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The Clairvoyant Ruling Class [“Scenarios for the Future of Technology & International Development” 2010 Report]

The Clairvoyant Ruling Class [“Scenarios for the Future of Technology & International Development” 2010 Report]

March 25, 2020

Wrong Kind of Green

 

“The ruling class exists, it’s not a conspiracy theory. They operate as a class, too. They share the same values, the same sensibility and in Europe and North America they are white. They act in accordance with their interests, which are very largely identical. The failure to understand this is the single greatest problem and defect in left discourse today.”

 

John Steppling, Author, Playwright

 

“This report is crucial reading for anyone interested in creatively considering the multiple, divergent ways in which our world could evolve.”

 

— Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation

 

Storytelling. Dystopian scenarios. Not Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury or Brunner.

Scenario planning for corporate strategy was pioneered by Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s. [Further reading on scenario planning: The Art of the Long View]The following excerpts are highlights from the May 2010 “Scenarios for the Future of Technology & International Development” report produced by The Rockefeller Foundation & Global Business Network. Not just the more known “Lock Step” scenario, but all four scenarios.

Following “Event 201” (Oct 18, 2019), we must concede that the ruling class has been gifted with phenomenal and prophetic intuitions and insights. (They truly are the chosen ones.) Thus it is worthwhile, even mandatory, to study their scenario exercises and simulations.

“We believe that scenario planning has great potential for use in philanthropy to identify unique interventions… scenario planning allows us to achieve impact more effectively.” [p 4]

 

“The results of our first scenario planning exercise demonstrate a provocative and engaging exploration of the role of technology and the future of globalization.” [p 4]

 

“This report is crucial reading for anyone interested in creatively considering the multiple, divergent ways in which our world could evolve.” [p 4]

 

“*I offer a special thanks to Peter Schwartz, Andrew Blau, and the entire team at Global Business Network, who have helped guide us through this stimulating and energizing process.” [*Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation] [p 4]

 

“*I hope this publication makes clear exactly why my colleagues and I are so excited about the promise of using scenario planning to develop robust strategies.” [*Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation][p 5]

Peter Schwartz is an American futurist, innovator and co-founder of the Global Business Network (GBN), a corporate strategy firm, specializing in future-think & scenario planning. Founded in 1987, GBN was “a membership organization comprising executives from many of the world’s leading companies alongside individual members from business, science, the arts, and academia.” The proprietary list of GBN’s corporate members included “more than 100 of the world’s leading companies, drawn from virtually every industry and continent.” Members paid an annual subscription fee of $35,000. [Source] Following an acquisition by Monitor in 2000, GBN then specialized in scenario-based consulting and training. GBN ceased to be active following the acquisition of the Monitor Group by Deloitte in 2013.

As of Oct. 2011, Schwartz has served as Senior Vice President Strategic Planning for Salesforce. [Bio]

Video. Peter Schwartz, Salesforce “welcomes Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum [1] Executive Chairman and Founder, into the Salesforce LIVE Studio for a chat about the future of global governance.” [2014] [1]

https://sfdc.hubs.vidyard.com/watch/lemzpqnyZA5yQfedOpoDTQ

[Source]

Video still. Peter Schwartz, Salesforce "welcomes Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman and Founder, into the Salesforce LIVE Studio for a chat about the future of global governance." [2014]

Video still. Peter Schwartz, Salesforce “welcomes Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman and Founder, into the Salesforce LIVE Studio for a chat about the future of global governance.” [2014]

Andrew Blau: Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory managing director in the Risk Intelligence practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP; past strategy & innovation advisor to CEOs & senior executives around the world; founding president of the board of directors of WITNESS.

“Perhaps most importantly, scenarios give us a new, shared language that deepens our conversations about the future and how we can help to shape it.” [p 7]

 

“How can we best position ourselves not just to identify technologies that improve the lives of poor communities but also to help scale and spread those that emerge?” [p 8]

The Four Scenarios

“Once crossed, these axes create a matrix of four very different futures:

LOCK STEP – A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian eadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback

CLEVER TOGETHER – A world in which highly coordinated and successful strategies emerge for addressing both urgent and entrenched worldwide issues

HACK ATTACK – An economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous  innovations emerge

SMART SCRAMBLE – An economically depressed world in which individuals and communities develop localized, makeshift solutions to a growing set of problems”

“Each scenario tells a story of how the world, and in particular the developing world, might progress over the next 15 to 20 years,… Accompanying each scenario is a range of elements that aspire to further illuminate life, technology, and philanthropy in that world.” [p 17]

Scenario #1: LOCK STEP

“In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.” [p 18]

 

“The pandemic blanketed the planet — though disproportionate numbers died in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America, where the virus spread like wildfire in the absence of official containment protocols. But even in developed countries, containment was a challenge. The United States’s initial policy of “strongly discouraging” citizens from flying
proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the U.S. but across borders. However, a few countries did fare better — China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter postpandemic
recovery. [p 18]

 

“China’s government was not the only one that took extreme measures to protect its citizens from risk and exposure.  During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces  like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly   global problems — from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty — leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.” [p 19]

 

“At first, the notion of a more controlled world gained wide acceptance and approval. Citizens willingly gave up some of  their sovereignty — and their privacy — to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability.  Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more  latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit. In developed countries, this heightened oversight took many forms:  biometric IDs for all citizens, for example, and tighter regulation of key industries whose stability was deemed vital to  national interests. In many developed countries, enforced cooperation with a suite of new regulations and agreements  slowly but steadily restored both order and, importantly, economic growth.” [p 19]

 

“By 2025, people seemed to be growing weary of so much top-down control and letting leaders and authorities make choices for them.” [p 21]

 

“Sporadic pushback became increasingly organized and coordinated, as disaffected youth and people who had seen their status and opportunities slip away — largely in developing countries — incited civil unrest.” [p 21]

Headlines in LOCK STEP:

“Italy Addresses ‘Immigrant Caregiver’ Gap with Robots (2017)” [p 22]

“African Leaders Fear Repeat of Nigeria’s 2026 Government Collapse (2028)” [p 22]

 

Technology in LOCK STEP:

 

“Technological innovation in “Lock Step” is largely driven by government & is focused on issues of national security & health & safety. Most technological improvements are created by & for developed countries, shaped by governments’ dual desire to control and to monitor their citizens.”[p 23]

 

“Technology trends and applications we might see: Scanners using advanced functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)technology become the norm at airports and other public areas to detect abnormal behavior that may indicate “antisocial intent.”” [p 23]

Life in LOCK STEP:

“Manisha gazed out on the Ganges River, mesmerized by what she saw… no one could deny that the Ganges was looking more beautiful and healthier than ever.” [p 25]

[March 18, 2020, ABC News: “Venice canals are clear enough to see fish as coronavirus halts tourism in the city Swans have returned to the canals and dolphins have been spotted in the port… cloudy canals have transformed into water crystal clear…”]

“Manisha was tempted to kick off her shoe and dip her toe in, but this was a restricted area now — and she, of all people, would never break that law.”[p 25] [emphasis added]

Scenario #2: CLEVER TOGETHER

“In 2017, an international agreement was reached on carbon sequestration… intellectual and financial resources were pooled to build out carbon capture processes… A functioning global cap and trade system was also established.”[p 27]

 

“Centralized global oversight and governance structures …not just for energy use but also for disease and technology standards… systems & structures required far greater levels f transparency, which in turn required more tech-enabled data collection, processing, & feedback.” [p 27]

 

“Enormous, benign “sousveillance” systems allowed citizens to access data — all publically available — in real time and react.” [p 27]

 

“Nation-states lost some of their power and importance as global architecture strengthened and regional governance structures emerged. International oversight entities like the UN took on new levels of authority,…” [p 27-28]

 

“The worldwide spirit of collaboration also fostered new alliances and alignments among corporations, NGOs, and communities.” [p 28]

 

“In many places, traditional social barriers to overcoming #poverty grew less relevant as more people gained access to a spectrum of useful technologies — from #disposable #computers to do-it-yourself (DIY) windmills.” [p 29]

 

“Over the course of two decades, enormous strides were made to make the world less wasteful, more efficient, and more inclusive. But the world was far from perfect. There were still failed states and places with few resources.” [p 29]

 

“Indeed, demand for everything was growing exponentially. By 2028, despite ongoing efforts to guide “smart growth,” it was becoming clear that the world could not support such rapid growth forever.” [p 29]

 

“There are considerable flows of talent between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and the lines between these types of organizations become increasingly blurred.” [p 30]

 

Technology in CLEVER TOGETHER

 

“Technology trends and applications we might see: The cost of capturing data through nanosensors & smart networks falls precipitously… Intelligent electricity, water distribution, and transportation systems develop in urban areas. In these “smart cities,” internet access is seen as a basic right by the late 2010s.” [p 31]

“Flexible and rapid mobile payment systems drive dynamic economic growth in the developing world, while the developed world is hampered by entrenched banking interests and regulation.” [p 31]

 

“In cities and villages around the world where children used to be hungry, access to higher-calorie meals had produced alarming increases in the incidence of obesity and diabetes.” [p 33]

Scenario #3: HACK ATTACK

“An economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emerge” [p 34]

 

“Resource scarcities and trade disputes, together with severe economic and climate stresses, pushed many alliances and partnerships to the breaking point; they also sparked proxy wars and low-level conflict in resource-rich parts of the developing world.” [p 35]

 

“Nations raised trade barriers in order to protect their domestic sectors against imports and — in the face of global food and resource shortages — to reduce exports of agricultural produce and other commodities.” [p 35]

 

“In the context of weak health systems, corruption, and inattention to standards — either within countries or from global bodies like the World Health Organization — tainted vaccines entered the public health systems of several African countries. [p 35]

“In 2021, 600 children in Cote d’Ivoire died from a bogus Hepatitis B vaccine, which paled in comparison to the scandal sparked by mass deaths from a tainted anti-malarial drug years later. [p 35]

 

“The deaths and resulting scandals sharply affected public confidence in vaccine delivery; parents not just in Africa but elsewhere began to avoid vaccinating their children, and it wasn’t long before infant and child mortality rates rose to levels not seen since the 1970s.”[p 36]

 

“Meanwhile, more sophisticated hackers attempted to take down corporations, government systems, and banks via phishing scams & database information heists, and their many successes generated billions of dollars in losses.” [p 36]

 

“Blockbuster pharmaceuticals quickly became artifacts of the past, replaced by increased production of generics.” [p 36]

 

“Interestingly, not all of the “hacking” was bad. Genetically modified crops (GMOs) and do-it-yourself (DIY) biotech became backyard and garage activities, producing important advances.” [p 37]

 

“In 2017, a network of renegade African scientists who had returned to their home countries after working in Western multinationals unveiled the first of a range of new GMOs that boosted agricultural productivity on the continent.” [p 37]

 

“But despite such efforts, the global have/have-not gap grew wider than ever. The very rich still had the financial means to protect themselves; gated communities sprung up from New York to Lagos, providing safe havens surrounded by slums.” [p 37]

 

“In 2025, it was de rigueur to build not a house but a high-walled fortress, guarded by armed personnel.” [p 37]

 

“The wealthy also capitalized on the loose regulatory environment to experiment with advanced medical treatments and other under-the-radar activities.” [p 37]

 

Headlines in HACK ATTACK Attack scenario:

“Congo Death Toll Hits 10,000 in Malaria Drug Scandal (2018)” [p 38]

“Doctors Without Borders Confined Within Borders (2020)” [p 38]

“India-Pakistan Water War Rages (2027)” [p 38]

Role of philanthropy in HACK ATTACK:

“The operational model in this world is a “fortress model” in which philanthropic organizations coalesce into a strong, single unit to combat fraud and lack of trust.” [p 40]

Technology in HACK ATTACK:

“Technology trends and applications we might see: New threats like weaponized biological pathogens and destructive botnets dominate public attention…” [p 39]

 

“Identity-verification technologies become a staple of daily life, w/ some hitches—a database of retina recordings stolen by hackers in 2017 is used to create numerous false identities… [p 39]

 

…procedures like the lunchtime facelift become routine among emerging middle classes”

 

Life in HACK ATTACK:

“Botswana had none of the high-tech biometric scanning checkpoints — technology that could literally see right through you — that most developed nations had in abundance in their airports, along their borders, and in government buildings.” [p 4]

 

“Trent was also careful to cover his tracks to avoid being kidnapped by international crime syndicates — including
the Russian mafia and the Chinese triads — that had  become very active and influential in Botswana.” [p 40]

 

“As expected, counterfeit vaccines were being manufactured. But so were GMO seeds. And synthetic proteins.” [p 40]

Scenario #4: SMART SCRAMBLE

“The global recession that started in 2008 did not trail off in 2010 but dragged onward. Vigorous attempts to jumpstart markets and economies didn’t work, or at least not fast enough to reverse the steady downward pull.” [p 41]

 

“Overall, economic stability felt so shaky that the occurrence of a sudden climate shock or other disaster would likely send the world into a tailspin.” [p 41-42]

 

“Yet without major progress in global economic integration and collaboration, many worried that good ideas would stay isolated, and survival and success would remain a local — not a global or national — phenomenon.” [p 45]

 

“Philanthropic organizations look to fund at the grassroots level…The meta-goal in this world is to scale up: to identify
and build capacity from the individual through the institutional, because without global coordination, innovation cannot scale on its own.” [p 46]

Headlines in SMART SCRAMBLE:

“Chinese Government Pressured as Protests Spread to 250 Cities (2017)” [p 46]

“Famine Haunts Ethiopia—Again (2022)” [p 46]

 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

“We hope that reading the scenario narratives and their accompanying stories about philanthropy, technology, and people has sparked your imagination, provoking new thinking about these emergent themes and their possibilities.” [p 49]

 

“This report is the result of extensive effort and collaboration among Rockefeller Foundation initiative staff, Foundation grantees, and external experts.” [p 52]

[Download the report: Scenarios for the Future of Technology & Int’l Development 2010 Rockefeller Foundation]

+++

Let’s circle back to the beginning. Schwartz, report lead, is Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Salesforce. Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of the World Economics Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. On June 13, 2019 the World Economic Forum partnered with the United Nations. On March 11, 2020 the World Economic Forum announced a partnership with the World Health Organization (a UN agency) to establish the COVID Action Platform For Business. This same day the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 a pandemic. [Source] This is the consolidation of global power, happening in real time.

 


Launched on March 11, 2020 – the World Economic Forum Covid Action Platform


Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of the World Economics Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.


Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

“A New Global Architecture”, Annual Meeting of the Global Futures Council, 2018, Dubai

 

[1] World Economic Forum annual membership fee in 2011: $52,000 for an individual member; $263,000 for “Industry Partner”; $527,000 for “Strategic Partner”. Admission: $19,000 per person. In 2014, WEF raised annual fees by 20%, bringing the cost for “Strategic Partner” from CHF 500,000 ($523,000) to CHF 600,000 ($628,000). [Source] January 17, 2017: “Membership and partnership fees range from CHF60,000 to CHF600,000 depending on the level of engagement” [Source] In September 2018, the city of Davos increased the security budget for the yearly Forum meeting to CHF 1.125 million., while the Swiss house of representatives (Nationalrat) increased police and military expenditures to CHF 39 million. The Kanton of Graubünden contributes CHF 2.25 million, matching the WEF expenses for security. [Source]

[2020 World Economic Forum Leadership and Governance]

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin. It’s Underwater—and the Consequences are Unimaginable.

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin. It’s Underwater—and the Consequences are Unimaginable.

The Atlantic

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE

 

By Wil S. Hylton

 

Mining robots, such as these, will help unlock a subsea gold rush. Source: World Economic Forum

Unless you are given to chronic anxiety or suffer from nihilistic despair, you probably haven’t spent much time contemplating the bottom of the ocean. Many people imagine the seabed to be a vast expanse of sand, but it’s a jagged and dynamic landscape with as much variation as any place onshore. Mountains surge from underwater plains, canyons slice miles deep, hot springs billow through fissures in rock, and streams of heavy brine ooze down hillsides, pooling into undersea lakes.

These peaks and valleys are laced with most of the same minerals found on land. Scientists have documented their deposits since at least 1868, when a dredging ship pulled a chunk of iron ore from the seabed north of Russia. Five years later, another ship found similar nuggets at the bottom of the Atlantic, and two years after that, it discovered a field of the same objects in the Pacific. For more than a century, oceanographers continued to identify new minerals on the seafloor—copper, nickel, silver, platinum, gold, and even gemstones—while mining companies searched for a practical way to dig them up.

Today, many of the largest mineral corporations in the world have launched underwater mining programs. On the west coast of Africa, the De Beers Group is using a fleet of specialized ships to drag machinery across the seabed in search of diamonds. In 2018, those ships extracted 1.4 million carats from the coastal waters of Namibia; in 2019, De Beers commissioned a new ship that will scrape the bottom twice as quickly as any other vessel. Another company, Nautilus Minerals, is working in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea to shatter a field of underwater hot springs lined with precious metals, while Japan and South Korea have embarked on national projects to exploit their own offshore deposits. But the biggest prize for mining companies will be access to international waters, which cover more than half of the global seafloor and contain more valuable minerals than all the continents combined.

Regulations for ocean mining have never been formally established. The United Nations has given that task to an obscure organization known as the International Seabed Authority, which is housed in a pair of drab gray office buildings at the edge of Kingston Harbour, in Jamaica. Unlike most UN bodies, the ISA receives little oversight. It is classified as “autonomous” and falls under the direction of its own secretary general, who convenes his own general assembly once a year, at the ISA headquarters. For about a week, delegates from 168 member states pour into Kingston from around the world, gathering at a broad semicircle of desks in the auditorium of the Jamaica Conference Centre. Their assignment is not to prevent mining on the seafloor but to mitigate its damage—selecting locations where extraction will be permitted, issuing licenses to mining companies, and drafting the technical and environmental standards of an underwater Mining Code.

