to read this, as depressing as it is. Stephen Henighan is such a lucid, honest writer. Even the worst darkness acquires a glitter when he writes about it.

We all do our hopeful little bit--but our civilization is doomed, and the world our children will know . . . Yikes.

I was in Detroit a couple weeks ago and struck by this--it is the evidence of a fallen empire, but the empty houses and roads and endless parking lots is not just an American empire. It is ours too. It is our consuming, capitalist, refusing-to-face reality empire. Particularly chilling is that image of well-armed Americans surging north.

The only way that climate change can be halted is by massive governmental and societal shifts--laws as well as consciousness. And there is no government on the planet that has the will to do this . . . (Even Norway, so green in many ways, is a major investor in . . . Alberta's tar sands!!)


Thanks as ever SH!

karen connelly more than 12 years ago

When I was at college in

When I was at college in England around 1970, as part of our course work we all watched a movie called "The War Game". It was a horrifying premonition of what would happen in the event of a nuclear war. A decade later, when my children were babies, this still preyed on my mind, and I would anxiously discuss with other young mothers what we would do in the event of an attack to protect our children. Fortunately, the cold war ended, and our worries faded.
But this war is not going to go away.
Living now in the United States, and having survived the Bush era, I am constantly appalled at the refusal of most citizens to concede there is a possibility of climate change, much less think they should do something about it. Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" stirred a small sector of the population, but unfortunately his lack of charisma alienated as many as it inspired.
The situation in Japan has distressed the world, but over here the biggest concern is whether the radiation will cross the Pacific Ocean. We must develop a national conscience that over-rides selfishness. Of course there are those here, as in the rest of the world, who are trying to cut down on using fossil fuels, but is it too little, too late?

Judy more than 12 years ago

This is like going to the

This is like going to the doctor and having him tell you that unless you stop binge drinking, you're going to die of cirrhosis in 6 months. There's something you can do, it's just much harder than drinking yourself to death.

geisel more than 12 years ago

This is like going to the

This is like going to the doctor and being told you have 6 months to live. Whatever you do you are screwed, so you may as well just keep on keeping on until you can't.

Interesting times are coming. I'm kind of sad I'm too old to see much of them.

chefranden more than 12 years ago

I have been feel­ing much the

I have been feeling much the same sense of cognitive dissonance as the inevitability of massive destruction draws ever nearer. I was particularly struck by this statement: "In a Phony War you can’t voice your deep­est pre­oc­cu­pa­tions, because they sound like hys­te­ria." And might add that you can't voice your opinion because, beyond sounding hysterical, it makes one sound like a total nut job. As I struggle to decide what skills will be most valuable in our changing world I get to feeling that I should be learning about local edible plants, hunting, food preservation, and small scale farming. Of course actually engaging in any of these pursuits makes me look like I should be committed. It could be that part of the reason no one is making major changes to their actions is because it will make them stand out, make them look strange, and make their peers question their sanity. Perhaps the first step is shrugging off our self-consciousness and diving into change head first.

andreakp more than 12 years ago

Too true, too true. I have

Too true, too true. I have understood this to be true for some time now but like others of my age I am; too broke to do anything but try to meet the month end, too small and insignificant to be able to educate people to the truth, too illiterate to point it out to others as you have done, and old enough to hope that I will be dead and buried before it happens. However I fear that with the rapidly expanding population, which is the main root of the entire problem and which no one has done anything to try and curtail, other than China, that the death of Canada, and us elders who are too weak to defend ourselves, may come all too soon.

Bear more than 12 years ago

henighan, gwynne

henighan, gwynne
and environmental

dave more than 12 years ago

Great article. Ignorance is

Great article. Ignorance is bliss.

BumbleBee more than 12 years ago

I started Stephen Henighan's

I started Stephen Henighan's opinion piece with reluctance -- only because I have been listening for some time to the low hum of rising panic that rests on the horizon, waiting to arrive full blown and terrifying. I did not want to read more doom and gloom. I really didn't.

But Henighan is a compelling writer. An intelligent, reasoned argument is difficult to resist and so, I read the whole thing. And I agree with him, absolutely.

Nonetheless, I will board an airplane on Thursday to head to Texas (one of the future desert states) where our only grandson lives with his parents. I am going to celebrate a wedding -- his parents', in fact. And I will look around at all the drive-through businesses (even the liquour and beer stores) and lack of sidewalks and limited public transit and keep my thoughts (mostly) to myself. We are there to celebrate life. But what of our young grandson's future? Thirty years? Please be wrong.

Thank you for the article. And how I wish I hadn't read it. But like all things truly important and difficult, it will stick with me in ways that others on the same topic have not. Instead, they have simply managed to drift away.

Ruth more than 12 years ago