Friday, January 1, 2010

do not go gentle...

I've had a couple of months of what I've been calling "blog exhaustion". Tired of sitting in front of a computer all day, yet required to do so by virtue of the work that I'm doing (both paid and volunteer), I simply couldn't be bothered to follow up on the network of blogs I normally read up on something like a monthly basis.
Image from Dead Air Space
I regret that now. On December 18, Thom Yorke did a day of posts on Dead Air Space (Radiohead's official blog) from the United Nations Global Climate Change Summit, where he'd gone with a good friend of his who used to head up an NGO called Friends of the Earth. He walked around throughout the day, and posted about the mood of the crowds, the rumors that were floating around about what was happening, and eventually about the pathetic bulls**t agreement that was the result of all that talking. He then did another post on December 24 that consists largely of the words of Ben Stewart from Greenpeace, but also some of his own reflection, which is actually about as positive as you could hope given what transpired at the Summit.

I know an awful lot of people who think that Global Climate Change is fiction, that the science behind it is rigged, and that all this talk about it is a waste of time and money. Every single one of those people is an American. I cannot think of one SINGLE person from another nation (and I know quite a few folks from all over the world due to the work I used to do) who has ever expressed the sentiment that they believe climate change to be anything other than fact. I know that the issue is complicated, and I'm sure there are some that do dispute it, but when you read about how the representatives of many of the Latin American countries walked out of the climate talks due in part to their perception of the incalcitrance of the U.S., it does give a bit of perspective.

I remember the weirdness of living in the UK and having the sense that the news had been flipped. By that I mean that the perspective given in the U.S. media bears almost no resemblance to European media... or even to Latin American and South Asian media that I've read online since the time I lived in the UK. I'm not saying that there's no bias in media outside the U.S., but I was struck by how very, very much about what goes on in the world doesn't hit major U.S. media but does hit media throughout the world. It is as though we are in a room that has been soundproofed. The only sounds we hear are ones from inside the room, and even they are significantly muffled by the layers and layers of padding that line the walls.

Thom Yorke is the kind of guy who will rip the padding off the walls. He also might express a desire to stuff it down your throat, but prophetic types are often a bit rough around the edges. I wish I'd been reading what he was saying during Copenhagen while he was saying it, because his words have the ring of truth about them. He wrote about what he thought and saw, without being restricted by political concerns because he honestly doesn't seem to give a crap what politicians think of him. I respect his utter intolerance for BS deeply, despite the fact that I understand it must cost him somewhat.

The title of this post is from "Do not go gentle into that good night", a villanelle written by Dylan Thomas and one of my favorite poems from high school. It's addressed to his dying father, but right now I'm thinking of it as being addressed to those who even now believe they are looking into the future and seeing the extinction of humanity due to pollution of the atmosphere through carbon emissions (I'm talking about activists, by the way, NOT about heads of state who use the climate change discussion as a way to rail against the U.S. while deflecting attention from their gross human rights abuses). Whether they are 100% right in their predictions is, to me, completely insignificant. They're defending good stewardship of the earth, and that is a Godly goal. Those who are their biggest opponents are those who will lose a great deal of money if environmentalists have their way. It just doesn't seem like rocket science to me which side is the better when one group is defending right stewardship of the earth and the other is defending their profit margins.

So. Here's Dylan Thomas' poem, dedicated to Thom Yorke and to the many, many people who are fighting for the care of God's earth. They are, whether they are intending to or not, obeying God's first command to Adam. I pray that they continue to rage against the dying of the light.

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

1 comment:

Craig Frogale said...

As much as I joke you, I know global warming is for real. I appreciate your concern. Maybe you can educate me one day on the latest policy issues.