Writing the code has been difficult. ISA members have struggled to agree on a regulatory framework. While they debate the minutiae of waste disposal and ecological preservation, the ISA has granted “exploratory” permits around the world. Some 30 mineral contractors already hold licenses to work in sweeping regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. One site, about 2,300 miles east of Florida, contains the largest system of underwater hot springs ever discovered, a ghostly landscape of towering white spires that scientists call the “Lost City.” Another extends across 4,500 miles of the Pacific, or roughly a fifth of the circumference of the planet. The companies with permits to explore these regions have raised breathtaking sums of venture capital. They have designed and built experimental vehicles, lowered them to the bottom, and begun testing methods of dredging and extraction while they wait for the ISA to complete the Mining Code and open the floodgates to commercial extraction.

At full capacity, these companies expect to dredge thousands of square miles a year. Their collection vehicles will creep across the bottom in systematic rows, scraping through the top five inches of the ocean floor. Ships above will draw thousands of pounds of sediment through a hose to the surface, remove the metallic objects, known as polymetallic nodules, and then flush the rest back into the water. Some of that slurry will contain toxins such as mercury and lead, which could poison the surrounding ocean for hundreds of miles. The rest will drift in the current until it settles in nearby ecosystems. An early study by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences predicted that each mining ship will release about 2 million cubic feet of discharge every day, enough to fill a freight train that is 16 miles long. The authors called this “a conservative estimate,” since other projections had been three times as high. By any measure, they concluded, “a very large area will be blanketed by sediment to such an extent that many animals will not be able to cope with the impact and whole communities will be severely affected by the loss of individuals and species.”

At the ISA meeting in 2019, delegates gathered to review a draft of the code. Officials hoped the document would be ratified for implementation in 2020. I flew down to observe the proceedings on a balmy morning and found the conference center teeming with delegates. A staff member ushered me through a maze of corridors to meet the secretary general, Michael Lodge, a lean British man in his 50s with cropped hair and a genial smile. He waved me toward a pair of armchairs beside a bank of windows overlooking the harbor, and we sat down to discuss the Mining Code, what it will permit and prohibit, and why the United Nations is preparing to mobilize the largest mining operation in the history of the world.

Until recently, marine biologists paid little attention to the deep sea. They believed its craggy knolls and bluffs were essentially barren. The traditional model of life on Earth relies on photosynthesis: plants on land and in shallow water harness sunlight to grow biomass, which is devoured by creatures small and large, up the food chain to Sunday dinner. By this account, every animal on the planet would depend on plants to capture solar energy. Since plants disappear a few hundred feet below sea level, and everything goes dark a little farther down, there was no reason to expect a thriving ecosystem in the deep. Maybe a light snow of organic debris would trickle from the surface, but it would be enough to sustain only a few wayward aquatic drifters.

That theory capsized in 1977, when a pair of oceanographers began poking around the Pacific in a submersible vehicle. While exploring a range of underwater mountains near the Galápagos Islands, they spotted a hydrothermal vent about 8,000 feet deep. No one had ever seen an underwater hot spring before, though geologists suspected they might exist. As the oceanographers drew close to the vent, they made an even more startling discovery: A large congregation of animals was camped around the vent opening. These were not the feeble scavengers that one expected so far down. They were giant clams, purple octopuses, white crabs, and 10-foot tube worms, whose food chain began not with plants but with organic chemicals floating in the warm vent water.

For biologists, this was more than curious. It shook the foundation of their field. If a complex ecosystem could emerge in a landscape devoid of plants, evolution must be more than a heliological affair. Life could appear in perfect darkness, in blistering heat and a broth of noxious compounds—an environment that would extinguish every known creature on Earth. “That was the discovery event,” an evolutionary biologist named Timothy Shank told me. “It changed our view about the boundaries of life. Now we know that the methane lakes on one of Jupiter’s moons are probably laden with species, and there is no doubt life on other planetary bodies.”

Shank was 12 years old that winter, a bookish kid in North Carolina. The early romance of the space age was already beginning to fade, but the discovery of life near hydrothermal vents would inspire a blossoming of oceanography that captured his imagination. As he completed a degree in marine biology, then a doctorate in ecology and evolution, he consumed reports from scientists around the world who found new vents brimming with unknown species. They appeared far below the surface—the deepest known vent is about three miles down—while another geologic feature, known as a “cold seep,” gives rise to life in chemical pools even deeper on the seafloor. No one knew how far down the vents and seeps might be found, but Shank decided to focus his research on the deepest waters of the Earth.

Scientists divide the ocean into five layers of depth. Closest to the surface is the “sunlight zone,” where plants thrive; then comes the “twilight zone,” where darkness falls; next is the “midnight zone,” where some creatures generate their own light; and then there’s a frozen flatland known simply as “the abyss.” Oceanographers have visited these layers in submersible vehicles for half a century, but the final layer is difficult to reach. It is known as the “hadal zone,” in reference to Hades, the ancient Greek god of the underworld, and it includes any water that is at least 6,000 meters below the surface—or, in a more Vernian formulation, that is 20,000 feet under the sea. Because the hadal zone is so deep, it is usually associated with ocean trenches, but several deepwater plains have sections that cross into hadal depth.

Deepwater plains are also home to the polymetallic nodules that explorers first discovered a century and a half ago. Mineral companies believe that nodules will be easier to mine than other seabed deposits. To remove the metal from a hydrothermal vent or an underwater mountain, they will have to shatter rock in a manner similar to land-based extraction. Nodules are isolated chunks of rocks on the seabed that typically range from the size of a golf ball to that of a grapefruit, so they can be lifted from the sediment with relative ease. Nodules also contain a distinct combination of minerals. While vents and ridges are flecked with precious metal, such as silver and gold, the primary metals in nodules are copper, manganese, nickel, and cobalt—crucial materials in modern batteries. As iPhones and laptops and electric vehicles spike demand for those metals, many people believe that nodules are the best way to migrate from fossil fuels to battery power.

The ISA has issued more mining licenses for nodules than for any other seabed deposit. Most of these licenses authorize contractors to exploit a single deepwater plain. Known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, or CCZ, it extends across 1.7 million square miles between Hawaii and Mexico—wider than the continental United States. When the Mining Code is approved, more than a dozen companies will accelerate their explorations in the CCZ to industrial-scale extraction. Their ships and robots will use vacuum hoses to suck nodules and sediment from the seafloor, extracting the metal and dumping the rest into the water. How many ecosystems will be covered by that sediment is impossible to predict. Ocean currents fluctuate regularly in speed and direction, so identical plumes of slurry will travel different distances, in different directions, on different days. The impact of a sediment plume also depends on how it is released. Slurry that is dumped near the surface will drift farther than slurry pumped back to the bottom. The circulating draft of the Mining Code does not specify a depth of discharge. The ISA has adopted an estimate that sediment dumped near the surface will travel no more than 62 miles from the point of release, but many experts believe the slurry could travel farther. A recent survey of academic research compiled by Greenpeace concluded that mining waste “could travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers.”

Like many deepwater plains, the CCZ has sections that lie at hadal depth. Its eastern boundary is marked by a hadal trench. No one knows whether mining sediment will drift into the hadal zone. As the director of a hadal-research program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, Timothy Shank has been studying the deep sea for almost 30 years. In 2014, he led an international mission to complete the first systematic study of the hadal ecosystem—but even Shank has no idea how mining could affect the hadal zone, because he still has no idea what it contains. If you want a sense of how little we know about the deep ocean, how difficult it is to study, and what’s at stake when industry leaps before science, Shank’s research is a good place to start.

Ifirst met shank about seven years ago, when he was organizing the international mission to survey the hadal zone. He had put together a three-year plan to visit every ocean trench: sending a robotic vehicle to explore their features, record every contour of topography, and collect specimens from each. The idea was either dazzling or delusional; I wasn’t sure which. Scientists have enough trouble measuring the seabed in shallower waters. They have used ropes and chains and acoustic instruments to record depth for more than a century, yet 85 percent of the global seabed remains unmapped—and the hadal is far more difficult to map than other regions, since it’s nearly impossible to see.

If it strikes you as peculiar that modern vehicles cannot penetrate the deepest ocean, take a moment to imagine what it means to navigate six or seven miles below the surface. Every 33 feet of depth exerts as much pressure as the atmosphere of the Earth, so when you are just 66 feet down, you are under three times as much pressure as a person on land, and when you are 300 feet down, you’re subjected to 10 atmospheres of pressure. Tube worms living beside hydrothermal vents near the Galápagos are compressed by about 250 atmospheres, and mining vehicles in the CCZ have to endure twice as much—but they are still just half as far down as the deepest trenches.

Building a vehicle to function at 36,000 feet, under 2 million pounds of pressure per square foot, is a task of interstellar-type engineering. It’s a good deal more rigorous than, say, bolting together a rover to skitter across Mars. Picture the schematic of an iPhone case that can be smashed with a sledgehammer more or less constantly, from every angle at once, without a trace of damage, and you’re in the ballpark—or just consider the fact that more people have walked on the moon than have reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth.

The first two people descended in 1960, using a contraption owned by the U.S. Navy. It seized and shuddered on the descent. Its window cracked as the pressure mounted, and it landed with so much force that it kicked up a cloud of silt that obscured the view for the entire 20 minutes the pair remained on the bottom. Half a century passed before the film director James Cameron repeated their journey, in 2012. Unlike the swaggering billionaire Richard Branson, who was planning to dive the Mariana in a cartoonish vehicle shaped like a fighter jet, Cameron is well versed in ocean science and engineering. He was closely involved in the design of his submarine, and sacrificed stylistic flourishes for genuine innovations, including a new type of foam that maintains buoyancy at full ocean depth. Even so, his vessel lurched and bucked on the way down. He finally managed to land, and spent a couple of hours collecting sediment samples before he noticed that hydraulic fluid was leaking onto the window. The vehicle’s mechanical arm began to fail, and all of the thrusters on its right side went out—so he returned to the surface early, canceled his plan for additional dives, and donated the broken sub to Woods Hole.

A 3-D model of the Mariana Trench
A 3-D model of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth. Most of what we know about its topography has been gathered by sonar. Only three crewed expeditions have reached the bottom. (Data Design Co)
The most recent descent of the Mariana Trench was completed last spring by a private-equity investor named Victor Vescovo, who spent $48 million on a submarine that was even more sophisticated than Cameron’s. Vescovo was on a personal quest to reach the bottom of the five deepest trenches in the world, a project he called “Five Deeps.” He was able to complete the project, making multiple dives of the Mariana—but if his achievement represents a leap forward in hadal exploration, it also serves as a reminder of how impenetrable the trenches remain: a region that can be visited only by the most committed multimillionaire, Hollywood celebrity, or special military program, and only in isolated dives to specific locations that reveal little about the rest of the hadal environment. That environment is composed of 33 trenches and 13 shallower formations called troughs. Its total geographic area is about two-thirds the size of Australia. It is the least examined ecosystem of its size on Earth.Without a vehicle to explore the hadal zone, scientists have been forced to use primitive methods. The most common technique has scarcely changed in more than a century: Expedition ships chug across hundreds of miles to reach a precise location, then lower a trap, wait a few hours, and reel it up to see what’s inside. The limitations of this approach are self-evident, if not comic. It’s like dangling a birdcage out the door of an airplane crossing Africa at 36,000 feet, and then trying to divine, from the mangled bodies of insects, what sort of animals roam the savanna.All of which is to say that Shank’s plan to explore every trench in the world was somewhere between audacious and absurd, but he had assembled a team of the world’s leading experts, secured ship time for extensive missions, and spent 10 years supervising the design of the most advanced robotic vehicle ever developed for deepwater navigation. Called Nereus, after a mythological sea god, it could dive alone—charting a course amid rocky cliffs, measuring their contours with a doppler scanner, recording video with high-definition cameras, and collecting samples—or it could be linked to the deck of a ship with fiber-optic cable, allowing Shank to monitor its movement on a computer in the ship’s control room, boosting the thrusters to steer this way and that, piercing the darkness with its headlamps, and maneuvering a mechanical claw to gather samples in the deep.

I reached out to Shank in 2013, a few months before the expedition began. I wanted to write about the project, and he agreed to let me join him on a later leg. When his ship departed, in the spring of 2014, I followed online as it pursued a course to the Kermadec Trench, in the Pacific, and Shank began sending Nereus on a series of dives. On the first, it descended to 6,000 meters, a modest target on the boundary of the hadal zone. On the second, Shank pushed it to 7,000 meters; on the third to 8,000; and on the fourth to 9,000. He knew that diving to 10,000 meters would be a crucial threshold. It is the last full kilometer of depth on Earth: No trench is believed to be deeper than 11,000 meters. To commemorate this final increment and the successful beginning of his project, he attached a pair of silver bracelets to the frame of Nereus, planning to give them to his daughters when he returned home. Then he dropped the robot in the water and retreated to the control room to monitor its movements.

On-screen, blue water gave way to darkness as Nereus descended, its headlamps illuminating specks of debris suspended in the water. It was 10 meters shy of the 10,000-meter mark when suddenly the screen went dark. There was an audible gasp in the control room, but no one panicked. Losing the video feed on a dive was relatively common. Maybe the fiber-optic tether had snapped, or the software had hit a glitch. Whatever it was, Nereus had been programmed to respond with emergency measures. It could back out of a jam, shed expendable weight, guide itself to the surface, and send a homing beacon to help Shank’s team retrieve it.

As the minutes ticked by, Shank waited for those measures to activate, but none did. “There’s no sound, no implosion, no chime,” he told me afterward. “Just … black.” He paced the deck through the night, staring across the Stygian void for signs of Nereus. The following day he finally saw debris surface, and as he watched it rise, he felt his project sinking. Ten years of planning, a $14 million robot, and an international team of experts—it had all collapsed under the crushing pressure of hadal depths.

“I’m not over it yet,” he told me two years later. We were standing on the deck of another ship, 100 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, where Shank was preparing to launch a new robot. The vehicle was no replacement for Nereus. It was a rectilinear hunk of metal and plastic, about five feet high, three feet wide, and nine feet long. Red on top, with a silvery bottom and three fans mounted at the rear, it could have been mistaken for a child’s backyard spaceship. Shank had no illusion that it was capable of hadal exploration. Since the loss of Nereus, there was no vehicle on Earth that could navigate the deepest trenches—Cameron’s was no longer in service, Branson’s didn’t work, and Vescovo’s hadn’t yet been built.

Shank’s new robot did have a few impressive features. Its navigational system was even more advanced than the one in Nereus, and he hoped it would be able to maneuver in a trenchlike environment with even greater precision—but its body was not designed to withstand hadal pressure. In fact, it had never descended more than a few dozen feet below the surface, and Shank knew that it would take years to build something that could survive at the bottom of a trench. What had seemed, just two years earlier, like the beginning of a new era in hadal science was developing a quixotic aspect, and, at 50, Shank could not help wondering if it was madness to spend another decade of his life on a dream that seemed to be drifting further from his reach. But he was driven by a lifelong intuition that he still couldn’t shake. Shank believes that access to the trenches will reveal one of the greatest discoveries in history: a secret ecosystem bursting with creatures that have been cloistered for eternity in the deep.

“I would be shocked if there aren’t vents and seeps in the trenches,” he told me as we bobbed on the water that day in 2016. “They’ll be there, and they will be teeming with life. I think we’ll be looking at hundreds or thousands of species we haven’t seen before, and some of them are going to be huge.” He pictured the hadal as an alien world that followed its own evolutionary course, the unimaginable pressure creating a menagerie of inconceivable beasts. “My time is running out to find them,” he said. “Maybe my legacy will be to push things forward so that somebody else can. We have a third of our ocean that we still can’t explore. It’s embarrassing. It’s pathetic.”

While scientists struggle to reach the deep ocean, human impact has already gotten there. Most of us are familiar with the menu of damages to coastal water: overfishing, oil spills, and pollution, to name a few. What can be lost in the discussion of these issues is how they reverberate far beneath.

Take fishing. The relentless pursuit of cod in the early 20th century decimated its population from Newfoundland to New England, sending hungry shoppers in search of other options. As shallow-water fish such as haddock, grouper, and sturgeon joined the cod’s decline, commercial fleets around the world pushed into deeper water. Until the 1970s, the slimehead fish lived in relative obscurity, patrolling the slopes of underwater mountains in water up to 6,000 feet deep. Then a consortium of fishermen pushed the Food and Drug Administration to change its name, and the craze for “orange roughy” began—only to fade again in the early 2000s, when the fish was on a path toward extinction itself.

Environmental damage from oil production is also migrating into deeper water. Disturbing photographs of oil-drenched beaches have captured public attention since at least 1989, when the Exxon Valdez tanker crashed into a reef and leaked 11 million gallons into an Alaskan sound. It would remain the largest spill in U.S. water until 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon explosion spewed 210 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. But a recent study revealed that the release of chemicals to disperse the spill was twice as toxic as the oil to animals living 3,000 feet below the surface.

Maybe the greatest alarm in recent years has followed the discovery of plastic floating in the ocean. Scientists estimate that 17 billion pounds of polymer are flushed into the ocean each year, and substantially more of it collects on the bottom than on the surface. Just as a bottle that falls from a picnic table will roll downhill to a gulch, trash on the seafloor gradually makes its way toward deepwater plains and hadal trenches. After his expedition to the trenches, Victor Vescovo returned with the news that garbage had beaten him there. He found a plastic bag at the bottom of one trench, a beverage can in another, and when he reached the deepest point in the Mariana, he watched an object with a large S on the side float past his window. Trash of all sorts is collecting in the hadal—Spam tins, Budweiser cans, rubber gloves, even a mannequin head.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the impact of trash on aquatic life. Fish and seabirds that mistake grocery bags for prey will glut their stomachs with debris that their digestive system can’t expel. When a young whale drifted ashore and died in the Philippines in 2019, an autopsy revealed that its belly was packed with 88 pounds of plastic bags, nylon rope, and netting. Two weeks later, another whale beached in Sardinia, its stomach crammed with 48 pounds of plastic dishes and tubing. Certain types of coral like to eat plastic more than food. They will gorge themselves like a kid on Twinkies instead of eating what they need to survive. Microbes that flourish on plastic have ballooned in number, replacing other species as their population explodes in a polymer ocean.

If it seems trivial to worry about the population statistics of bacteria in the ocean, you may be interested to know that ocean microbes are essential to human and planetary health. About a third of the carbon dioxide generated on land is absorbed by underwater organisms, including one species that was just discovered in the CCZ in 2018. The researchers who found that bacterium have no idea how it removes carbon from the environment, but their findings show that it may account for up to 10 percent of the volume that is sequestered by oceans every year.

