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Two paths ahead of us with regard to climate change

Early on in At Work in the Ruins, Dougald Hine discusses the overall response to climate change. He says we have entered a new phase of the process in which the dominant institutions have accepted the reality of climate change and are at least talking about acting accordingly. (I take him to mean that the era of climate change denialism is substantially over. I do not take him to mean that our institutions are acting in suitably radical ways.)

Having reached this point, we will now begin to see the underlying division of responses to climate change.

Two paths lead from here: one big, one small. The big path is a brightly lit highway on which many lanes converge. It unites elements of left and right, from Silicon Valley visionaries and Wall Street investors, through a broad swathe of liberal opinion, to the wilder fringes of Fully Automated Luxury Communism, and in some form it will constitute the political orthodoxy of the 2020s. It sets out to limit the damage of climate change through large-scale efforts of management, control, surveillance and innovation, oriented to sustaining a version of existing trajectories of technological progress, economic growth and development. The small path is a trail that branches off into many paths. It is made by those who seek to build resilience closer to the ground, nurturing capacities and relationships, oriented to a future in which existing trajectories of technological progress, economic growth and developments will not be sustained, but where the possibility of a ‘world worth living for’ nonetheless remains. Humble as it looks, as your eyes adjust, you may recognize just how many feet have walked this way and how many continue to do so, even now.

You will find me in the group taking the small path.

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