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The Right to a Future

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Are we tweeting while Earth burns? Is climate collapse our new collective Titanic? How do we best describe the survival struggle of seven billion in a way that connects with the public and with decision makers?

The science on global warming is clear and compelling. Earth is in serious climate crisis. That's why many writers have recently upgraded climate change to climate collapse, climate catastrophe, the long emergency. To convey the climate threat fully, we need a new Story. If not for wonder, if not for reverence, if not for love, why have we come here?

In a well known Greek myth, the very rich King Midas, who loves gold above all else, is granted his singular wish that everything he touches turn into gold. The gift becomes a curse when his golden touch kills plants, food and even his daughter, who is turned into a statue. Bereft and repentant, forsaking greed, the king begs for deliverance. His curse is lifted by a wash in the river. All he holds truly precious is restored.

The modern version of the story is about a gold rush called globalization, a monetized world order that commodifies everything and poisons all that it touches: air, water, soil, whales, indigenous cultures, mothers' milk and babies, now born with a body burden of toxic chemicals. Money as symbolic reward for goods and services, when elevated above all else, becomes a curse. The symbol turns tyrant and casts a plague on the living. We're currently in the atonement chapter of the tragedy, praying we have time to write a happier ending.


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