Many of the things we do know about ocean microbes, we know thanks to Craig Venter, the genetic scientist most famous for starting a small company in the 1990s to compete with the Human Genome Project. The two-year race between his company and the international collaboration generated endless headlines and culminated in a joint announcement at the White House to declare a tie. But Venter’s interest wasn’t limited to human DNA. He wanted to learn the language of genetics in order to create synthetic microbes with practical features. After his work on the human genome, he spent two years sailing around the world, lowering bottles into the ocean to collect bacteria and viruses from the water. By the time he returned, he had discovered hundreds of thousands of new species, and his lab in Maryland proceeded to sequence their DNA—identifying more than 60 million unique genes, which is about 2,500 times the number in humans. Then he and his team began to scour those genes for properties they could use to make custom bugs.

Venter now lives in a hypermodern house on a bluff in Southern California. Chatting one evening on the sofa beside the door to his walk-in humidor and wine cellar, he described how saltwater microbes could help solve the most urgent problems of modern life. One of the bacteria he pulled from the ocean consumes carbon and excretes methane. Venter would like to integrate its genes into organisms designed to live in smokestacks and recycle emissions. “They could scrub the plant’s CO2 and convert it to methane that can be burned as fuel in the same plant,” he said.

Venter was also studying bacteria that could be useful in medicine. Microbes produce a variety of antibiotic compounds, which they deploy as weapons against their rivals. Many of those compounds can also be used to kill the pathogens that infect humans. Nearly all of the antibiotic drugs on the market were initially derived from microorganisms, but they are losing efficacy as pathogens evolve to resist them. “We have new drugs in development,” Matt McCarthy, an infectious-disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College, told me, “but most of them are slight variations on the ones we already had. The problem with that is, they’re easy for bacteria to resist, because they’re similar to something bacteria have developed resistance to in the past. What we need is an arsenal of new compounds.”

Venter pointed out that ocean microbes produce radically different compounds from those on land. “There are more than a million microbes per milliliter of seawater,” he said, “so the chance of finding new antibiotics in the marine environment is high.” McCarthy agreed. “The next great drug may be hidden somewhere deep in the water,” he said. “We need to get to the deep-sea organisms, because they’re making compounds that we’ve never seen before. We may find drugs that could be used to treat gout, or rheumatoid arthritis, or all kinds of other conditions.”

Marine biologists have never conducted a comprehensive survey of microbes in the hadal trenches. The conventional tools of water sampling cannot function at extreme depth, and engineers are just beginning to develop tools that can. Microbial studies of the deepwater plains are slightly further along—and scientists have recently discovered that the CCZ is unusually flush with life. “It’s one of the most biodiverse areas that we’ve ever sampled on the abyssal plains,” a University of Hawaii oceanographer named Jeff Drazen told me. Most of those microbes, he said, live on the very same nodules that miners are planning to extract. “When you lift them off the seafloor, you’re removing a habitat that took 10 million years to grow.” Whether or not those microbes can be found in other parts of the ocean is unknown. “A lot of the less mobile organisms,” Drazen said, “may not be anywhere else.”

Drazen is an academic ecologist; Venter is not. Venter has been accused of trying to privatize the human genome, and many of his critics believe his effort to create new organisms is akin to playing God. He clearly doesn’t have an aversion to profit-driven science, and he’s not afraid to mess with nature—yet when I asked him about the prospect of mining in deep water, he flared with alarm. “We should be very careful about mining in the ocean,” he said. “These companies should be doing rigorous microbial surveys before they do anything else. We only know a fraction of the microbes down there, and it’s a terrible idea to screw with them before we know what they are and what they do.”

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone is a deepwater plain wider than the continental United States. When the Mining Code is approved, more than a dozen contractors could begin commercial extraction there. (La Tigre)

Mining executives insist that their work in the ocean is misunderstood. Some adopt a swaggering bravado and portray the industry as a romantic frontier adventure. As the manager of exploration at Nautilus Minerals, John Parianos, told me recently, “This is about every man and his dog filled with the excitement of the moon landing. It’s like Scott going to the South Pole, or the British expeditions who got entombed by ice.”

Nautilus occupies a curious place in the mining industry. It is one of the oldest companies at work on the seafloor, but also the most precarious. Although it has a permit from the government of Papua New Guinea to extract metal from offshore vents, many people on the nearby island of New Ireland oppose the project, which will destroy part of their marine habitat. Local and international activists have whipped up negative publicity, driving investors away and sending the company into financial ruin. Nautilus stock once traded for $4.45. It is now less than a penny per share.Parianos acknowledged that Nautilus was in crisis, but he dismissed the criticism as naive. Seabed minerals are no different from any other natural resource, he said, and the use of natural resources is fundamental to human progress. “Look around you: Everything that’s not grown is mined,” he told me. “That’s why they called it the Stone Age—because it’s when they started mining! And mining is what made our lives better than what they had before the Stone Age.” Parianos emphasized that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which created the International Seabed Authority, promised “to ensure effective protection for the marine environment” from the effects of mining. “It’s not like the Law of the Sea says: Go out and ravage the marine environment,” he said. “But it also doesn’t say that you can only explore the ocean for science, and not to make money.”The CEO of a company called DeepGreen spoke in loftier terms. DeepGreen is both a product of Nautilus Minerals and a reaction to it. The company was founded in 2011 by David Heydon, who had founded Nautilus a decade earlier, and its leadership is full of former Nautilus executives and investors. As a group, they have sought to position DeepGreen as a company whose primary interest in mining the ocean is saving the planet. They have produced a series of lavish brochures to explain the need for a new source of battery metals, and Gerard Barron, the CEO, speaks with animated fervor about the virtues of nodule extraction.

His case for seabed mining is straightforward. Barron believes that the world will not survive if we continue burning fossil fuels, and the transition to other forms of power will require a massive increase in battery production. He points to electric cars: the batteries for a single vehicle require 187 pounds of copper, 123 pounds of nickel, and 15 pounds each of manganese and cobalt. On a planet with 1 billion cars, the conversion to electric vehicles would require several times more metal than all existing land-based supplies—and harvesting that metal from existing sources already takes a human toll. Most of the world’s cobalt, for example, is mined in the southeastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tens of thousands of young children work in labor camps, inhaling clouds of toxic dust during shifts up to 24 hours long. Terrestrial mines for nickel and copper have their own litany of environmental harms. Because the ISA is required to allocate some of the profits from seabed mining to developing countries, the industry will provide nations that rely on conventional mining with revenue that doesn’t inflict damage on their landscapes and people.

Whether DeepGreen represents a shift in the values of mining companies or merely a shift in marketing rhetoric is a valid question—but the company has done things that are difficult to dismiss. It has developed technology that returns sediment discharge to the seafloor with minimal disruption, and Barron is a regular presence at ISA meetings, where he advocates for regulations to mandate low-impact discharge. DeepGreen has also limited its operations to nodule mining, and Barron openly criticizes the effort by his friends at Nautilus to demolish a vent that is still partially active. “The guys at Nautilus, they’re doing their thing, but I don’t think it’s the right thing for the planet,” he told me. “We need to be doing things that have a low impact environmentally.”

By the time i sat down with Michael Lodge, the secretary general of the ISA, I had spent a lot of time thinking about the argument that executives like Barron are making. It seemed to me that seabed mining presents an epistemological problem. The harms of burning fossil fuels and the impact of land-based mining are beyond dispute, but the cost of plundering the ocean is impossible to know. What creatures are yet to be found on the seafloor? How many indispensable cures? Is there any way to calculate the value of a landscape we know virtually nothing about? The world is full of uncertain choices, of course, but the contrast between options is rarely so stark: the crisis of climate change and immiserated labor on the one hand, immeasurable risk and potential on the other.

I thought of the hadal zone. It may never be harmed by mining. Sediment from dredging on the abyssal plains could settle long before it reaches the edge of a trench—but the total obscurity of the hadal should remind us of how little we know. It extends from 20,000 feet below sea level to roughly 36,000 feet, leaving nearly half of the ocean’s depths beyond our reach. When I visited Timothy Shank at Woods Hole a few months ago, he showed me a prototype of his latest robot. He and his lead engineer, Casey Machado, had built it with foam donated by James Cameron and with support from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose engineers are hoping to send a vehicle to explore the aqueous moon of Jupiter. It was a tiny machine, known as Orpheus, that could steer through trenches, recording topography and taking samples, but little else. He would have no way to direct its movements or monitor its progress via a video feed. It occurred to me that if Shank had given up the dream of true exploration in the trenches, decades could pass before we know what the hadal zone contains.

Mining companies may promise to extract seabed metal with minimal damage to the surrounding environment, but to believe this requires faith. It collides with the force of human history, the law of unintended consequences, and the inevitability of mistakes. I wanted to understand from Michael Lodge how a UN agency had made the choice to accept that risk.

“Why is it necessary to mine the ocean?” I asked him.

He paused for a moment, furrowing his brow. “I don’t know why you use the word necessary,” he said. “Why is it ‘necessary’ to mine anywhere? You mine where you find metal.”

I reminded him that centuries of mining on land have exacted a devastating price: tropical islands denuded, mountaintops sheared off, groundwater contaminated, and species eradicated. Given the devastation of land-based mining, I asked, shouldn’t we hesitate to mine the sea?

“I don’t believe people should worry that much,” he said with a shrug. “There’s certainly an impact in the area that’s mined, because you are creating an environmental disturbance, but we can find ways to manage that.” I pointed out that the impact from sediment could travel far beyond the mining zone, and he responded, “Sure, that’s the other major environmental concern. There is a sediment plume, and we need to manage it. We need to understand how the plume operates, and there are experiments being done right now that will help us.” As he spoke, I realized that for Lodge, none of these questions warranted reflection—or anyway, he didn’t see reflection as part of his job. He was there to facilitate mining, not to question the wisdom of doing so.

We chatted for another 20 minutes, then I thanked him for his time and wandered back to the assembly room, where delegates were delivering canned speeches about marine conservation and the promise of battery technology. There was still some debate about certain details of the Mining Code—technical requirements, oversight procedures, the profit-sharing model—so the vote to ratify it would have to wait another year. I noticed a group of scientists watching from the back. They were members of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative, which formed in 2013 to confront threats to the deepwater environment. One was Jeff Drazen. He’d flown in from Hawaii and looked tired. I sent him a text, and we stepped outside.

A few tables and chairs were scattered in the courtyard, and we sat down to talk. I asked how he felt about the delay of the Mining Code—delegates are planning to review it again this summer, and large-scale mining could begin after that.

Drazen rolled his eyes and sighed. “There’s a Belgian team in the CCZ doing a component test right now,” he said. “They’re going to drive a vehicle around on the seafloor and spew a bunch of mud up. So these things are already happening. We’re about to make one of the biggest transformations that humans have ever made to the surface of the planet. We’re going to strip-mine a massive habitat, and once it’s gone, it isn’t coming back.”

 

[Wil S. Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He has published cover stories for many outlets including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s, Details, New York, and Outside.]

The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict

The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict

November 2014

“The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict”

By ALEXANDER DUNLAP, Global Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK & JAMES FAIRHEAD, Anthropology, Justice and Violence Research Centre, International Development, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

 

“Policies addressing climate change are driving major transformations in access to global land, forests and water as they create new ‘green’ markets that reinforce, and attracts the financial grid and its speculators. This leads us to examine the rise of state violence and subsequent environmental policies in forests, transferring into both ‘fortress’ and ‘participatory’ conservation, enhancing this relationship with new environmental commodity markets. We go on to document how the new and intensifying commodification of the environment associated with climate change is manifest in conflicts linked to the UN-REDD+ programme, industrial tree plantations (ITPs), and land-use practices associated with conservation and biofuels. We trace conflicts to business practices associated with land acquisitions and mining practices which claim to address climate change and mitigate ecological crises. This paper thus grapples with systemic issues of the modern industrial economy and the mechanisms legitimising and advancing the militarisation and marketisation of nature.”

 

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales who was forced to resign during a horrific coup d’état that took place on November 10, 2019. With an estimated 9,000,000 tons, Bolivia holds about 43% of the world’s known lithium reserves. Lithium is the backbone of a “Global Green New Deal – the popular term for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (as sought by World Economic Forum, now partnered w/ the UN) The Lithium ABC countries are — A-rgentina B-olivia & C-hile. Photographer: STR/AFP via Getty Images

INTRODUCTION

There is more to ‘climate and security’ than worrying whether people fight more in increasingly bad weather. Policies addressing climate change are driving major transformations in access to global land, forests and water as they create new commodities and markets for carbon, biofuels, biodiversity and climate-secure food. The emergence of these new ‘climate change commodities’ reinforces, and also attracts the financial grid and its speculators. What interests us in this paper is how the advent and expansion of these new commodities and their markets generate or prolong conflicts. ‘Climate conflicts’ become manifest in these new economic and political orders that, we argue, arise around these markets, driving ‘land grabs’, ‘water grabs’ and ‘green grabs’, and which are further animated by food and energy securitisation in the face of new climatic threats.

It is our contention, then, that pressing links between climate change and security are to be perceived through these mitigation markets and the resource capture and militarisation associated with them. It is our worry that
current discourses that ‘securitise’ climate change are actually part and parcel of these markets, and thus play a part in bringing about the very insecurities that they might purport to address. Moreover, these discourses nourish these new global ‘green’ markets that remain dependent on resource intensive structures and a military-industrial complex to police them. Climate Security, in the tradition of mainstream development, assumes the continuation of the industrial and financial economy as the implicit reason for mitigation and adaptation, and fails to address, or even acknowledge at times, the inherent environmental insecurity and widespread degradation built into this industrial economy. The popular and widespread belief that environmental  degradation and climate change directly induces and intensifies conflict, thus risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in a second way by extending and intensifying the existing political and industrial economic relationships dependent on growth imperatives and the subsequent consumption and usurpation of the natural environment.

To proceed, we review literatures on climate-conflict/security to render visible the violence in land frontiers. We then examine the rise of state violence and subsequent environmental policies in forests and protected areas,
and how these relationships transfer into both the ‘fortress’ and ‘participatory’ conservation, that are now enhanced by ‘green’ or environmental commodity markets. We go on to document how the new and  intensifying commodification of the environment associated with climate change is manifest in land conflicts linked to the UN-REDD+ programme, industrial tree plantations (ITPs), and land-use practices associated with conservation and ‘offsetting’.

We trace conflicts to business practices associated with land acquisitions and mining practices which claim to address climate change and mitigate ecological crises – expanding our analysis to embrace such Orwellian concepts as ‘sustainable mining’ and ‘green uranium’. This paper thus grapples with systemic issues of the modern industrial economy and the mechanisms legitimising and advancing the militarisation and marketisation of nature.

These concerns are generally pushed to the margins, if not neglected in their entirety by the climate conflict debate, requiring immediate reflection and thoughtful action.

  • Climate Conflict and the Problem of Political Economy
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  • COUNTERINSURGENCY AT THE CONJUNCTURE OF STATE AND NATURE: POLITICAL FORESTS
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  • With Devastation Comes (Market) Opportunity: ‘Green’ Markets and Land Control
  •  

  • Self-Fulfilling Climate-Conflict?
  •  

    Download the paper: The_Militarisation_and_Marketisation_of

     

    Listen: What Do We See When We See Earth? Reading Act II of Cory Morningstar’s Research into the NGO Industrial Complex

    Listen: What Do We See When We See Earth? Reading Act II of Cory Morningstar’s Research into the NGO Industrial Complex

    Ghion Journal

    September 18, 2019

    “Listen: What Do We See When We See Earth? Reading Act II of Cory Morningstar’s Research into the NGO Industrial Complex”

     

    By Stephen Boni

     

     

    The planet Earth; the strange, beautiful, indifferent, often brutal, often tender home we inhabit, exists in a way that’s so much bigger, so much more complex, so much more mysterious than any civilization human beings can set on top of it.

    When you step out of whatever shelter you’ve got each morning, all of that astonishing simply presented timelessness is just there. In all its IS-ness. On the land and in the air. I’ve written this before in other essays. If you’re really dialed in, you can feel the whole thing breathe. The pure being of this place, even with all of the concrete, fumes and trash we’ve imposed on it, is an enormous overwhelming pulse. It is it’s own inspiration, in a sense.

    Despite cars and computers and nuclear fission and human beings, Earth itself remains stubbornly, ahistorically, gloriously uninterested in what we’re up to.

    I used to believe this. I used to believe this was at least a piece of the ultimate truth that would necessarily live beyond my ability to comprehend.

    But climate change has taught me something else. Earth reacts to what we’ve lain on top of it, underneath it and above it. It’s reacting right now. It’s been reacting for centuries. It’s not indifferent; not in the way I previously thought. And it’s heated reaction to our pollution, our war, our methane, and our ever-increasing carbon emissions is killing some of us—and may kill a whole lot more of us down the line.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    There’s a scene from the much-maligned Zabriskie Point, the 1970 counterculture film by Italian director Michaelangelo Antonioni, in which an American family, tourists, drive up to the edge of an extraordinary canyon. A geological testament to Earth’s paradox of constant change and absolute stillness. And the father of the family gets out of the car to look at this sublimity and says something to the tune of “wow, honey, this would be a great spot for a restaurant and a gift shop. We could make some real money up here.”

    It’s a quick scene. The voices of the actors are muffled by the naturalistic sound design, the interference of car and wind. But it lands like a mule-kick. Antonioni set the film in the U.S. for a reason. In 1970, as now (though dwindling), we’re the hegemon. It’s our culture that sees nature as a chance to make a buck, and thus afford us luxuries that take us further away from the Earth on which our feet are planted (and what gives us life in the first place). He gives America too much credit, of course. The logic of capitalism is a near worldwide phenomenon and the United States is perhaps the current greatest devotee.

    In Act II of her 6-part series about what lies behind today’s deceptively youth-driven climate justice movements, the independent investigative journalist/activist Cory Morningstar delves into non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the members of the corporate elite who conceive them, run them, and use them to redirect the passionate energies of young people, who want us to get off this toxic carbon carousel, towards profit-making projects.

    You can listen to The Words of Others podcast to hear a reading of Act II, The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Youth Co-Optation.

