I came to Saint Louis for graduate school, hoping to do research that would bring about technological solutions to climate change. Underlying this standard graduate student naivete was the far more ubiquitous and far, far more dangerous overreliance on and faith in technology. In the context of our world, where global industrial Capitalism reigns supreme and demands continuous growth and exploitation, the question “which technology will save us from climate change?” is moot. There is no fancy solar cell, or wind turbine, or nuclear whatever that could ever hope to address the crises of Capitalism.
On this day I’m going off to participate in the rally at Peabody to stand in solidarity with everyone in Appalachia, the Navajo and Hopi Nations, Saint Louis, and every other living community. I want to draw attention to the decades of exploitation that the Navajo and Hopi nations have endured due to Peabody’s role in this repugnant system. I want to draw attention to the way we exploit our planet, and how that is driving us to the brink.
Will today’s actions significantly stop emissions, or stop Peabody? No, probably not. Will this give people who work at Peabody or the lines upon lines of police that will inevitably be protecting Peabody’s headquarters any time to pause and really consider what it is that they’re defending? Almost certainly not. Will it bring a renewed sense of hope and ease and invigorate the ongoing struggle? That would be nice and I hope that happens. This is just one action and one day.
We’re steadily marching towards a future that will see a 4 degree Celsius rise in global temperature, if not more. This scenario at least ensures a global level of suffering and death that we’ve never witnessed before and can hardly imagine. At worst it means there won’t be a human species any more, let alone countless other species.
The actions that I and everyone else take on this day should be judged in this context. Is today’s action enough? Of course not. Is it too rash or radical? Give me a break. We will all learn from the experiences of today, and we will experience the mounting pressures, and change accordingly.
There is no hope for an environmentally just world as long as giant fossil fuel companies such as Peabody are allowed to exist. I hope that others will join in the fight against this corporation and all that it represents. Standing on the sidelines will not ensure our safety or the safety of those we care for.
- Chris Singer