Bill McKibben pulls no punches in this excerpt from Falter, his most recent book, as he describes the future that is coming our way for those of us who have so far been spared, and the now for those of us who haven’t.
Unfortunately, McKibben has drunk the renewables poisonous koolaid in a vain effort to save civilization, not understanding that it is our civilization that is killing the planet; not understanding that any energy source that allows us to keep building, keep developing, keep deforesting, keep paving over wild places will fail to stop the inevitable crash and burn that is coming; ignoring the inconvenient truth that solar panels, wind turbines, EVs, and batteries require metals that must be mined out of the Earth, refined using toxic processes, and all destroy habitat when they are deployed.
Despite the recent willingness on the part of some like McKibben, and David Wallace-Wells, to tell the truth about the challenges we face, almost no one is willing to admit the truth about what we must do: stop consuming, stop building, stop growing, stop relying on cheap easy energy — no matter whether it’s fossil or solar or wind… just stop.
No one wants to admit the world we have built for ourselves is killing the planet. The longer we deny that inconvenient truth, the less we will leave behind to recover once we are gone.
We must be willing to sacrifice civilization as we know it in order to save ourselves and what’s left of natural world. Few are willing to contemplate this idea, much less talk about it.
But all the time we spend working on false solutions to prop up the idea that we can somehow have the lives we have now if only we can electrify everything and suck enough CO2 out of the air just kills more of the planet, and is a waste of time.
All the time we spend working on false solutions is wasted time that should be spent figuring out how to transition to ultra-low-energy lifestyles; lives that allow us to reclaim our animal selves and live as part of the web of life again, dependent upon and responsible to the natural communities of which we were once a part before we started putting up concrete walls and encasing ourselves in metal vehicles and formaldehyde laced buildings.