    What Morningstar gets at in her research is this: the wealthy philanthropists, marketers, economists, politicians and corporate players are merely more well-heeled versions of the middle-class family man looking out and finding a way to unsee the massive canyon in Zabriskie Point. Although they understand that climate change is real, that the choking of earth’s ecosystems through waste and pollution is real, they don’t gaze upon this destruction as an impetus to abandon capitalism as a system. They don’t kneel down in shame and gratitude and rejoicing that we yet can remake our relationship to our home, this Earth.

    Instead, they see it as a way to make a buck.

    But they can only make a buck off of this rolling catastrophe if they shove a quiet, thoughtful teenager in front of us. Galvanize us through heart and empathy. And redirect our tender emotions not into collective ecosystem restoration, but rather into “make-a-buck” solutions that will only serve to reproduce our separation from this home, from one another, and from the ineffable meaning that could nurture our brief time here.

    And I can’t help thinking how paltry it all is.

    When you read about kids across the country getting off school to take part in the climate strike, pay attention to who stands behind brave Greta Thunberg. Pay attention to who talks after her.

    Who is waiting there to channel your energy to heal this place into the weightless unmeaning futility of make-a-buck?

    As always, thanks for reading and thanks for listening.

     

    [Stephen Boni is both Ghion Journal’s current editor and a contributing writer. His main interest is in analyzing the workings of empire and exploring ways to dismantle and replace systems of oppression. A conflicted New Englander with an affinity for people, music and avoiding isms, he lives in Oakland, California with his wife and young daughter.]

     

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything” [Volume II, Act V]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything” [Volume II, Act V]

    September 18, 2019

    By Cory Morningstar

     

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes.

    [Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VIAddenda I] [Book form]

    [Volume II: An Object Lesson In SpectacleACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT V • ACT VI] [ACTS VII & VIII forthcoming]

    • A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign [A Short Story] [Oct 2 2019]

    • The Global Climate Strikes: No, this was not co-optation. This was and is PR. A brief timeline [Oct 6 2019]

     

     

    “All experts serve the state and the media and only in that way do they achieve their status. Every expert follows his master, for all former possibilities for independence have been gradually reduced to nil by present society’s mode of organization.”

     

    Guy Debord, Paris, February-April 1988, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

     

    The Climate Group Launches We Mean Business & Climate Optimist 

    “With respect to environmental governance, the effect of this is to sustain ‘the paradoxical idea that capitalist markets are the answer to their own ecological contradictions’. In service to this fantasy, celebrity promotion helps to mobilize affect and desire in support of environmental causes, focusing attention on splashy, sensation-filled spectacle supporting the win-win narrative and thereby conjuring an aura of environmentalism ‘as exciting, exotic, erotic, and glamorous—as ‘sexy'”.

     

    Blinded by the Stars? Celebrity, Fantasy, and Desire in Neoliberal Environmental Governance, Robert Fletcher

    On September 5, 2014, The Climate Group announced that the launch of We Mean Business [Volume II, Act IV] would take place later that month on September 22, the eve of the UN Climate Summit, in order to “catalyze action around climate change and bring it back to the top of the global agenda”. The founding partners of We Mean Business are Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the B Team, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Ceres, The Climate Group, the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Together, these entities represent the world’s most powerful corporations and investors.

    Ahead of the launch (on September 9, 2014) a press conference was held by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres; and Nigel Topping, executive director of CDP. The conference focused on the role of corporations and investors at the UN Climate Summit and during climate negotiations, as well as the UN climate chief expectations from CEOs leading up to Paris 2015.

    The media contact provided for both the press conference led by Figueres and the We Mean Business launch was that of Callum Grieve of We Mean Business. Grieve, who created and led the first Climate Week NYC in 2009 is identified by WWF as co-founder of We Mean Business. As disclosed in Volume II, Act IV Grieve shared the tweet of the *”lonely” girl on a sidewalk, Greta Thunberg, on the very first day of her strike, August 20, 2018. As the third person to reply to the initial tweet, Grieve would include the following people and institutions: We Don’t have Time, The Climate Museum, Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin (youth founder of This Is Zero Hour), Zero Hour, Youth Climate March LA, This is Zero Hour Ft. Lauderdale, Greenpeace International, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the UNFCCC, the “official Twitter account of UN Climate Change”. [*Ingmar Rentzhog, founder and CEO of We Don’t Have Time, Volume I, Act I]

    As touched upon in Volume II, Act II, Grieve is the communications specialist for Christiana Figueres “Every Breath Matters” campaign. He is the former communications director for We Mean Business, The Climate Group (co-founder of We Mean Business), and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). Grieve has coordinated high-level climate change communications campaigns and interventions for the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and several Fortune 500 companies.

    Callum is the co-founder and director of Counter Culture, a brand development firm specializing in behavioural change campaigns and storytelling, focused on climate change and energy. The co-founder of Counter Culture is Emily Farnworth, head of climate initiatives at the World Economic Forum, former director of Counter Culture and former campaign director of the We Mean Business RE100 initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. [Incorporated April 26, 2011, dissolved December 19, 2017, the Twitter account for Counter Culture has been inactive since May 11, 2018.]

    WWF website, May 11, 2015: "We Mean Business – changing the climate challenge narrative... One area We Mean Business is focusing on is carbon pricing. “It seemed that businesses were becoming confused with all the things that they were being asked to sign on to. So we helped create something called the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which the World Bank is now driving with the UN Global Compact and many of our partners.”

    WWF website, May 11, 2015: “We Mean Business – changing the climate challenge narrative… One area We Mean Business is focusing on is carbon pricing. “It seemed that businesses were becoming confused with all the things that they were being asked to sign on to. So we helped create something called the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which the World Bank is now driving with the UN Global Compact and many of our partners.”

     

    August 20, 2018: Callum Grieve Twitter post on the first day of Thunberg's climate strike. Hashtag: #WeDontHaveTime

    August 20, 2018: Callum Grieve Twitter post on the first day of Thunberg’s climate strike. Hashtag: #WeDontHaveTime

     

    The Climate Group’s initiatives are brought forward as part of the We Mean Business Coalition. Such initiatives include RE100 (renewable power), EP100 (energy productivity), and EV100 (electric vehicles). [Source] [Further reading on The Climate Group: ACT IV]

    By far the most popular initiative of The Climate Group is the annual event created by Grieve: Climate Week NYC.

    On September 19, 2017, The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC 2017 with a high-profile opening ceremony attended by B Team leader billionaire Richard Branson, UN representatives, governors, NGOs and corporate entities such as PepsiCo, Bank of America, and Walmart. Showcasing “the unstoppable force for action on climate change”, the ceremony highlighted the launch of the Climate Optimist campaign created “to change the dominant narrative on climate change.”

    “We also launched the Climate Optimist campaign, in partnership with Futerra, which aims to spread the word about climate action and focus on what is happening, rather than the doom and gloom.”

     

    — Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, former head of Forum for the Future and Médecins Sans Frontières

     

    “In the last eight weeks Mars and VF Corporation and Interface and Ashden and DivestInvest and EcoMedia came on board to help us launch this campaign.”

     

    Solitaire Townsend, Co-Founder, Futerra, [Source]

    The Climate Optimist campaign created by The Climate Group

    The Climate Optimist campaign created by The Climate Group

     

    The Climate Optimist Twitter account (created July 2017) would post its first “tweet” on September 25, 2017. The Climate Optimist concept, largely consisting of celebrity endorsement, appears to be more or less sitting in the wings at this time, having been effectively replaced by Christiana Figueres “Global Optimism” project.

    The Medium is the Message

    September 20, 2010: Kelly Rigg (centre), director of GCCA/TckTckTck (Climate Week NYC partner) speaks during the Opening Ceremony for Climate Week NYC Monday in New York. Christiana Figueres is seated on the right. Rigg: "And Christiana I just want to say, civil society has your back."

    September 20, 2010: Kelly Rigg (centre), director of GCCA/TckTckTck (Climate Week NYC partner) speaks during the Opening Ceremony for Climate Week NYC Monday in New York. Christiana Figueres is seated on the right. Rigg: “And Christiana I just want to say, civil society has your back.”

     

    During the years 2003-2009, new joint collaborations were forged to create a global platform where three entities – corporations, state and civil society – would all fuse together as one. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the non-profit industrial complex and the foundation funding made possible via oligarchs, corporations and capitalism itself, would facilitate the transition. [1] Pivotal to this evolution would be the corporate and foundation funded “progressive media”. The social engineering project to “change everything” is today perhaps the most successful behavioural sciences experiment in modern history.

    The creation of ClimateWorks, GCCA (both officially launched in 2008), The Climate Group (2003), Climate Week NYC (2009), and other heavily financed projects would essentially culminate as an overlapping force of key players that would saturate and dominate the discussions surrounding climate. NGOs, such as those that formed the GCCA, would soft peddle feel-good messages to the public, while the critical discussions led by (and serving) corporate power took place behind closed doors unabated, with little to no dissent. Climate Week NYC (“shaping markets and setting policy“) was formed as a partnership between The Climate Group, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, the City of New York, the Government of Denmark, the GCCA TckTckTck campaign, and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Climate Week NYC, takes place every September in New York City and features the campaigns of We Mean Business.

    “Today more than 3,000 events in more than 120 countries around the world the TckTckTck campaign has organized what we call global wake up events to our leaders. We feel that now is the time for all of us government, business and civil society to stand shoulder to shoulder to work together…”

     

    Kumi Naidoo, Chair TckTckTck Campaign, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, 6th segment of the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC, September 2009

    Behavioural Change: “Together” and “Equality”

    Today, the project for corporations, Annex 1 states and citizenry “to come together as one”, has been largely realized. The distinct boundaries between working class, ruling class, and the corporation rebranded with a caring human face, continue to be strategically and deliberately blurred. Orchestrated movements, comprising the Euro-Anglo (shrinking) middle class are embraced, regardless of vaguely understood elite/corporate origins. Manufactured demigods and deities (framed as “leaders” and “activists”) are predominantly white from elite backgrounds and/or privilege. As this relationship becomes more and more normalized, via a decade of societal conditioning, those tasked with implementing the “together” (i.e. we are all equal) ideology become more excelled in their ability to create discourse. That is, to shift all discussion away from class analysis – and even eliminate the issue of class altogether. The grotesque irony of corporate behemoths that purposely impoverish the world’s most vulnerable while plundering the planet for profits, feigning concern over inequality, goes largely undetected.

    “What they do manage to do is deliver an added punishment on the poor and working class, people who are struggling to make ends meet. It places an unfair level of guilt on ordinary people whose impact on the environment is relatively negligible compared to the enormous destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry, mining companies, plastic and packaging production, shipping and the military industrial complex. Seldom (if ever) questioned are the basic foundations of the current economic order which is driving the decimation of the biosphere for the benefit of the wealthy Davos jet set.”

     

    Kenn Orphan, March 2019

    “The U.S. military hides statistics on its petroleum usage and its disposal of chemical waste, and of course the severe consequences of all the current ongoing U.S. wars (see Cholera in Yemen just for starters). The socio-political landscape is seeing the rise of global fascism as well as a continuing migration of wealth to the very top tier of the class hierarchy. Homes are being built with servants quarters for the first time in over a hundred years. It is a return to both Victorian values and social structure and in a wider sense a return to feudalism. The homeless camps that circle every American city speak to the extreme fragility of the social fabric in the West today. A fragility that both planned and exploited by the ruling classes.”

     

    John Steppling, June 2019

    +++

    The Framing and Language Utilized to Create the Required Momentum

    “To Change Everything We Need Everyone”

     

    “Not only is tackling climate change compatible with economic growth… it is the only way that we are getting economic growth from the 21st century onwards.”

     

    Paul Polman, Chair of the B Team, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Vice Chair of the UN Global Compact Board and member of the International Business Council of World Economic Forum (WEF), August, 4, 2014 [Emphasis added]

    “Oh, I say you been misled. You been had. You been took.”

     

    — Malcolm X, 1964

    Above: Susan Rockefeller, Co-executive producer of the “This Changes Everything” documentary film and founding partner of Louverture Films, LLC. Louverture is the production company for the documentary film “This Changes Everything” (with The Message Productions, LLC / Klein Lewis Productions). Photo: Rockefeller at her home on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York, on September 8, 2015. Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

     

    We cannot change everything – without everyone.”

     

    Solitaire Townsend, co-founder, Futerra, at the “Climate Optimism” global launch, Climate Week, September, 2017 (with Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group)

     

    To change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we urge the adults to join us. On September 20th we call for a global general strike.”

     

    — Greta Thunberg, May 23, 2019, Twitter

    Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, June 18, 2019

    Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, June 18, 2019

     

    "Change Everything" - Illustration from the US Green New Deal promotional video directed by Naomi Klein: "A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez"

    “Change Everything” – Illustration from the US Green New Deal promotional video directed by Naomi Klein: “A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”

     

    2014 People's Climate March: "To Change Everything We Need Everyone"

    2014 People’s Climate March: “To Change Everything We Need Everyone”

     

    This Changes Everything started with “The Message” project financed in its infancy by Rockefeller and several foundations in 2011. In 2014 the first stage of “The Message” project launched with the book published by Naomi Klein (350.org director and Leap founder) “This Changes Everything”. [Further reading: “Financing ‘The Message‘ Behind Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Project”] The book was launched in advance of the first People’s Climate March which took place on September 21, 2014. The march was organized by GCCA/TckTckTck, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation), the Rasmussen Foundation and USCAN. The People’s March was mobilized as a means to build momentum for the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.

    From this juncture forward, “This Changes Everything”, in its many variations, has indeed served as the central “message” for desired behaviours sought by the ruling classes.

    “Emphasis by repetition gains acceptance for an idea, particularly if the repetition comes from different sources.”

     

    Edward L. Bernays, Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations, 1965

    Within the repetitive language and framing that inundates our collective psyche – ever so subtly coaxing our subconscious to acquiesce to the “new climate economy” – we find the words: change, everything, everyone and together. “To Change Everything, We Need Everyone.” “This Changes Everything.” “Changing Together.”

    From Naomi Klein, to 350.org, to WWF, to We Mean Business, to the World Bank, to The Climate Group, to the Green New Deal, to Greta Thunberg – the remixed slogans with identical language are reverberated from the corridors of the non-profit industrial complex and hallways of the power elite. The shared marketing slogans coalesce with the shared neoliberal ideologies. Ideologies undergoing a restructuring in a desperate attempt to maintain an economic system in decline.

    The language continues right up to the present year with Naomi Klein presenting the video production “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” to the call for the September Global Strike by Greta Thunberg via Twitter: “To change everything, we need everyone.”[Shared at 2:22 PM – 23 May 2019, the tweet had 2.9k “retweets” and 6.8K “likes” on 23 May 2019 at 9:54PM EST].

    The B Team, Toward A Plan B For Business, Fostering Collaboration

    The B Team, Toward A Plan B For Business, Fostering Collaboration

     

    2014, Purpose, People's Climate March: "To Change Everything We Need Everyone"

    2014, Purpose, People’s Climate March: “To Change Everything We Need Everyone”

     

    2015, WWF, Paris: "To Change Everything We Need Everyone"

    2015, WWF, Paris: “To Change Everything We Need Everyone”

     

    2019, 350.org: "We Need Everyone"

    2019, 350.org: “We Need Everyone”

     

    2019, 350.org: "School Strikers: 'We Need Everyone'"

    2019, 350.org: “School Strikers: ‘We Need Everyone'”

     

    The purpose of “the message” is paramount. This is the subtle, yet effective, erasure of class divisions. The peasants can sleep soundly knowing they and the corporation (or NGO) that has seized their land share the same values. The interests of those at the helm of Goldman Sachs are no different from those espoused by the plumbers, factory workers, and working class. There is no common enemy, as we are united as one. Inequality will be corrected under a new reformed capitalism sometime in the near future.

    This can be illustrated in the article written by Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan, in collaboration with The B Team’s Sharon Burrows (January 21, 2019, Davos). The following is an excerpt from their article Tackling the Twin Challenges of Climate Change and Inequality:

    “Meanwhile, the world’s richest one percent took home 82 percent of all new wealth last year and, according to the World Bank, almost half of all people worldwide are one medical bill or crop failure away from destitution. Inequality continues to rise as the world warms.”

    The said solution provided by Morgan and Burrows is tragic to say the least: “We need the Davos elite to change the rules of the global economy to benefit people and the planet alike.” The citizenry must “demand the fundamental and urgent change we need” – from those that enslave us and destroy our natural world.

    And here the word “together” presents itself once again. Morgan and Burrows surmise their argument with:

    “We are determined and excited that together, as environmentalists and trade unionists, we can face up to the twin challenges of inequality and climate change. Will the ‘Davos Man’ join us?[Emphasis added]

    The idea that “the Davos Man” (the billionaire oppressor) would consider joining the oppressed, impoverished and exploited, or that such a union would be a beneficial one, is an insult to both the world’s most vulnerable citizens and to the workers of the world. Black Panther Assata Shakur, now living in exile in Cuba, dispelled this myth and dangerous discourse in a single sentence: “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” Yet this is exactly what those in servitude to the ruling class would like you to believe can happen. At one time, fairytales were written for children. Today, they are written for adults.

    The United Nations goes further than Morgan and Burrows in framing the gross inequality with the following statistic provided by Oxfam:

    26 people own the same wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.” [Emphasis in original.]

    And indeed this is shocking as it is grotesque. But to comprehend the real new-found concern and focus on inequality between the world’s billionaires and those monetarily impoverished [“The New Focus: Inequality“], one must keep reading.

    At the heart of “the new focus, “inequality” represents something far more important than eradicating poverty and distributing wealth equally amongst the world’s citizens; rather, the real crisis is the growing fear of billionaires – that capitalism could collapse – due to a citizenry no longer willing to be compliant.

    The UN divulges that in 2018 “79% of Latin Americans said their countries were governed in the interest of the powerful — the highest number since 2004.” This statistic is derived from the April 5, 2019 report “Ruling for the few? How Weak Legitimacy Can Hinder Compliance and Cooperation in LAC countries” written by Luis Felipe López-Calva, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

    From the report:

    “The increasingly widespread belief that countries are governed to benefit “the few” rather than “the many” suggests that the legitimacy of institutions may be declining in the region…. Voluntary compliance is a key enabler of cooperation and coordination, and thus ultimately an important foundation of positive governance-development dynamics.

