Thursday, December 27, 2012

#361 / Peer Progressives

In case you did not get a copy of Future Perfect as a holiday gift, you might want to track down an article titled, "Could 'peer progressives' turn the climate around?" This article, published in Grist, functions as a kind of combination book review and author discussion. It is well worth reading. Makes me want to buy the book!

I have not yet bought the book, or read the book. Nonetheless (and realizing that this is always a dangerous practice when commenting on a book one hasn't read), I am already betting, based on the article I cite, that the networks of "peer progressives" that Johnson thinks are vital agents of social, political, and economic change in our contemporary world have an analogue in the progressive  networks that helped make the American Revolution. Those networks were called "Committees of Correspondence." 

How do you change a social, economic, or political system (or a fact) that "everyone" takes for granted, and that seems be be an inevitable part of the "reality" of our world, and that begs us to accept it as an inevitability? 

Margaret Mead had an answer. She came at it by way of anthropology. I came to the same answer by way of history and politics, and by my personal experiences in Santa Cruz County. I am betting that Johnson has come to the same conclusion that Margaret Mead did. I think he must have, because I think this is right: 

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
To do that, though, to change the world, that small group needs to "communicate" and "correspond." Start or join a group of "peer progressives." Good resolution for the New Year to come.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. First of all, there is no turning the climate around. Climate does not have direction, it has random variability.

    Secondly, climate is not a social or political problem. Understanding climate variability is a scientific problem, not subject to social manipulation. No "peer progressive" group can do anything about the course of climate variation.

    What we can do as "peer progressives" is to determine how to make our societies and communities more resilient to climate variation, such that we are not continually bombarded with natural weather disasters.

    How do we stop human development in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes? How do we find ways of equitably sharing our finite resources among all life on Earth, not just selected elite humans?


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