Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I've noticed an air of unreality hangs about the flooding of Houston. Those of you with memories of the 00s will remember how Gore was mocked for his animations of oceans flooding cities. Hey, the Gulf of Mexico, which is warmer and higher than it was in 2003, just flooded a six million person metro area. The press so far has - understandably - concentrated on happy rescues, people doing things for people. Underneath this news is a sort of failure to express the probable extent of the casualties and what this means economically. This isn't a matter of astonishing videos, it is a matter of the blotting out, for some unforeseeable time, of the 4h largest metro area in the U.S. I feel like our suspended belief in what is happening is cousin to our suspended belief in climate change itself. For two decades, we have mostly acknowledged that climate change is happening. We have attacked this global problem by the pinprick approach. Maybe if I change my consumer habits it will help? Not really. We gotta change our infrastructure. We gotta severely reshape our economy. Capitalism isn't built to solve this problem. That isn't even to say we abolish capitalism, it is simply a call for recognizing its limits and acting accordingly.
Monday, August 28, 2017
The people who say, when a disaster happens, that we have to forget politics, are almost always conservatives. It is no wonder that they say this. In a time in which we see the result of the politics that we are pursuing – warmer oceans, urban infrastructures that are grossly underfunded, massive poverty – converge in disasters that then require billions to repair, and that can cost billions – in Harvey’s case, maybe 100 billion – in economic losses, we begin to wonder why we didn't do something before - before, for instance, we had oceans warm enough to nourish monster storms. Conservatives want us to debate these things when we’ve forgotten the disasters that conservative politics has led us into. Let’s not.