     

    As explained by Margaret Levi, “…citizens are willing to go along with a policy they do not prefer as long as it is made according to a process they deem legitimate, and they are less willing to comply with a policy they like if the process was problematic. One widely used measure of willingness of citizens to cooperate is tax morale…. In the graph, the share of people responding greater than 5 is shown as those that think it is “justifiable” to evade taxes. What we see is that while a majority of citizens in all countries manifest disagreement with the idea of evading taxes, there is a clear and positive relationship between the share of people who think their country is governed in the interest of a few powerful groups and the share who think it is justifiable to evade taxes…. If citizens do not believe that institutions are responsive to the needs of all, they may choose not to cooperate. We can think of this as “opting out” of the social contract.” [Emphasis in original]

    Chapter 4 of the same UN report features a quote by Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, and former advisory board member of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (*TEEB):

    “Inequality is causing all of us a great deal of unease. In many of our societies, it is triggering a great deal of polarization, a questioning of fundamentals – whether it is the social compact, whether it is the role of government, whether it is the role of capital…” [Source] [Emphasis added]

    [*TEEB, launched in 2012, hosted by UNEP and backed by the European Commission and countries including Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, has since been absorbed/rebranded into the Natural Capital Coalition. The Natural Capital Coalition is working with the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions for the implementation of the financialization of nature.]

    The UN report continues: “Inequality has jeopardized economic growth and created a serious barrier to eradicating poverty, the bedrock of the 2030 Agenda. But inequality is not natural or inevitable. It stems from policies, laws, cultural norms, corruption, and other issues that can be addressed.”

    While it is true that “inequality is not natural or inevitable”, the statement that it “stems from policies, laws, cultural norms, corruption, and other issues that can be addressed” is a convenient alibi. Inequality is a by-product of the capitalist economic system. It can be “addressed” by the UN for infinity, that is true. It cannot and will not, however, be solved inside of the capitalist system, as the system is built upon and dependent upon exploitation.

    “In 2017, an estimated 82% of the wealth created globally went to the top 1% of the world’s population. Wages in many parts of the world remain flat. Despite important recent progress in tackling poverty, just under half of Africa’s population still lacks access to electricity today.” [New Climate Economy]

    Following the rollout of the global “green new deals” masking the 100 trillion dollar bailout, we can expect the 82% of the wealth created globally that went to the top 1% – to rise. We can expect wages in many parts of the world to remain flat, and despite the promise of job creation (a key selling feature for the GND), the exact opposite is more likely to be true. The fourth industrial revolution is “characterised by increasing globalisation and the rise of automation. Indeed, the growth of new technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) is having a profound effect on labour markets, with some economists suggesting that automation could potentially replace over half of all jobs by 2055.” [New Climate Economy]

    Ironically, the featured image on the cover of this same Sustainable Development Goals report is a young girl in Afghanistan standing at a chalkboard. While feigning concern for the Earth, her inhabitants, and inequality, the US and NATO states have spent trillions of dollars financing their deadly resource wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Death, devastation, and environmental degradation, are exempted from discussions with the modern environmental “movement” – as is organized resistance to the US Pentagon – a leading contributor to climate change. Consider the June 27, 2019 article “The Pentagon’s Outsized Part in the Climate Fight” authored by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, minimizing militarism’s horrific impact. One can only wonder how a victim of US warfare would feel reading McKibben’s optimistic opinion on the world’s most destructive war machine.

    November 24, 2015: "Coffees of the Secretary-General" series, Author Naomi Klein (left) with Angel Gurría OECD Secretary-General, member of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum, advisory board member for the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF)

    November 24, 2015: “Coffees of the Secretary-General” series, Author Naomi Klein (left) with Angel Gurría OECD Secretary-General, member of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum, advisory board member for the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF)

     

    The Framing and Language Utilized to Create the Required Momentum

    Together

    to·geth·er Dictionary result for together: 1. with or in proximity to another person or people. “together they climbed the dark stairs. synonyms: with each other, in conjunction, jointly, conjointly, in cooperation, cooperatively, in collaboration, in partnership, in combination, as one, in unison, in concert, concertedly, with one accord, in league, in alliance, in collusion, side by side, hand in hand, hand in glove, shoulder to shoulder, cheek by jowl; informal in cahoots “friends who work together”

    Connect4Climate (World Bank): Changing Together

    Connect4Climate (World Bank): Changing Together

     

    December 4, 2018, WWF: "Stronger Together For Climate Action", COP24 climate change summit, Katowice, Poland, photo by Omar Marques

    December 4, 2018, WWF: “Stronger Together For Climate Action”, COP24 climate change summit, Katowice, Poland, photo by Omar Marques

     

    2018, COP24, United Nations: "Changing Together"

    2018, COP24, United Nations: “Changing Together”

     

    The European Bank: "Changing Together"

    The European Bank: “Changing Together”

     

    September 20, 2019: The “Global General Strike”

    “And in 1964 this seems to be the year, because what can the white man use now to fool us after he put down that march on Washington? And you see all through that now. He tricked you, had you marching down to Washington. Yes, had you marching back and forth between the feet of a dead man named Lincoln and another dead man named George Washington singing “We Shall Overcome.” He made a chump out of you. He made a fool out of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere but between Lincoln and Washington.”

     

    — Malcolm X, 1964

    On May 23, 2019, the Greta Thunberg Twitter account announced “To change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we urge the adults to join us. On September 20th we call for a global general strike.

    Also on May 23, 2018, The Guardian published a letter credited to “Greta Thunberg and 46 youth activists”: Young People Have Led the Climate Strikes. Now We Need Adults to Join Us Too – But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together.”

    May 23, 2019: Author and 350.org board member Naomi Klein shares a social media post by 350’s Strategy and Communications Director, Jamie Henn. Henn is recognized by Future Stewards (Leaders Quest, Mission 2020, The B Team) as a “deep practitioner”: “Committed leaders will increase pressure on their peers to engage – establishing a new norm.[Source]

    The following day (May 24, 2019), The Guardian published a letter of support and endorsement of the global strike credited to “Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and others”: “It’s a one-day climate strike, if you will – and it will not be the last. This is going to be the beginning of a week of action all over the world. And we hope to make it a turning point in history. “Others” included the following signatories: Christiana Figueres (B Team leader, Global Optimist, etc.), KC Golden (350.org), Annie Leonard (executive director of Greenpeace USA and co-founder of Earth Economics), Michael Mann (The Climate Mobilization board), Jennifer Morgan (executive director of Greenpeace International), Kumi Naidoo (executive director of Amnesty International), Gus Speth (The Climate Mobilization board, World Resources Institute founder), billionaire Tom Steyer (founder of Next Gen NGO), and Farhana Yamin (Track Zero and Extinction Rebellion leader). [2] Here we have Christiana Figueres slowly being brought into the public foray of elite “activism” by The Guardian with those such as 350’s McKibben and Klein.

    Above: Global Climate Strike website [This Global Climate Strike event registration is hosted by 350.org.”] International partners include 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Friends of the Earth International, Global Greengrants Fund, and Patagonia [3]

    MoveOn is a co-founder of Avaaz: “US Youth Climate Strike is working with MoveOn

    The “global strike”, coinciding with the Climate Week NYC event is, in reality, the opening act for the UN Climate Action Summit.

    “Recent climate strikes have shown that young people and civil society are demanding action on climate and want to be engaged in the decision making process. The time to respond with action is now.”

     

    Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, Track #3: Youth Engagement & Public Mobilization, V.3 – 31 May 2019

    The UN Climate Action Summit commences on September 23, 2019: “There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society. The Summit will showcase a leap in collective national political ambition and it will demonstrate massive movements in the real economy in support of the agenda. Together, these developments will send strong market and political signals and inject momentum in the ‘race to the top’ among countries, companies, cities and civil society that is needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.” [Source][Emphasis added]

    “Internally, the necessary acquiescence to established powers and institutions is garnered by public relations counsels through the selective presentation of information, repetition, emotional manipulation, and appeals to popularity and authority. Interestingly, contemporary writer and notable propagandist Walter Lippmann referred to this process as the ‘manufacture of consent.'” [See Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann][Source]

    In order to achieve a much sought “Paris-like moment”, the UN has set up a steering committee of 25 “distinguished individuals” and “key advisory committees”. “The overarching purpose of the Key Advisory Committees is to ensure that the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit delivers major outcomes on enhanced climate ambition.” [Source]

    Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ClimateWorks) serves as co-chair of the Ambition Advisory Group. Christiana Figueres serves the Youth & Mobilization “action stream”. Other steering committee members include Nicolas Stern (The Global CCS Institute – carbon capture and storage), Paul Polman (New Climate Economy, B Team chair, International Chamber of Commerce chair, UN Global Compact Board vice-chair, member of the International Business Council of World Economic Forum), and Achim Steiner (TEEB, the financialization of nature, Green New Deal 2009). [Full list]

    Christiana Figueres heads the UN taskforce for the Youth & Mobilization committee. Source: United Nations website

    Christiana Figueres heads the UN taskforce for the Youth & Mobilization committee. Source: United Nations website

     

    The UN Secretary-General has prioritized six action portfolios and three additional key areas. The second key area identified is “Youth Engagement and Public Mobilization: To mobilize people worldwide to take action on climate change and ensure that young people are integrated and represented across all aspects of the Summit.” [Source] [Track #3 work plan]

    Leading the youth engagement and public mobilization for September 21, 2019 are GCCA co-founding NGOs Greenpeace International, 350.org, Avaaz and CAN International. Here, we can add that the money being funnelled into these NGOs is phenomenal. Consider 350.org (with assets of $11,249,637.00 in 2017) received funding from 197 foundations in 2017. These included US ClimateWorks, the European Climate Foundation (arm of ClimateWorks), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

    Others at the helm of youth engagement include WEF Global Shapers (World Economic Forum), The B Team (We Mean Business), World Resources Institute, and YouTube. [88] (Here it can be noted that Voice For the Planet is an WEF Global Shapers initiative managed by WWF. It is more than likely that very few, if any, youth that comprise the WEF Global Shapers actually comprehend that the Voice For The Planet campaign is in fact a campaign to advance the financialization of nature.)

    Youth Engagement and public mobilization partners in the lead up to September 21, 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit

    Youth Engagement and public mobilization partners in the lead up to September 21, 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit

     

    Highlighted under “The Road to the Youth Climate Summit” section on the UN website is the May 29, 2019 meeting between UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Greta Thunberg at the R20 Austrian World Summit, which links to a photo of Guterres and Thunberg on the UN Instagram account. The message to the millennials following Thunberg is that Guterres is an ally, as is the UN. The behaviour change insights offices working with governments across the globe would refer to this media event as “nudging”.

    Behavioural Insights World Map 2018 - Who has institutionalised behavioural insights in public policy (verified by the @OECD) Behavioral Economics #Nudge

    Behavioural Insights World Map 2018 – Who has institutionalised behavioural insights in public policy (verified by the @OECD) Behavioral Economics #Nudge

     

    The “Expected Outcomes Objective” of the working plan is to “respond to the unprecedented mobilization of young people worldwide who are demanding ambitious climate action in the lead-up to the Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit.” In other words, give the appearance of concessions and victories to the organized and orchestrated mobilizations, financed and organized by the very same powers who will thus respond with the so-desired market solutions that will further destroy the biosphere.

    Highlights from the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit outcomes convey what “success” looks like in the face of a global relentless assault on our planet that sustains all life:

    “Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson announce that Starbucks commits to design, build and renovate — and, importantly, operate— 10,000 greener stores globally by 2025.”

     

    [Source: 2018 Global Climate Action Summit Outcomes]

     

    At the Global Climate Action Summit, more than 100 jurisdictions — including California, the world’s fifth largest economy — and over 70 big cities that are home to more than 425 million people, as well as a significant number of companies — including heavy industrial emitters and financial institutions — joined those who have explicitly pledged to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.

     

    [Source: 2018 Global Climate Action Summit Outcomes] [Here, it must again be stated that “carbon neutrality” has nothing to do with stopping emissions. Rather, the term allows for continued business as usual while simultaneously accelerating carbon markets/offsets.]

    Under the “youth engagement and public mobilization” section titled “intergenerational dialogue”, it is odd to find the “youth leaders of climate action” defined as “now talismanic”. Definitions of talismanic. 1. adj possessing or believed to possess magic power especially protective power. Perhaps written in reference to Thunberg’s mother’s metaphor in her recently published book, that Greta can see CO2 with her naked eye. [Source]

    The intergenerational dialogue continues to the strategy of providing youth leaders “a chance to ask bold and provocative questions of political leaders as well as propose concrete solutions in a UN setting will be an important statement that the voices of youth are being listened to, and more importantly are being responded to” with the expected outcome as follows: “Through partnerships with the private sector, philanthropic foundations, and/or celebrity influencers, XX people reached worldwide as a result of innovative public engagement campaigns.”

    Other expected outcomes are the complete omission of militarism, restrictions on aviation, the elimination of industrial livestock production, and any policy whatsoever that could hinder economic growth of the industrial machine destroying the planet.

    It is incredible, yet completely predictable, that to date, the Twitter account belonging to Miss Thunberg, with 5,102  “tweets” for action on climate (accessed September 7, 2019), has yet to create a single post highlighting the primary drivers of climate change: militarism, imperialism, colonialism and capitalism. It’s not as though Miss Thunberg does not understand what war is, as she has mentioned the word “war” at least twice in reference to solving climate change:

    “How do you solve landing on the moon for the first time? How do you solve a war? I’m sure as soon as we recognise that we are in a climate emergency, we’ll find solutions.”— Greta Thunberg in UK Parliament

     

    “We need to change the system, as if we were in crisis, as if there were a war going on.” [Source]

    The omission of war is quite an interesting oversight considering Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. A Norwegian lawmaker who nominated Thunberg for the prize states that “climate threats are perhaps one of the most important contributions to war and conflict.” – yet no one in a position of power and influence states the opposite reality: war and conflict are one of the most important contributions to the climate threat.

    Recently, there was one small exception. On June 26, 2019, Thunberg retweeted a post on militarism’s contribution to climate change. The following morning on June 27, 2019, at 7am, an article authored by Bill McKibben (referenced earlier in this act) on minimizing militarism’s impact, was published by The New York Review of Books.

    Rather than a call for a global general strike that could “make the economy scream” in defiance of US militarism – the largest polluter in the world, a call for a global strike has been issued by Thunberg et al. for Friday, September 20, 2019 – which will launch the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019. An institution and summit that bows down to corporate power and Annex 1 NATO states. An institution that has been successfully captured by the WEF – the architects of the fourth industrial revolution.

    “The UN Climate Action Summit team invites input and leadership from businesses in the planning of the event throughout the year, and is working with the UN Global Compact, the We Mean Business coalition, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum to coordinate these efforts.”

     

    — Briefing on Private Sector Engagement in the UN Climate Action Summit, 2019 [Emphasis added]

     

    “To strengthen and preserve this [Liberal World] order, however, will require a renewal of American leadership in the international system. The present world order has been forged by many hands and peoples, but the role of the United States in both shaping and defending it has been critical. American military power, the dynamism of the U.S. economy, and the great number of close alliances and friendships that the United States enjoys with other powers and peoples have provided the critical architecture in which this liberal world order has flourished. A weakening of America’s commitment or its capabilities, or both, would invariably lead to its collapse.”

     

    Strengthening the Liberal World Order, A World Economic Forum White Paper, April 25, 2016 [Emphasis added]

    Emerging from Emergency – Harnessing the Momentum

    Citizen protests and legal actions against companies, governments and individuals will undoubtedly become an increasing leverage opportunity in support of this emergency approach and have already begun.”

     

    Club Of Rome “The Climate Emergency Plan”, launched with We Don’t Have Time and Global Utmaning, December, 2018

    The July 4, 2019 high-level Roundtable “Emerging from Emergency – Urgency as a Catalyst for Action and Regeneration” again introduces as the original cast of the Manufacturing for Consent series:

    “The Club of Rome will take part in the inaugural London Climate Action Week, which runs from 1st – 8th July. Co-President, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, will speak at a GLOBE international event (1st July) at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, on the role of parliament in responding to the Climate Emergency. On Thursday 4th July, the Club of Rome will host a high-level Roundtable at Chatham House (“Emerging from Emergency) on harnessing the momentum generated by the growing climate emergency narrative, to shift from mere declarations to action. The meeting will convene the various strands of the climate emergency and sustainability space – activists, problem-holders and solution providers – in order to co-design concrete solutions for genuine impact.  – invite only.” [Source]

    February 10, 2019: Sandrine Dixson, #voicefortheplanet, #newdealfornature

    February 10, 2019: Sandrine Dixson, #voicefortheplanet, #newdealfornature

     

    Until recently, Sandrine Dixson was Chief Partnership Officer for UN Agency Sustainable Energy for All. Prior to this position, Dixson served as the Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) (also referred to as EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change). CLG, a co-founder of We Mean Business, is the same group of corporations that the climate umbrella group TckTckTck (now simply known as GCCA) had partnered with in its formation prior to COP15 – that threw the G77 states under the bus in Copenhagen, in servitude to their funders. Dixson’s bio is extensive as are her past and current advisory positions inclusive of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). She is a member of The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Advisory Board; former vice chair of the European Biofuels Technology Platform, a former board member of We Mean Business and served on the Advisory Board of the Oil and Gas major African oil corporation Sasol. Dixson worked with Al Gore in 1992. In 2017 she served as moderator for Norwegian CCS policy at a seminar in the European Parliament. [Full bio]

    July 10, 2019: The Under2 Coalition (The Climate Group): “Global ‘Climate Emergency’ declarations are soaring as governments work towards long-term carbon neutrality.” The Climate Group business campaigns “are brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition.”

    The challenge now is to shift from merely sounding the alarm to giving policy-makers and the business community the policy tools and levers of change which genuinely respond to the emergency.”

     

    City of London website

    The “Emerging from Emergency” roundtable event was organized by The Club of Rome in partnership with EIT Climate-KICETC/SystemIQWe Mean Business and E3G.

