I had just got back to the hostel and was debating going back to the last hours of plenary because I wasn’t sure when negotiations were gonna end. After calling few people who did not pick up their phones, I decided to tweet at them.
Then I thought it seems like the negotiations aren’t going anywhere, then I might as well get a skill out of it.
Then I immediately thought: I am not sure what is sadder that the international community can’t agree on a climate deal (for the 18th year in a row) or that I just called twitter a skill.
I am a pessimist and I don’t have that much hope for humanity to begin with. Certainly, the last two weeks didn’t help restore that. The 18th climate negotiations is supposed to end anytime now and it is as far from accomplishing something as it has always been. Yet, there isn’t much that is happening otherwise. Everyone is sitting around with no purpose. The majority are just watching the business as usual scenario, blocking progress and holding the negotiations to their potential which is basically what it has been all 18 years: doing nothing. On the other hand, you’ve got a few that are still trying to come up with a plan, an idea, a last attempt to hold on to a thread of humanism and consciousness to come up with a deal.
Unfortunately, the medium they’re using is Twitter.
A call for tweeting messages of solidarity to the most vulnerable nations is circulating all over social media and is being pushed right, left and center. While I understand why people are doing it, the sad reality is it is pointless; it doesn’t matter. A twitter storm is not a storm. Storms are nature’s angry voice that has been only increasing and intensifying because of all the damage humanity has managed to cause so far. Over the years, we’ve mined metals, rocks, and oils, we’ve destroyed forests, we’ve turned freshwaters into toxic wastestreams, we’ve destroyed agricultural lands, we’ve genetically modified crops after covering them all with toxins, we caused some species to go extinct and we’ve changed the climate.
The truth is we’ve got it wrong. We’ve got it as wrong as leading ourselves to our own extinction. After changing the climate we go and set-up a voluntary system run by oil companies and big banks to solve it. We’ve got it wrong because we prioritized greed and economic development and technological progress all of which has caused us to view and use nature as a mere resource and treat other humans as a simple means to end. We’ve got it so wrong that twitter became the primary method of action and tweeting became a “skill” in a world where more than half of the population doesn’t know how to cook a cup of rice, let alone grow something to eat.
While I would certainly refer to climate change as the biggest problem facing humanity, it is only a symptom, a by-product of humanity itself. The real problem is the shortsighted system that prioritizes greed and material gain and perpetuates a hierarchical, class system based on domination and individualism. The most problematic part is that it has always existed and despite basing everything I do in life on the assumption that things could be different, I am afraid there is not really much evidence to support it.
Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. And here I am watching the international community going through the same process for the 18th year and expecting a different result.
Eighteen years of negotiations have got us nowhere. Eighteen years, as the planet gets warmer, storms get angrier and death becomes easier, more common and less human. We’ve tried it and didn’t work, it is not working now and it is not going to work in the future. We create a problem, then we create another problem to solve it.
Instead of reducing energy consumption, we replace oil mining with gas fracking, instead of stopping covering crops with insecticides we genetically modify them so that they are insect resistant, instead of stopping polluting freshwater sources we use chlorine to drink wastewater and instead of stopping climate change we tweet.
Well, let’s keep tweeting and come back next year to the same process. Meanwhile, the earth will continue on warming, the permafrost will continue on melting and humanity will go business as usual planning its own demise.