Amy Westervelt lays bare how white climate dudes, those most-promoted literary men and journalists on climate, are unqualified to envision the climate struggle. Their framing of climate change of "the ultimate epic saga" is blind to solutions that challenge the patriarchal system causing it all.

The Case for Climate Rage

... the breakout stars, the loudest voices, have tended to be those of white men. More recently they are specifically literary white men, for whom climate change is the ultimate epic saga, in which all of humanity is both villain and hero. “We” had a chance to act on climate decades ago and blew it, the story goes, and now “we” must rise to the challenge and save humanity. If we don’t—and we’re unlikely to—”we” will have only ourselves to blame.

These dominant voices are agreed that climate change stories can ... never [be] too emotional. And especially not angry.

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The system explicitly rewards these men for visualizing the future as a parallel system that leaves the patriarchal, capitalist pyramid intact.

It’s an epic saga in which they are the heroes,... No need to dismantle patriarchy and white supremacy, envision a different and better way of living, re-think economic and societal structures, or remove power over the fate of humanity from the hands of a self-interested few.

… the sorts of things I hear from women, and especially from women of color, ... most climate dudes ... recoil. It is unseemly, and certainly unintellectual, to react this way. So is imagining a vastly different future that goes beyond technological solutions or new energy sources. 

The appropriate response is bemused detachment and plenty of charts, followed by a book tour.

In climate change, many of these elite white men might be experiencing their very first brush with imposed change, with a force beyond their control upending their lives; that might make them particularly ill-equipped to envision what’s next, let alone lead us there.

The story of climate change, both its history and its future, needs to be told by people who have already experienced injustice and disempowerment, people who are justifiably angry at the way the system works. [bold and yellow mine]

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Replies to This Discussion

Anger can be a friend bringing forth the adrenalin necessary to free oneself from tyranny. Depression proves to be useless; fear tends to immobilize, feelings of despair renders one helpless. Anger tends to focus one's thinking, animates, and energizes one's action. Action, without thought, too often produces chaos. Critical thinking and action tend to result in praxis, "the neurological process by which cognition directs motor action (Ayres, 1985). It involves planning what to do and how to do it."

 

Emotions too often discount legitimate feelings as some weak, temporary, short-lived feelings that have no meaning. Feelings of mad, sad, glad, scared, tender, and excited reveal natural responses to life's experiences. Having access to a wide range of emotions reflect the ability to experience a diverse range of sentiments. Research shows healthy emotional diversity, called "emodiversity," the more emotions one feels throughout life, proves useful for one. 

An appropriate response to the mismanagement of climate change is anger. People with power, those charged with making laws, those given the power of the purse, those who deny climate change have motives stronger than the survival of life as we know it on Earth. What are their intentions? Why do they not look to science for understanding climate trends?

These legitimate questions deserve answers. With no answers coming or responses based on foolish thinking deserves feelings of anger from those affected by the change. 

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