    “The challenge now is to shift from merely sounding the alarm to giving policy-makers and the business community the policy tools and levers of change which genuinely respond to the emergency. The other key intervenors for this session are: Nigel Topping (We Mean Business), Chad Frischman (Project Drawdown) and Cynthia Scharf (Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative).” [Source]

    If only to demonstrate the degree of overlap, here it is of interest that the president and executive director of the Sunrise Movement is Michael Dorsey a full member of the Club of Rome. [ACT V]

    +++

    “And that’s the real question faction the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?”

     

    Black Power by Stokely Carmichael, 1966

    As media hypes the global climate mobilizations in perfect synchronicity with a tsunami of “12 years until climate apocalypse” news articles saturating our collective psyches, global climate emergency declarations announced by states, and all levels of government, are indeed soaring. As this series has demonstrated, and as confirmed by the July 4, 2019, high-level roundtable (“Emerging from Emergency – Urgency as a Catalyst for Action and Regeneration”) this feat has been a high-level orchestrated endeavour. Indeed, the stakes could not be higher. Late-stage capitalism is faltering with economic growth in freefall. The climate mobilizations beget the declarations, beget the policy, beget the budgets, beget the finance.

    The policy and legislation are instrumental to unlocking the public funds for so-called “climate infrastructure” projects (predominantly in the Global South). Infrastructure and technologies that will be paid by the citizenry, to be owned by the billionaires. We must never lose sight that the terrifying news regarding our rapidly deteriorating natural world is real, but the reason for the media saturation (spectacle) has nothing to do with protecting the natural world nor the climate – and everything to do with rebooting global economic growth and saving the capitalist system itself. Consider the Global Optimist meme shared by We Mean Business: “People are desperate for something to happen.” The message is this: No one can save you but us. Accept our solutions, or die. Another world is possible, but only if that world is designed by the ruling classes that maintain and expand current power structure. One could call this psychological manipulation, or hegemonic coercion.

    This is the gentle transition into the new age of neo-feudalism. Social engineering and behavioural change campaigns have been employed to make hierarchical class invisible, in real time.

    The environmental NGOs comprising the non-profit industrial complex exist as corporate front groups. They insulate, protect, and assist in the expansion of existing power structures that facilitate capitalism. NGOs cannot and will not stop climate change because this would be counterintuitive to why they were created. They are funded to the tune of trillions by foundations which, in many cases, assisted in their development and incubation, because they function precisely as they were designed to function.

    The answers to the multiple ecological crises upon us, will not be found within the capitalist system that created them. Continuing down this path of denial is time wasted while the world burns.

    “Capitalism is borne on manic wings. The economic elite move from corporate skyscrapers and high rise rooftops in order to travel by helicopter, where upon landing, they board private, luxury jets, then, whereupon landing again, they are transported by helicopter to corporate skyscrapers and high rise rooftops. Touching the earth is a fleeting experience. The ruling class have lost touch with ground level verities. In a classical sense, such displays of hubris were understood as the progenitor of madness. The gods first elevate those they drive mad.”

     

    Bodies on the Ground and the Rise and Rise of the Economic Elite, August 12, 2019

     

     

    End Notes

    [1] On May 30, 2007 it was announced that “HSBC has created a five-year, US$100 million partnership to respond to the urgent threat of climate change world-wide with the support of The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and WWF… HSBC’s US$100 million partnership – including the largest donations to each of these charities and the largest donation ever made by a British company.” [Source]

    [2] “Christiana Figueres, Prof Tim Flannery, Nancy Fraser, KC Golden, Tom BK Goldtooth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dr John Hewson, John Holloway, Prof Lesley Hughes, Tomás Insua, Satvir Kaur, Barbara Kingsolver, Winona LaDuke, Jenni Laiti, Bruno Latour, Annie Leonard, Michael Mann, Gina McCarthy, Heather McGhee, Luca Mercalli, Moema Miranda, Jennifer Morgan, Tadzio Müller, Kumi Naidoo, Mohamed Nasheed, Carlo Petrini, Dr Anne Poelina, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Sarsgaard, Dr Vandana Shiva, Rebecca Solnit, Gus Speth, Prof Will Steffen, Tom Steyer, Chris Taylor, Terry Tempest-Williams, Aurélie Trouvé, Farhana Yamin, Lennox Yearwood are signatories to this article.” [Source]

    [3] INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

    • Accountable Now
    • Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD)
    • ActionAid International
    • Amnesty International
    • Avaaz (GCCA co-founder)
    • CAN International
    • CARE International
    • CIVICUS
    • Christian Aid
    • Demand Climate Justice
    • Earth Day Network
    • Earth Strike
    • Extinction Rebellion
    • Fridays for Future
    • Friends of the Earth International
    • Fund our Future
    • Global Catholic Climate Movement
    • Global Forest Coalition
    • Global Greengrants Fund
    • Global Justice Now
    • Global Policy Forum
    • GreenFaith
    • Greenpeace International
    • Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
    • Indigenous Environment Network (IEN)
    • International Student Environmental Coalition
    • International Tibet Network
    • International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
    • Oil Change International
    • Our Kids’ Climate
    • Oxfam
    • Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
    • Parents for Future Global
    • Patagonia
    • Polar Bears International
    • Slow Food
    • War on Want
    • Women’s March Global
    • World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF)
    • Yes! 4 Humanity

     

    Raising the Alarm – On the Capitalists Seeking to Profit from the Climate Crisis

    Statement from the Wrong Kind of Green Collective

     

    May 10, 2019

     

    Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion among the online community concerning our six-act investigative series “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg”. Some have continued to question the veracity of the information compiled by Wrong Kind of Green (WKOG).

    Our series sought to illustrate how Thunberg’s image is being both propelled and exploited by various entities interested in promoting certain projects and ideas that will benefit their stock portfolios and bank accounts under the guise of “saving the planet”. In this regard, WKOG felt compelled to respond to some of the allegations made about our work, specifically those in a recent article by Media Lens in which our work was presented as playing a prominent part in influencing public opinion alongside those who are trying to disparage Thunberg and her symbolic role at the heart of the youth climate movement.

    The fact is that WKOG has never made any claims that Thunberg was knowingly or willingly complicit in the machinations of those who are utilizing her presence as the head of the youth climate movement for their own nefarious ends. As we have no information on which to make such a claim, it would be against journalistic principles for us to express such thoughts. Doing so would simply trivialize our work with baseless claims and false allegations.

    Instead, WKOG merely presented the facts regarding Thunberg’s associations. Thunberg could be a mere dupe in these relationships, but there is no refuting the key points which reveal that these relationships do actually exist and are not figments of the imagination, or conspiracy theories. Ultimately, Thunberg has entered into an alliance with people and organisations who have ulterior motives.

    The current mass mobilization of the youth and the “green movement” is being sensationalized and exploited. This has been described by members of the elite and organizers as the “herding of cats”. Their objective – the furthering of the goals and dominance of the ruling class. By any unbiased analysis of the information provided in the series, the primary concern is in securing the economy and financial system, with saving the planet via a benign capitalism, a mere afterthought. This can best be described as the equivalent of the old idiom in trying to “have your cake and eat it too”.

    On a deeper note, as much of the online conversation resides around a critique of our motivation for publishing the series, WKOG must ask what is the motivation of those promoting the Green New Deal. Is the Green New Deal inclusive to peoples in the Global South who bear the brunt of Western carbon emissions? Are they to have the middle class lifestyles we hold as sacrosanct and proof of our social and cultural superiority? Will this Green New Deal bring modernization to the rest of the world when said modernization is still dependent on infrastructure built by fossil fuels, such as roads, houses, cars and manufactured goods. How is this going to benefit the victims?

    As no one in the mainstream is asking pointed questions such as these, evidenced by the lack of any mention as to how this will serve the interests of the non-Western world, the Green New Deal is simply a means of maintaining the status quo from a material aspect between those in the Global North and its marginalized counterparts in the Global South.

    This all being portrayed as some sort of altruistic answer which allows us to continue our resource-intensive lifestyles under the pretense that we can solve the carbon emissions issue at the root of this problem. This bears no semblance whatsoever to our biophysical realities, nor our planetary boundaries.

    In merely attempting to address these broad questions by placing microscopic focus on the connections between Thunberg and the major players behind the Green New Deal, the financialization of nature, and other supposed benign technocratic instruments, WKOG takes umbrage at the casting of aspersions against our character and integrity, in particular when it comes to our group being a part of the climate denial trope that is a major part of the mainstream Western world. As WKOG outlined in the series, the panacea of green technology is a ruse to enrich a new section of oligarchs trying to join the other robber barons who have comprised the upper class of the capitalist system since its inception. WKOG has laid out in painstaking detail the stakeholders behind the financial instruments who are investing in ‘clean’ renewable energy which is supposedly going to address the global environmental problem worsening with each passing day.

    In shining a light on all this, we are in no way doing the work of those who are climate deniers. As we have no control over what entities use our resources, WKOG is powerless in dictating who shares our exhaustive research. It is a sad state of affairs when such critically important work is embraced by those on the right and shunned by those on the “left”. If we had legitimate grassroots environmental and social justice groups leading a united movement, this would not be the case.

    What the series represents more than anything else is that WKOG merely elicits the reader to ask questions, such as: Is it acceptable to do “something” even if you know that something isn’t good enough? Is it acceptable to encourage an alcoholic to lightly curtail his or her drinking when the condition is so far advanced that cirrhosis of the liver is still a certainty by drinking at all? Does it make sense to enable a grossly overweight person in making a facile attempt to eat better when the diet still consists of the unhealthiest items imaginable, such as a diet Coke with an extra large pizza? Hence, if we know the “solutions” will fail to solve the problem, then what good are we honestly doing in pretending that they will?

    In that vein, WKOG is not here to force change on anyone. Our only goal is to enlighten the public and present the truth as to what is happening with as much evidence as we can find. This is not the truth as we see it; these are the facts and we simply share them for people to make of them what they will.

    We were asked to respond to a statement made by Greta Thunberg regarding one of the relationships we highlighted in our series. [1] We wish to make clear that it is not our place to make an addendum to our article as though we had spread a falsehood. In essence, the author of this Media Lens piece is asking WKOG to print a quasi-retraction as if we had actually written something untrue about the relationship. If anything, the response by Thunberg constitutes proof that what WKOG published was based in fact. As journalists, it is not our place to defend or eviscerate Thunberg. The statement published on Thunberg’s Facebook page in response to the information that we provided, in fact, validated our work as far as its veracity. If “We Don’t Have Time” did something untoward to Thunberg, then it is their responsibility to apologize for their misstep, not WKOG. Hence, an addendum in an apologetic tone from WKOG would be an explicit admission that we did something wrong when that is far from the case.

    WKOG stands by our reporting on this matter and we will continue to defend our work since we are in full agreement that there is no more pressing issue than the protection of Mother Earth, for the survival of life as we know it. If anything, our critique of all these various characters is proof of how seriously we take this matter. As we are now so far down the rabbit hole, the last thing we need is half measures and lip service from the people in power. We must also highlight how the public is being misled by those in power – even if the message falls on deaf ears, causes rancor among the masses and ultimately makes them disparage us instead of the ones who are leading them astray.

    Finally, WKOG would like to thank everyone who supports the investigative series. We are always willing to engage in civil conversation about the content of our work and defend it vociferously. WKOG only requests that any allegations have merit and do not venture into baseless accusations. There has unfortunately been too much of the latter, based on emotion rather than legitimate criticism.

     

    [1]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

     

     

     

    Extinction Rebellion or Socialist Revolution

    Architects for Social Housing

    April 24, 2019

    By Simon Elmer

    On Easter Sunday, after a week of protests and over a thousand arrests, Extinction Rebellion’s political circle coordinator, the climate change lawyer Farhana Yamin, announced that the week of protests in London would now be ‘paused’ as commuters went back to work and shop. This would show, she said – although she didn’t say whom it would be showing – that ‘we are not a rabble’.

    Above: L-R: Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International, Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project, Generation Investment, Farhana Yamin, Track 0, Extinction Rebellion. Yamin helped “midwife” the Paris climate agreement

    This is not language that anyone who has organised or participated in popular protest, and has seen their efforts dismissed as the actions of a ‘rabble’ by politicians, newspapers and the BBC the following day, would ever use. Its implications are that any popular protest that can’t be switched on and off by its leaders, or at least its lawyers, is a rabble. As such, the statement is taking great care to differentiate the Extinction Rebellion protests from, most contemporaneously, the 23 weeks of Gilets Jaunes protests in France.

    And, indeed, where the protests of the Gilets Jaunes have been a genuinely popular uprising that has avoided leadership and allegiance with already existing political parties or unions, has so far refused to be dragged to the negotiating table by offers of concessions from politicians, and has physically stood up to the violence of the French police, Extinction Rebellion, in contrast, appears to have a leadership – although it’s not clear who that is at present – and, according to its official announcement, is directing its protests specifically towards the negotiating table. It is also very deliberately non-confrontational with the British police.

    This appears to be based on a prior agreement with the Metropolitan Police Force. From both Extinction Existence spokespersons and the Met there have been widely reported statements about the light-touch the police have taken towards protesters. There have been claims, from people I spoke to on Waterloo Bridge on Wednesday night, that there are simply ‘too many’ protesters for the Met to clear; that the ‘passivity’ of the protesters, as one tabloid reported, has disarmed the police; that police have been ‘really, really nice’, as I heard a protester with a microphone tell the listening crowd from a parked truck, to those they have arrested; and that the police ‘don’t do kettling anymore’.

    Now, this is all rubbish. The Met alone has 50,000 officers, and even without the various other armed forces the Mayor of London and UK government can draw on, they could quite easily clear away the protests on Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square and Marble Arch in a matter of hours, and they could do so, as they usually do, under the cover of darkness having sealed off the relevant streets from the press, media and public. They could also quite easily charge each and every protester, no matter how passive they are, and issue them with a dispersal order making their return to the sites of protest a criminal offence. And I can report from first-hand knowledge that a cop spraying someone in the face with CS-gas or punching them in the throat compels even the most peace-loving hippy to raise his or her arms in protection, and that’s all it requires for a charge of ‘Assault PC’. Extinction Rebellion requires that all participants ‘maintain nonviolent discipline both externally and internally’, which may be very admirable but does not dictate how violent the police are in return. As for not kettling anymore, that’s exactly what the police did in Oxford Circus, although it didn’t stop them allowing Emma Thompson through (and presumably back again) to address the press from the pink yacht moored there.

    Extinction-rebellion-peaceful

    So the otherwise inexplicable circumstances that have permitted a truck and a yacht to block two of the major thoroughfares in London for a week can only be explained as a result of a prior agreement between the leadership of Extinction Rebellion and the Metropolitan Police Force, most likely through the accommodations of the London Mayor, who likes to depict himself as an environmentalist while doing nothing to curb CO2 emissions and authorising the destruction of our green spaces for new developments.

    Something very similar to this happened in July 2017 when the Tories Out! demonstration was held in London, and the whole thing kicked off in Portland Place, just up the road from Oxford Circus, with an even bigger truck than the one Extinction Rebellion parked on Waterloo Bridge. At the time I wondered how the organisers of the march had got permission for such an occupation, but it quickly became clear that, behind its ostensibly ‘grass-roots’ and popular appearance, this was a Labour Party-organised event that had appropriated the language and spectacle of street protest to serve its parliamentary aspirations.

    not_one_day_more-11

    Earlier that year, in February 2017, a demonstration against Donald Trump, also purporting to be popular, was held in Parliament Square, on which had been erected a huge stage, with a lineup of musical acts, performance poets, a gospel choir and speakers from the Houses of Parliament. Again, I was struck by the fact that this ‘protest’ was in a Government Security Zone, where the Metropolitan Police Force has free reign to arrest and otherwise assault you on the mere suspicion that you’re about to do something anti-social let alone illegal, and that holing a march there requires prior authorisation from the London Mayor – who had in fact given it. And, once again, it turned out that this ‘popular’ protest was in fact organised by Owen Jones, the Socialist Workers Party, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, Unite the Union, Momentum, and other fronts for the Labour Party.

    To its credit, Extinction Rebellion has distanced itself – at least verbally – from any political party or pre-existing organisation, such as the Green Party or Greenpeace, and in this it has common ground with the Gilets Jaunes. And in doing so it is strategically different from the so-called ‘grass roots’ Labour fronts that have reduced the equally effusive housing movement of 2015 to the obedient acolytes for Jeremy Corbyn of 2019. But apart from its adoption of the spectacle of street protest, which has presumably drawn into these protests far more people than are aligned with the umbrella organisation, Extinction Rebellion also clearly has more than a few quid behind it. The first thing I thought when I saw the pink yacht moored in Oxford Circus was not: ‘What a great way to block the busiest high street in London!’, but: ‘Who’s got a yacht to spare?’ (though I have no doubt it will be returned by the police to its rightful owner – the right to property being the only human right observed in the UK). So, where’s the money coming from?

    On its website Extinction Rebellion says that its raised £180,000 in the past six months, some of it from donors, a lot from grant funds, even more from crowdfunding. This doesn’t strike me as anything like enough to pull off the stunts it has. And even if it is, it doesn’t explain the far greater influence it has on the London Mayor, the Met, Transport for London, the media, and all the other forces of the establishment that might otherwise have been expected to rally in organising opposition to it, as they have for instance, in silencing the protests against London’s housing crisis and homelessness.

    A clue might have been let slip last Thursday when, on the advertisement that is wrapped around the front and back pages of the London Evening Standard, beneath the headline: ‘Fourth day of chaos from climate protests’, Adidas has taken out a double-page spread with the sales-pitch: ‘We can’t change the world in one day. But we can take the first step.’ This was followed by a masterpiece of salesmanship specifically designed to appeal to the youth market:

    ‘For the past 6 years we have been working on a product that you’ll never throw away. A shoe that is made to be remade. You buy them – wear them – and when you’re done you give them back to us. We remake them. It is our first step. A statement of intent to end the problem of waste. We have a problem with plastic waste. We buy, we use, we throw away. But there is no away. Every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence somewhere on our planet. In our ecosystem. Poisoning our earth. Before this makes-use-waste e-system changes everything, we must change it.’

