Freak It Forward

Global warming is the political issue of all times. Other than confronting the threat of thermonuclear war, this is the only issue on which we control the fate of the world.

Let’s assume we’re not going to blow the world to bits. Actually, let’s not. Keep tracking down those loose nukes, and let’s get rid of what we’ve got. Still, let’s maintain optimism that we’ll keep doing the right thing and won’t fry the world to a golden, glowing crisp. After the deep fry, we’ve got to look out for the slow boil. We don’t want our kids fighting in deserts in order to manage the dwindling food supply. We prefer to fight in deserts for vague, misleading reasons.

We’re cooking the planet, and we’ve got to do something about it.

But how? In the United States, nothing but nothing about nothing is getting done, because the Republicans control the House and insane people control the Republicans. Or is it that we can’t get anything done because of that dictator in the White House, though I always thought dictators got more done.

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. Republicans don’t believe in global warming, despite the near universal agreement among climate scientists. And they’ve got a machine that amplifies their denial: Fox News. All I can say is that they’d better be true believers in their disbelief, these conservatives, because if there actually is a hell, there’s got to be a special ring in it for those who know they’re lying about the Earth heating up.

How do we bypass this noise machine? If democracy is broken (and it is, my friends), then we’ve got to make more noise. As evidenced by the civil rights movement and the Arab Spring, a big-enough agitation shakes things loose.

Please send this to any scientists or young people you know. Everyone I know is old and stupid, so I’m depending on you. We’ve got to scare people. We’ve got to freak people out. If you know about the impact of global climate change, then you must be freaked out. It’s time to freak it forward.

Scientists, you detached bastards: In the first Dawn of the Dead movie, there was a scientist with an eye patch moaning, “Dummies! Dummies! One wonders if it’s even worth saving.” Don’t be that guy. You can rock the eye patch if you want, but don’t retreat into your labs. If you believe in science, if you believe in global climate change, and if you believe the situation is dire, you’ve got to do something about it. Issuing a more strongly worded warning doesn’t cut it. If you think the world is in danger, if you’re worried that the United States is taking science for granted and that wide swaths of the populace view you with suspicion, then you’ve got nothing to lose. Go on strike.

Call the union. There is a union of scientists, right? I don’t mean “concerned” scientists, I mean a labor organization for all of y’all. Well, get one, and declare a strike. No more new chemicals, no more giant robots, no more apps, for goodness’ sake. No more whatever it is you guys are working on. Refuse to invent anything else until we get a carbon tax and a radical revamp of our energy policies.

It’ll give the media something to talk about, and it’ll split the business Republicans off from the crazies. They know we need to invent new things to get the public to throw out their perfectly good old things or the whole system goes belly-up again.

Tell all your libertarian friends. This is all out of Atlas Shrugged, if I remember right. I’m a little hazy there, because I never finished that book. It’s a truly awful book. Still, I think that was the deal. No more blue-green rail. Atlas Freaked.

Meanwhile, kids, if you think shortsighted grown-ups have sold your future down the river for a quick buck, you’re right. I say take your future back. Start disrupting classes. Take over the principal’s office. Yes, those protests from the sixties look tedious, but that’s just because of the clothes and hairstyles and everyone saying “groovy” and dancing badly. Imagine taking over your school with new hairstyles, clothes, and slang. Instead of “groovy,” you can say “leprosy”! That’s what the kids these days are saying: “Leprosy!” Okay, that’s just something I made up, but I think it would be totally leprous if kids started saying that.

Take over the schools, stop the science. I’m talking all jokey, but I’m dead serious. We’ve got to do something (have I said that already?), and just throwing up our hands at the intractability of government is insufficient. We’re also going to have to make a freedom ride (yes, this is as important as civil rights) through the red states. Free them from the Fox machine, greet them face to face, let them know this is one issue we can’t bat around like a piñata, or a kitten’s ball of yarn, or a kitten’s piñata, they way we do with all the other stuff. Wake them up! Freak it forward. It’ll be leprous.

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