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We are fucked

On climate anxiety and the need to rise up

Sometimes I'm consumed by the feeling that we're failing. We're fucked. We're not achieving a change of course. Yes, the discourse has changed. Everyone's talking about the climate emergency now. In some countries, in some regions and in some cities a "climate emergency" has been declared, with no one knowing what this really means. On the other hand: COP25 has been a failure, with no major commitments to cut emissions. And, although our mobilisation has increased a lot during 2019, are we really closing the gap between our diagnosis and our action?
We are talking about rising up in 2020. We're talking about the need for this uprising, an uprising for climate justice. And our diagnosis tells us that it's true that this uprising is needed. But are we up to the challenge? Are we ready to rise up?

It's true, during 2019 we have achieved a lot. Extinction Rebellion. Fridays for Future. By 2020 We Rise Up. The world's first student strike on 15th March. The second strike, 20/27 September, with an impressive mobilisation. The first wave of resistance of By 2020 We Rise Up in October, probably more marked in the Spanish state. The mobilisation against COP25, with an impressive demonstration on 6th December. We are in another place compared to 2018.

At the same time, I feel that the situation has worsened faster than we thought. The IPCC report of October 2018 moved the target of 2º of warming to prevent catastrophic consequences to 1.5ºC. We already have 1°C. And we are approaching several tipping points: the melting of the Arctic and the melting of the glaciers. The loss of biodiversity and of the forest - not just in Amazonia, but also in the Congo and elsewhere. And CO2 emissions continue to grow. To keep our planet's warming below the "safe" threshold of 1.5°C, they would need to start falling dramatically by 2020: a reduction of at least 55 per cent by 2030, and, according to the vast majority of environmental organisations, to net zero by 2040 (the IPCC is still talking about 2050).

Politicians - with the exception of the denialists - have taken up the climate emergency discourse. The capitalists too - at the Davos Forum there will be a lot of talk about "fighting climate change" and green growth. Meanwhile, emissions continue to grow. Species continue to become extinct (or rather: we are killing them). The Arctic and Antarctic (and Greenland) continue to melt. New oil and gas projects are still underway. Airport expansions, promotion of tourism, sale of bigger and bigger cars, and sale of the dream of a "better world" full of consumer products and permanent connectivity. Lies. Dystopias.

We need to rise up. But we are far from this. Very far. Yes, we were - though I doubt the figure - half a million at the climate march in Madrid on 6th December. Holiday protests don't stop the climate emergency. But: where is our organisational base? Has our organisational capacity grown? Do we have the capacity to launch an uprising? An uprising that dwarfs the Tsunami Democratic in Catalonia? An uprising that really questions the functioning of the current destructive, productivist system, which is engaged in a war against life? An uprising capable of forcing drastic measures to reduce emissions, while respecting social and global justice?

I doubt it, and my climate anxiety is growing. I want to have hope. I want to think - and really believe - that we can launch this uprising. I want to believe that at least some of us have the will - the desire - to launch this uprising, to defend life, our planet, and all species. That we are capable of putting life in the center. That we are capable of closing the gap that remains between the crisis - the emergency - and our action. I want to have this hope. Hope for the future. A better future. Will you help me to regain my hope?

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Article | by Dr. Radut