     

    For some time now I’ve been arguing that protesting is the new clubbing, and just as multinational corporations very quickly turned the underground scene of acid house and rave into a form of stadium rock in the 1990s, so the same corporations – which shape and mould our desires and future far more than the Houses of Parliament – have cottoned on to the fact that in the 2010s the newest popular social phenomenon on which they can capitalise – and in doing so subsume that phenomenon into a reaffirmation of capitalism – is protest.

    Why else, if not in order to appeal to a teenage consumer market, has Extinction Rebellion chosen a 16-year old Swedish girl in pigtails to be its global spokesperson? Protesters might argue that in doing so they are using the strategy of mass marketing against itself, but in that struggle there can be only one winner, and its name is Adidas, Nike, McDonalds, Coco-Cola, etc.

    But besides finding new markets for their environment-consuming commodities, why else would multi-national corporations be interested in climate change?

    Please read the rest of the article at the Architects for Social Housing website:

    Extinction Rebellion: Socialist Revolution

     

    WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

    WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

    sub.Media

    Published April 2, 2019

     

    “We’re on the brink of a new era. In the coming years and decades, rapid advances in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, data analysis, nanotech, quantum computing, bio-engineering and 3D-printing promise to drastically restructure our societies – much as the steam-powered engine and personal computer did during earlier phases of capitalist development. Coming waves of automation are expected to eliminate the majority of current job categories, raising the spectre of widespread unemployment and the potential for newer, more sophisticated forms of economic servitude and social control. These transformations will take place under the watchful eyes of a high-tech surveillance state, aided by a new generation of AI-driven facial recognition software, and the further proliferation of networked ‘smart’ devices that record nearly everything we say or do.

    Many of the technologies of tomorrow are being designed today in the universities and corporate R&D labs of Shenzen, Singapore and Silicon Valley, by scientists and engineers working at the behest of military contractors and multi-billion dollar tech companies. Claims that ‘technology is neutral’ ring hollow in a world dominated by powerful states and capitalist social relations. It’s clear to anyone keeping score that those who control and shape technological development and mass production are best situated to reap the benefits. But at the end of the day, capital and the state don’t hold a monopoly on innovation. There are many anarchists also working on building new technologies to help thwart our enemies and unlock new paths of resistance. And despite what you may have heard, the master’s tools can be used to dismantle the master’s home – provided the person swinging the hammer knows where to aim.” [Source: sub.Media] [Running time: 33:26]

     

     

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue [ACT IV]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue [ACT IV]

    February 3, 2019

     

    By Cory Morningstar

     

    This is ACT IV of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

     

    In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

     

    “What’s infuriating about manipulations by the Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest the goodwill of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given the skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

     

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes.

    [Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I] [Book form]

    [Volume II: An Object Lesson In SpectacleACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT V • ACT VI] [ACTS VII & VIII forthcoming]

    • A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign [A Short Story] [Oct 2 2019]

    • The Global Climate Strikes: No, this was not co-optation. This was and is PR. A brief timeline [Oct 6 2019]

     

    Volume I:

    In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the foundation established by “We Don’t Have Time”, a burgeoning mainstream tech start-up. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

    In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

    In ACT IV, I examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarize who and what this mode is to serve.

    In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

    In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

    With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

    Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

    [*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

     

     

    A C T   I V

     

    Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

    “15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol’s words “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”, which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.” [1]

    As Greta Thunberg is the founding block of this particular story, revisiting Sweden with the above observation feels like a good place to start part IV of this series where we deconstruct the ongoing marketing campaign with the most recent activity.

    Let’s begin.

    January 25, 2019: “Finally, we have to applaud the lineup for Thursday’s lunchtime panel. Marc Benioff was joined on the stage by Jane Goodall, Bono, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, diplomat and environmentalist Christiana Figueres, President & CEO of Sompo Holdings Kengo Sakurada, and will.i.am. What a crew.” Photo by Jeff Elder | Source: “The 10 Best Moments From Davos With Salesforce

    On Thursday January 24, 2019, Greta Thunberg took part in a lunch panel presented by Marc Benioff at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Benioff is the CEO and founder of Salesforce, as well as a co-founder of Breakthrough Energy (nuclear) with Bill Gates and other kindred billionaires. Also on the panel were Jane Goodall (United Nations Messenger of Peace), Bono (U2 lead singer and “activist”), “will.i.am” (Black Eyed Peas founder and “philanthropist”) and the young Greta Thunberg who made the following statement [0:40s]:

    Thunberg’s words were quickly launched into the international stratosphere of global media outlets and social media.

    CNN, January 25, 2019:

    “On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included music stars Bono and Will.i.am, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, and an array of bankers and investors. She roasted them.

     

    “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame,” Thunberg said flatly. “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

    Here it is vital to note the usage of language: impromptu and roasted.

    France 24, January 25, 2019:

    “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we have all created, but that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue to make unimaginable amounts of money. And I think that many of you here today belong to that group of people,” she said in her impromptu speech, delivered without a moment’s hesitation.”

    EZ News, January 27, 2019:

    “On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs president and Trump administration official Gary Cohn, musicians Bono and Will.i.am, and an array of bankers and investors.”

    Pluralist, January 28, 2019:

    “Greta Thunberg reportedly took a 32-hour train from her home in Sweden to the Swiss retreat and camped out in zero degrees-Fahrenheit temperatures to deliver an impromptu roast of the celebrities and economic titans. In a speech at lunch, she accused the high-profile guests of causing the warming of the planet that they had spent the prior several days grandstanding about fixing.”

    As demonstrated in the above talking points, there is much emphasis from the international media to establish the idea that Thunberg’ speech was spontaneous. As we will illustrate, it was not. This is merely an example of effective story-telling being put into practise, as orchestrated by the NGOs and corporate alliances that are handling Thunberg.

    On January 22, 2019, three days prior to the “impromptu speech” at the WEF, a video was uploaded onto YouTube by  Uphill Media. [“Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet.”][2]

    In this video of Thunberg speaking, filmed prior to her traveling from Stockholm to Davos, the key talking points within the message [3] [26 seconds in] are almost verbatim to the “impromptu” speech at WEF:

    January 22, 2019 video:

    “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.”

    January 25, 2019, WEF lunch panel:

    “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created. But that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

    This was not lost on the WEF organizers, whom, in a concerted effort with Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, were already sharing the Swedish ecommercial within the WEF event and on social media – prior to the Salesforce lunch panel where Thunberg would cite the passages for media. The attempt by the media, and forces at play, to frame the speech as spontaneous, regardless if it was deliberate or not, evokes a layer of child-like authenticity by the messenger, if not the message itself. In spite of the motive, this is disingenuous to say the least.

    January 23, 2019, Extinction Rebellion:

    https://youtu.be/5Fo69sPq_Og

    Greenpeace International, twitter account, January, 22, 2019:

    This compounds with other earmarks of a well-orchestrated media campaign.

    On December 15, 2018, Thunberg was thrust into international stardom following a speech at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, that was published  on December 15, 2018 by Conect4Climate (a global partnership program under the World Bank) and other outlets. The video quickly went viral. The speech as described by Quartz, (December 15, 2018) is representative of how global media framed the event to the public:

    “Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg minced no words at the COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland this week. Speaking to the assembled countries Wednesday, at the most important climate negotiating meeting since the Paris talks in 2015… In a speech lasting under five minutes, Thunberg castigated leaders at the talks for decades of inaction and too-small steps in the face of climate crisis”

    Yet, a poor editing job in a Swedish newsroom inadvertently revealed yet another inconvenient truth – there was almost no one in the auditorium when Thunberg spoke:

    Video: Greta Thunbergs tal i Katowice enligt SvT Morgonstudion [Running time: 1m:15s]

    Such inconsistencies between the real intent of the World Economic Forum [“Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”] and the re-framing for public perception are best captured in the following images shared on social media:

    This bit of social engineering is stunning in it’s blatancy. Like magic, the telling word “salesforce” and the phrase “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” no longer appear in the image.

    Gone are the obvious contradictions between the unprecedented magnitude of precious Earth metals including Coltan and Cobalt – a key requirement for the “fourth industrial revolution”, which the mining of has decimated the chimp population Goodall claims to advocate for. [Jane Goodall Institute: “Many of the metals and minerals used in these technologies are extracted from threatened chimpanzee habitats across the Congo Basin. Control over these resources has also fueled conflict among people — conflict that has resulted in the deaths of more than five million people.”]

    Such is the primary role of the non-profit industrial complex.

    The Climate Mobilization     

    “We launched at the People’s Climate March in 2014 as the first group organizing for a WWII-scale climate response, an idea that had emerged as a hidden consensus among climate experts.” [Source]

    Here, we have an NGO that would very much appreciate Thunberg’s sober and “flat” (CNN) delivery style. The Climate Mobilization.[4] Founded in 2014, at  the People’s Climate March, the founder and executive director of this US NGO is psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon.

    The Climate Mobilization has one primary goal: “Our mission is to save civilization”. [Source] To do so, Salamon outlines a “wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home front effort during World War II”:

    “The Climate Mobilization is a growing group of people who know that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization within this century. We believe, along with many well-respected scientists and environmental analysts, that the only way to preserve a climate that is safe, stable, and supportive of human civilization is to fight climate change with a World War II-scale mobilization.”

    Salamon’s strength, as a psychologist specializing in climate change, is exactly what Annex I states across the world are now embracing via the establishment of “nudge units”. That is, the implementation and use of behavioural science for policy within government. [“Salamon earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Via Climate Mobilization, Salamon applies her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is the author of the blog The Climate Psychologist.”]

    The 2014 People’s Climate March was organized by the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck), Climate Nexus (“Climate Nexus is dedicated to changing the conversation on climate change”), 350.org, USCAN and Avaaz/Purpose. At the helm of this NGO assemblage was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund working with the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

    Additionally, Climate Nexus is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a 501(c)3 organization.

    “When the Climate Mobilization was founded at the People’s Climate March in 2014, there was no climate group publically organizing around the need for WWII-scale emergency speed transition. Since then, we have worked to establish an active ’emergency climate movement’ wing of the broader climate movement.” [Source]

    Eleven of The Climate Mobilization advisory board members include:

    • Betsy Taylor: president of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions consulting firm, co-founder of 1Sky (financed by the Clinton Global Initiative) that merged with 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation) in 2011, advisory boards include 350.org and Ceres (350.org investment partner)
    • Laura Dawn Murphy: former creative director for MoveOn.Org [parent of Avaaz]
    • Paul Gilding: former executive director of Greenpeace International, strategy advisor and founder of Changing Markets Foundation [“The Changing Markets Foundation was formed to accelerate and scale up solutions to sustainability challenges by leveraging the power of markets.” Clients include Unilever, BHP Billiton, DSM, Ford and DuPont.]
    • Jamila Raqib: executive director of Albert Einstein Institute [“Raqib has worked with Dr. Gene Sharp, the world’s foremost scholar on strategic nonviolent action since 2002. As the director of the Albert Einstein Institute she promotes the study and use of strategic nonviolent action.”]
    • Gus Speth: founder of the World Resources Institute and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council
    • Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr: president of the Hip Hop Caucus
    • Richard Heinberg: senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute
    • Lise Van Susteren: American psychiatrist, named to the board of directors of Al Gore’s The Climate Project in 2009, organized the first conference to focus on the psychological impacts of climate change in 2009, co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Climate Change” published by the National Wildlife Federation where she serves on the board
    • Michael Mann: American climate scientist
    • David Spratt and Philip Sutton: Spratt is the director of Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. [Breakthrough collaborates with the Club of Rome.] Spratt and Sutton co-authored the book Climate Code Red in 2008

    [Full list]

    [The interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) is extensive. As this series focuses on the marketing strategy itself, more than those constructing it, the above bios are purposely brief.]

    The Climate Mobilization’s foray into politics began with “Mobilize California” (#Mobilizeca) campaign. Leading the effort with The Climate Mobilization was Naomi Klein and her Leap NGO (Leap L.A. Coalition), as well as a coalition of “like minded organizations”.

    The coalition, in partnership with Los Angeles City councilmember Paul Koretz, sought to initiate a “WWII-scale Climate Mobilization of L.A.”

    Video: Naomi Klein at launch of Los Angeles Climate Justice Mobilization 2025 Working Group [4m:59s]

    By May 2018 the council voted unanimously “to explore the establishment of the country’s first climate emergency mobilization department and set aside $500,000 in seed money toward the effort. In June 2018, Berkeley declared a climate emergency and committed to an Emergency Climate Mobilization and Just Transition to end greenhouse gas emissions and begin drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere as quickly as possible.” Other cities would soon follow. [Source]

    Here it is critical to note the language: “drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere.” Long gone are discussions on reducing or cutting carbon emissions. This is not coincidence. Rather it is again, strategic.

    Two days prior to the 2014 People’s Climate March, on September 19, 2014, the article titled “The Founder of The Climate Mobilization Talks With Bridget Read About How Psychology—Not Science—May Be the Key to Ending America’s Climate Denial” reported the following:

    “In 356 words, The Climate Mobilization’s Pledge to Mobilize calls on the United States government to commence a World War Two-scale mobilization to fight climate change: to decrease our net greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2025, to deploy a system of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere with wartime speed, and to make reducing net GHGs 100% globally, with the same swiftness, a top political priority.”

    The Climate Mobilizations influence within the NPIC is articulated in the following text outlining its groundwork with the US Democratic Party platform, as well as the Green New Deal:

    “The evidence of impact is clear, as assertive wings of the Democratic Party [5] as well as chapters of organizations such as 350.org and the Sierra Club adopt our prescriptions as core demands. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signed our Pledge to Mobilize and has been outspoken specifically for the need for emergency mobilization as part of the push for a House Select Committee on the Green New Deal.” [Source]

    Today’s re-designing of our Western subjugation is nothing different than what has been unveiled in the past. Whereas education, health, arts, and all sectors of society were shaped and financed by foundations and their capital largesse, today’s “fourth industrial revolution” remains in the clutches of the ruling elite. This includes the 2014 People’s Climate March – where The Climate Mobilization was born.

    Extinction Rebellion (to be discussed in part V) has three very broad demands, the primary one being that governments must “enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025” echoing the talking points brought into the mainstream by the NPIC, the World Bank, et al in 2014.

    The term “net-zero emissions” does not mean zero emissions. Rather, it is the amount of emissions being put into the atmosphere being equal to the amount being “captured.” Net-zero therefore, the requirement for massive investments into the technologies being developed and rolled out by Bill Gate’s “Mission Innovation“. [For an example of this, one can read the much lauded “Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act” [Section 101–5 “We must significantly increase Federal R&D funding to develop and deploy the technologies needed for deep decarbonization in our economy. This was a proposal announced at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates called Mission Innovation, which committed to double government investment in energy technology.”][6] Here, it is vital to recognize that WEF and Mission Innovation formed a partnership on  June 1, 2017.

    Net-zero is carbon capture storage and a host of other technologies that promise business (and emissions) will continue – as usual. Consider the reality that while we are inundated with anti-pipeline protest coverage, there is zero opposition to the carbon capture projects that are slowly coming online, such as the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line in Canada.

    Indeed the inconvenient “zero” [emissions] and “near zero” terminology in the 2014 AR5 Synthesis report, was conveniently transformed to the “net zero” term we now see in the public realm, barely missing a beat.

    But the real question, is how to save capitalism, which is described as being “now in free fall”.  [January 3, 2019]

    With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.

    But before we go further into what we can aptly describe as a politically correct – and unprecedented global bailout, we must look at how collective society can be successfully manipulated and manoeuvred, in order to sanction the release of the funds.

    The very strategy to unlock the public purse – and thus save capitalism itself, is that of a climate emergency.

    #climatestrike + #fridaysforfuture + #ExtinctionRebellion = #climateemergency

    Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: “Our House in On Fire”

    “If you don’t know who Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is, you can think of her as an international climate-change counterpart to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like the rock-star congresswoman from New York, Thunberg is a charismatic young woman whose social-media savvy, moral clarity, and fearless speaking truth to power have inspired throngs of admirers to take to the streets for a better world and call out the politicians and CEOs who are standing in the way..

     

    Thunberg claimed on her Twitter feed that there have been student strikes for climate on every continent except Antarctica—70,000 strikers in total last week. Meanwhile, the Swedish teenager continued to blast the elites in Davos, in flawless English. “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope,'” she said. “But I don’t want your hope…. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” The Kids Are Coming, January 28, 2019, The Nation

     

    In April 2016, The Climate Mobilization published the paper “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement.”

    The strategy document leads with:

    “Imagine there is a fire in your house.

    What do you do?
    What do you think about?

    You do whatever you can to try to put out the fire or exit the house. You make a plan about how you can put out the fire, or how you can best exit the house.

    our senses are heightened, you are focused like a laser, and you put your entire self into your actions.

    You enter emergency mode.”

    -Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode, pg. 2

    In the document, Salamon introduces “the concept of ’emergency mode'”, which is how individuals and groups function optimally during an existential or moral crisis — often achieving great feats through intensely focused motivation.” She articulates that “the goal of the climate movement must be to lead the public out of “normal” mode and into emergency mode”. [p. 2][Emphasis in original.]

    The emergency mode is enacted by the triggering of a switch.

    “This has huge implications for the climate movement’s communication style, advocacy, and strategy. Because emergency mode is contagious, the best strategy is for climate activists and organizations to go into emergency mode themselves, and communicate about the climate emergency, the need for emergency mobilization, and the fact that they are in emergency mode, as clearly and emphatically as possible.” — Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement

    And now, in 2019, we see how the strategy as laid out in the paper, has now been deployed in real time, in real life.

    “Since emotional ads create a deeper and more visceral impression on the memory centers of the brain, marketers are now measuring more cerebral responses to content using neurometrics tools like facial coding, implicit response testing, eye tracking, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).” — The Dangerous Power of Emotional Advertising, April 14, 2016

    Video: January 25, 2019, Greta Thunberg | “Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019” [Running time:6m:3s]

     

    January 25, 2019, ‘Feel the fear’: Climate change is now the talk of Davos, CNN:

    “‘Feel the fear’ – The spirit of the event was reflected in two attendees with little in common: One is a former vice president of the United States; the other a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl. What Al Gore and Greta Thunberg share is anger at corporate executives who aren’t moving quickly enough to address climate change. “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day,” Thunberg told attendees.

