• Fight or Flight? What Happened to the Future as a Sunrise?

    Dew of youth

    Dew of youth (Image by cattan2011)   Details   DMCA

    To list everything going on here and everywhere that's keeping us up at night and torturing us by day would inevitably leave things out--we so depend on MSM headlines and bylines that leave out so much. But even MSM lists are long.

    Climate change, wars in Ukraine and elsewhere, climate-related crises, politics here and in the UK as well as China's looming takeover of Taiwan and Biden's threats--these top the limitless list. Add to that worldwide inflation and the tanking economy here.

    So I know some people who have given up on confronting these horrors daily and sworn off reading and hearing MSM. One reports massive relief. I knew a family in Vermont who escaped into the green hills from wherever and ignored MSM many years ago. The grandmother, however, would sneak into the public library and scour newspaper headlines when she could.

    Another weapon I've read about is to escape into a happy event in past life or find other sources of guiltless happiness once a day. That seems to be a good idea. I escape into my work on arcane and erudite peer-reviewed scholarly publications and into films on Netflix and TCM. Also Jeopardy for half an hour a day five days a week. I am daily disappointed when it ends, however many questions I can answer. Forget it when sports or pop culture are subject categories.

    The rest of my waking time is spent worrying and feeling helpless. Even when I'm exercising. I read nonfiction, so no escape there. 

    All of a sudden, the future is a huge question mark where earlier it was more of a given, though world wars were grim future deniers and covid still threatens. Younger generations mostly blame the boomers, not the billionaires and warmongers.

    It will take a miracle to cure the blight of climate change and constant recourse to violence to solve crises. Then we can get to other issues, like world hunger and disease. Meanwhile, we must play the blame game and hammer those at fault until the miracle happens. If only they could realize their destructiveness and care about it. They can go far toward reversing it. 

    Some say it's too late--climate change has already exceeded the tipping point. Xi says US, get out of our way into Taiwan, peaceful until it turns bloody. Russia won't turn back.

    Imagine peace. Imagine a world with a shining future, a sunrise our youth walk into.


  • “Stop using the sky as a sewer”: Where’s There’s Youth, There’s Hope

    From flickr.com: Gang of Youths {VID-175537}

    (image from FLICKR)

    It all started, this thought stream, when I put down the book on possible outcomes of the inevitable cataclysm and also put aside an invitation to a free barbecue at an upscale senior community recruiting new residents. One was too sad and the other bordering on cop-out escapism for a lifelong activist. 

    Remember the energy, enthusiasm, and promise we all used to associate with youth? I thought. Have the Republicans and the super-rich successfully undone the dawning of the youth cult that began in the 1960s? When Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960, since Nixon represented a continuation of the Eisenhower era, it was a victory of youth over the old age that the vacation president typified. Ushered in by the second-youngest US president in history, the sixties proceeded to glorify youth in every way. But by the end of the decade, after putting a man on the moon, we were sending our youth off to die in Vietnam. Did the youth cult begin to die then? At the end of the decade that finally put Nixon, JFK’s foil, into office to prolong the Vietnam war, which youth vehemently protested against? Or did its slow demise just begin, exacerbated by the Powell manifesto and culminating in the prophesied cataclysm to be brought on by climate change and nuclear annihilation? How do we view our youth these days? After 60 years, do we pity them as those who will confront head on the cataclysm? Why is there such a gerontocracy in Washington? With the average age of members of Congress around 60 and the height of the pecking order largely around 80? Is it because youth are so held back by the constraints of a strangling economy? SCOTUS, despite the median chronological age of its “Injustices,” constitutes an ideological gerontocracy.

    The death of most everything that youth used to imply is one symptom of a dying world, I guessed.  Al Gore, source of the quote in this article’s title, persists in holding out hope. Reduce the carbon emissions level to net zero by 2050, he says, and there is hope that the ultimate extinction won’t occur. He maintains this optimism “mainly because of young people all over the world now demanding change—including Greta Thunberg.”

    Youth activism persists, then, reminding us of the sixties spirit. And people are still donating children to the population though the birthrates at home and worldwide have substantially declined. The children I know directly are being raised as if into the same world as I was, as my daughter was, taking a uniform future for granted.

    And so, it seems, each time a wanted child is born, hope is reborn. I can’t put that aside, nor the dream that something will come along—an idea, a fix, to turn this all around. Destruction implies its inverse and I’ll never stop waiting for it to arrive.

     



birch