     

    • January 23, 2019, WEF, Greta Thunberg, Whatever It Takes

     

    The Crux of the Strategy Document

    The crux of the strategy document, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, is that citizens must first face, then accept that there is a life-threatening emergency in order to go into the necessary emergency mode. Once triggered, this enables the deployment of “a huge amount of resources toward solving the crisis” which would quickly become the clear, top priority for society. [p. 4 & p. 5] The more the climate movement provides “structures for people’s engagement — clear directions and support for people who are ready to tackle the climate emergency — the more people will go into emergency mode.”[p. 7]

    Whereas budget restraint occurs in non-emergency mode, in emergency mode “all available /necessary resources are devoted to the emergency and, if necessary, governments borrow heavily.” [p. 9]

    “Economic mobilization is an emergency restructuring of a modern industrial economy, accomplished at rapid speed. It involves the vast majority of citizens, the utilization of a very high proportion of available resources, and impacts all areas of society. It is nothing less than a government-coordinated social and industrial revolution. Mobilization is what happens when an entire nation enters emergency mode, and the results can be truly staggering.” [p. 8]

    Intentional or not, Salamon’s paper weighs heavy with American exceptionalism. Notes of nationalism and cultural superiority waft throughout the document: “We also made huge advances in the sciences. The first computer was invented, as were blood transfusion and radar technology. The Manhattan Project successfully built the world’s first atomic bomb in less than three years — a morally catastrophic but nonetheless stupendous feat of planning, cooperation and scientific ingenuity.”

    Reflecting the aforementioned observations, gone is the language to reduce or stop emissions. Consider the word “stop” does not appear once in the document, while the word “reduce” has one single entry: “If we only reduce the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on politicians, the problem will solve itself.” [p. 23] Today’s gently persuasive language, is a mirror image of the language and demands drawn out in the strategy document: “restore a safe and stable climate”, “draw down excess CO2” and “cool the planet”.

    “The way we respond to threats — by entering emergency mode or by remaining in normal mode — is highly contagious. Imagine the fire alarm goes off in an office building. How seriously should you take it? How do you know if it is a drill or a real fire? Those questions will be predominantly answered by the actions and communications of the people around you, particularly people designated as leaders. If they are chatting and taking their time exiting the building, you will assume that this is a drill. If people are moving with haste, faces stern and focused, communicating with urgency and gravity, you will assume there is real danger and exit as quickly as possible.” [p. 14]

    The document acknowledges that the climate crisis is a “top threat to the global economy“. (highlighted in red font in the original document). [p. 21] What is not stated, yet understood, is the fact that the climate can also be exploited, to salvage the global economy. In essence, to save capitalism.

    “We cannot be silent about the fact that emergency mobilization can only be coordinated by a “big” government that is granted the power to spend without limit to save as much life as possible.” [p. 22]

    The document also outlines a cheerful camaraderie with the oppressors of the working class and those most marginalized:

    “These pressure campaigns should escalate in degrees of assertiveness, all the way to disruptive protest. However, even in a protest, we must maintain an open, welcoming attitude. Thus, while we will need to be quite confrontational and unwavering, we are not “against” our targets of protest. We gain nothing from demonizing them. We need these leaders to do the right thing. The tone should not be primarily angry, but urgent and insistent.

     

    Rather, the tone should be serious and patriotic. We are calling on America to lead the world in heroic, world-saving action! Protests should involve elements of protestor sacrifice, such as risking arrest or hunger strike, to generate empathy from the public. Maintaining strict non-violence is critical to winning widespread public support and is non-negotiable.” [p. 28]

    This document is astonishing in many ways. Not once does the author pause to reflect upon what specific societies and nations benefit from industrial civilization on our finite planet – and which ones are sacrificed for the same cause.

    The said purpose of the strategy, is not the protection of what remains of the natural world, but rather, to save “organized civilization” [p. 2] and our “functioning global civilization”. [p. 21] The root word of civilization – is civil. And there is nothing civil about the industrial civilization we have built.

    The savagery of our global economic system unleashed upon the biosphere, and both sentient and non-white human life, is certainly nothing to boast about – and certainly nothing to protect. It is the global capitalist economic system, that upholds industrial civilization, which must be deconstructed. It is both ironic and telling that even the societies who have benefited the most from industrialization, those in the West (and especially in North America), have never been more miserable. Today we witness an unprecedented crisis of mental illness and depression – with a massive percentage of  society now dependent upon anti-depressant pharmaceuticals in order to function in a day-to-day existence.

    Yet the most egregious aspect of this document, is that despite the references to Pearl Harbour, the atomic bomb and American war efforts of countless stripes, all cited as glowing examples of American ingenuity, NOWHERE is the militarism’s impact on both climate and ecology mentioned. Consider the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest consumer of oil in the U.S. and the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. With militarism’s phenomenal  contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation – this omission is beyond the pale to say the least. This is the unspoken environmental racism and blatant eco-imperialism that hums beneath the foundational building blocks of the non-profit industrial complex.

    “Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the earth would still be headed, head first and at full speed, toward total disaster for one major reason. The military produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most imminent danger of extinction.” — The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, by Barry Sanders, May 1 2009 [The environmental of militarism podcast]

    The power of conformity is a key aspect of social engineering. Its power is tragically often overlooked and grossly underestimated.

    “Thought Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society: If people in the public eye, and in the public esteem go into emergency mode, they will significantly influence the broader public.” — [p. 30]

    “The Race to Mobilize Is On, Cities around the globe are declaring Climate Emergency and committing to Climate Mobilization. Will your city join them?” The Climate Mobilization website

    Of no surprise whatsoever, is the fact, that since Extinction Rebellions meteoric rise to stardom – in perfect symmetry with Thunberg, the group has announced a massive restructuring of the organization. The global expansion is being led by Salamon, [Source] who launched the Extinction Rebellion US twitter account on October 31, 2018 – the same day as the launch of Extinction Rebellion in the UK. The accompanying US website would launch November 3, 2018 and the US Facebook group account would launch on November 4, 2018. Between the official launch on October 31, 2018, in the UK, to December 6, 2018, it grew to over 130 groups, across 22 countries. [7] By January 29, 2019, the Extinction Rebellion groups spanned across 50 countries. The Extinction Rebellion demands are not only complimentary to The Climate Mobilization’s emergency strategy, they are a mirror image of it with the slogan, “tell the truth”.

     

    • August 31, 2014, Climate Nexus, People's Climate March

    The September 20, 2018, Yale Climate Connections article, “Climate Mobilization Plea: Cities Must Declare Emergency” references the “climate emergency language” gaining momentum in perfect stride with a cohesion of intersecting campaigns: the Thunberg campaign, the Extinction Rebellion protests, the Green New Deal, the general climate strikes, and the FridaysForFuture youth climate strikes.

    “Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and ran for the Democratic nomination, isn’t the only politician drawing parallels between climate change and fascist aggression. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been hailed as an up-and-coming progressive champion, has spoken about the need for a World War II-style commitment to fighting global warming. The Democratic Party in 2016 included similar language in its official platform.

     

    The injection of this messaging into American political discourse can be traced in part to The Climate Mobilization, a largely volunteer-run nonprofit founded in 2014.”

     

    August 15, 2016: “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII”, by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, illustration by Andrew Colin Beck [Source: 350.org]

    “I assume that many activists will continue to be drawn to fossil fuel infrastructure protests. I recommend to them that they work as hard as possible to communicate the way forward (emergency mobilization off fossil fuels and carbon intensive agriculture, plus carbon drawdown to cool the earth back to a safe level) as much as possible in their verbal and non-verbal communications. This can be as simple as wearing Rosie the Riveter bandanas while protesting, displaying a banner demanding WWII-scale climate mobilization to restore a safe climate, and including the demand for net zero emissions by 2025, plus large-scale drawdown, in press releases and web materials.” — April, 2016, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, April 2016 [p. 30]

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    Video: 2-Minute Intro to Climate Mobilization [Running time: 2m:23s]

     

    A Climate of Fear:  Capitalism Is Now in Free Fall

    “Capitalism is in crisis, says World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab.” — January 17, 2017, Deutsche Welle

    Leading up to the January 2019 Davos gathering, a top Wall Street economist warned investors that they face a tough road ahead with global economic growth ‘now in free fall’. The current headlines read like Orson Welle’s economic version of “War of the Worlds”.

    January 3, 2019, The Globe and Mail, “Global economic growth ‘now in free fall’:

    “Merrill Lynch strategist Ajay Singh Kapur recently wrote that “global [economic] growth is now in a broad, deep and persistent slowdown,” creating market conditions that, I believe, will make life treacherous for commodity sectors and beyond…”

    “Since August, 2017, growth in manufacturing activity has been decelerating rapidly, dragging metal prices with them.”

    January 15, 2019:

    Global economic growth is slowing, including in Canada, according to new data from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).”

    January 21, 2019:

    IMF, CEOs Warn of Slowing World Economy on Eve of Davos Summit: “Corporate executives joined the International Monetary Fund in warning the global economy is slowing faster than expected, establishing a downbeat tone for this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.”

    January 21, 2019:

    “China’s 6.6% growth in 2018 is its slowest in nearly 3 decades…”

    February 1, 2019:

    “World’s Largest Pension Fund Loses $136 Billion in Three Months”

    To the Rescue: A Politically Correct Bailout -The Climate Finance Partnership

    “UNLOCKING THE INCLUSIVE GROWTH STORY OF THE 21ST CENTURY – Accelerating Climate Action in Urgent Times – This is our ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Investing the US$90 trillion to build the right infrastructure now will deliver a new era of economic growth. Investing it wisely will help drive innovation, deliver public health benefits, create a host of new jobs and go a long way to tackling the risks of runaway climate change. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, will lock us into a high-polluting, low productivity, and deeply unequal future.” — The New Climate Economy website, Executive Summary  

    Following the September 8, 2018 Rise for Climate mobilization (a follow-up to the People’s Climate March 2014, having been re-branded to the People’s Climate Movement in 2017), the single goal behind the accelerating climate emergency language, was finally unveiled at the September 26, 2018 One Planet Summit in New York:

    “Efforts to blend capital in order to engage and mobilize large-scale institutional capital toward climate solutions took a notable step forward on September 26 at the One Planet Summit in New York, when French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink announced the Climate Finance Partnership (CFP). The CFP consists of a unique combination of philanthropies, governments, institutional investors, and a leading global asset manager. The parties, including BlackRock, the Governments of France and Germany, and the Hewlett, Grantham, and IKEA foundations, have committed to work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.

    September 26, 2018, “Governments and Philanthropies Announce Ground-breaking Partnership with BlackRock to Mobilize and Deploy Climate Finance at Scale”:

    “France, Germany, the Hewlett, Grantham and IKEA foundations, and asset manager BlackRock today announced the Climate Finance Partnership at the One Planet Summit in New York. The Climate Finance Partnership is an unprecedented cooperation between philanthropies, governments and private investors, which have committed to jointly developing an investment vehicle that will aim to invest in climate infrastructure in emerging markets.”

    The two institutions identified as the media contacts for the above unprecedented announcement, are the European Climate Foundation and the aforementioned Climate Nexus – a lead organizer for the 2014 People’s Climate March.

    On November 8, 2018, the article “The Climate Finance Partnership: Mobilizing Institutional Capital to Address the Climate Opportunity” discloses where the money will come from for the “fourth industrial revolution”, sold to the public under the guise of sustainability:

    “Nowhere is the investment gap between what is needed and what is currently flowing greater and more urgent, or the opportunities more significant, than in the world’s developing and emerging markets. These economies are generally characterized by growing populations, rapidly increasing energy demand, and extraordinary infrastructure investment needs. But they also tend to have less developed capital markets and higher political and regulatory risk than their developed country counterparts. Institutional investors may therefore be partially forgiven for moving cautiously, even in the face of compelling long-term economic and demographic drivers.

    A detailed analysis by the World Bank found that while $100 trillion is held by pension funds and other institutional investors, these same investors allocated less than $2 trillion over a 25 year period into infrastructure investment in emerging markets. And the fraction of that investment that could be considered green, clean, or climate-friendly was negligible.

     

    So, what can be done? Whether you choose to look through the lens of unprecedented challenge or unprecedented opportunity, there is violent agreement that institutional capital needs to be “unlocked” (a favorite word on the climate conference circuit) and mobilized quickly and at scale.”

    It is here that the accelerating “demand” for countries to align with the Paris Agreement becomes clear: “The Paris Agreement requires us to align finance flows in support for a low carbon and climate resilient development.” Note the word “requires”. What was considered non-binding one moment, conveniently becomes binding when it involves opening up the treasuries and pension plans to the our corporate overlords.

    No risk, all reward. The double speak of Wall Street is deliberately opaque. Yet, in layman’s terms,  these are simply high-finance words to say there is less risk in using someone else’s money other than your own:

    “Blended finance, or the strategic deployment of public or other concessional capital to de-risk institutional capital investment, offers one compelling answer.” Recently, the Blended Finance Task Force, a broad-based interdisciplinary effort, finalized a comprehensive report identifying key barriers to large-scale institutional capital mobilization toward the Sustainable Development Goals, and then subsequently designed a detailed Action Program to address these barriers.” [Source]

    The Blended Finance Taskforce comprises fifty icons of finance including HSBC, Credit Suisse, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, USAID, WEF –Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP), World Bank, Investec, MacArthur Foundation, Allianz, EBRD, ClimateWorks (founded by the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations) and the Rockefeller Foundation. [Full list]

    “The partnership, coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and the Aligned Intermediary, an investment advisory group, was designed and structured specifically to use a layer of government and philanthropic capital to maximize private capital mobilization toward climate-related sectors in emerging markets.” [Source]

    And here again, is where more stark reality is faintly disclosed:

    “Doing so in partnership with the world’s largest manager and its set of world-class institutional investor clients should send an important signal to fund managers and institutional investors alike that there are profits to be had in sectors and geographies where this capital has not historically deployed

     

    “The partnership will seek to make investments in a targeted set of sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and low-carbon and electrified transportation, across three regions including Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

    Today’s climate emergency mobilization must be recognized for what it is: a strategically orchestrated campaign financed and managed by the world’s most powerful institutions – for the preservation of capitalism and global economic growth.  This is the launch of a new growth industry in the Global South coupled with the creation of new and untapped markets. Leading up to this precipice, The B Team, the Open Society Foundation, Oxfam, and many others that serve as the human face of capitalism, have moved their offices to or set up new divisions in both Africa and Latin America.

    Also of threat, to Western imperialism, is a burgeoning China. And to be clear – there will be no “fourth industrial revolution” for the Western ruling class – without uninterrupted and perpetual access to Africa’s bounty of rare earth minerals and metals:

    “While significant progress has been made on Africa’s political and economic transformation, the continent continues to face significant challenges. Geopolitically, new economic alliances are altering traditional relationships and spheres of influence.” [Source: WEF, 2019]

    The sycophantic NGOs – in servitude, indeed on the very same team as their corporate benefactors, created a literal, albeit virtual firestorm (encapsulated in the mantra “our house is on fire”) – in order to instigate a “climate revolution”. The collective energy of the West stemming from a growing societal discontent, is being captured and utilized – transcending into a new weapon of choice that will aid the further colonization of the Global South.  A climate revolution in name only, this said emergency, has nothing to do with the protection of our Earth – or climate – and never will. Rather, it has everything to do with saving, protecting and expanding the capitalist economy – at the expense of our already decimated planet. And nothing more than that. This oncoming new onslaught of environmental devastation and plunder – in the name of climate revolution – will make all of modern man’s historical violence against nature, up to this point – seem like childish prattle.

    Yet none of this should come as a surprise. As the oligarchs financed, shaped and largely managed the climate movement – it’s only natural that they alone benefit from it. The power-elites repackaged our oppression as revolution and sold it back to us. By exploiting the innocent youth, which in turn exploited our emotions and fears as a collective populace, we devoured it.  And soon, young Greta, and all the youth they have exploited, will be thrown under the bus. It’s all par for the course under capitalism.

     

    +++

     

    The Asche experiment: “During the 1950s Solomon Asch conducted and published a series of experiments that demonstrated the degree to which an individual’s own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group.” [1m:57s]

     

     

     

    End Notes:

    [1] Photographer Nat Finkelstein claimed credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.” The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture.” [Wikipedia]

    [2] “We work with individuals and organizations that are about the issues we face as human beings and meet our partnership guidelines. We offer our platform to scientists, environmentalists, activists, and any individual, group or organization including political candidates that meet these guidelines. Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet. Learn more @ http://UphillMedia.org. Read and share the Democratic Party of Oregon 2018 Platform. https://www.dpoplatform.org/” [Source: YouTube]

    [3] “Some people say that we are not doing enough to fight climate change. But that is not true. Because to “not do enough” you have to do something. And the truth is we are basically not doing anything. Yes, some people are doing more than they can, but they are too few or too far away from power to make a difference today. Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular [has][sic] known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I ask you to stand o the right side of history. I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power to push your own business or government in line with a 1.5 degree world. Will you pledge to do that? Will you pledge to join me, and the people all around the world in doing whatever it takes. [Screen: #whateverittakes]

    [4] “The Climate Mobilization is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit and a sister organization of Climate Mobilization Project (501(c)(3). The Climate Mobilization supports the mission of Climate Mobilization Project through direct lobbying and political work.” [Source: Climate Mobilization Website] [Source]

    [5] “Our organizers successfully intervened in the 2016 Democratic primary elections, bringing WWII-scale Climate Mobilization into the discussion by successfully lobbying presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to embrace the idea. In July 2016, the need for WWII-scale mobilization was adopted into the Democratic Party Platform thanks to Climate Mobilization advisor and ally Russell Greene who was appointed to the platform committee by Bernie Sanders. This commitment was reaffirmed in August 2018 when Democratic National Committee passed a resolution calling for ‘a national social and economic mobilization’ to ‘address the climate emergency’ and ‘restore a safe climate.'” [Source]

    [6] Mission Innovation: “Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union). These 24 members have committed to seek to double public investment in clean energy RD&D and are engaging with the private sectorfostering international collaboration and celebrating innovators.” [Source]

    Mission Innovation Member States:

    [7] December 6, 2018, “Margaret Klein Salamon talks to XR founders” [Source]

     

     

    [Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

    Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

     

     

     

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