Reality: Is This Thing On?

(Image: NASA/SDO/AIA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

[This frustration with the obvious has been syndicated at HuffPo.]

Climate change is real, the White House’s long-awaited National Climate Assessment trumpeted on a sleepy Tuesday. It is happening now, powerfully felt here and there, in real-time. Shit just got real. Really.

At this rate, we will be ready for climate change long after it has laid waste to us. Just keeping it real. For real. Real.

Speaking (redundantly) of the real — a weaponized word with persuasive roots from Bernays to Baudrillard and the bizarre beyond — we had best get our broken reality machines fixed, post-haste. Because if the best these official, epochal global warming reports are going to do with our incredibly shrinking tax dollars is tell us what is real-time and what is not, then we are already done like the dead dinos that we sucked dry to screw ourselves out of a stable planet.

We all need to move forward, not catch up, to an exponentially destabilized reality that we’re desperately replacing with reality programming stuffed with first-world wannabe survivors who are trying to stave off elimination in absurd competitions of a more meaningless nature. The cruel joke is on what master hyperrealist and former human Karl Rove infamously called the “reality-based community.” While those of us who have been working tirelessly to wake the world to global warming take to the streets, media, portfolios and more to move our neutered climate change dialogue beyond underwhelming admissions of the patently obvious, our political and economic classes are chilling with dunce caps as they point and grunt at patterns and trends environmentalists years ago.

Many, many painful years ago.

Please do not get me twisted. As I told National Climate Assessment scientist and Years of Living Dangerously subject Katherine Hayhoe on Twitter, I wish that the media had foregrounded the frightening fact that these reports were never issued during the Bush/Cheney reign of terror. She worked on one for them, but it eventually took Obama’s administration to push it out in 2009, a tardy hand-off she said was better explained over beers. Let’s be clear: That the Obama administration is finally releasing another one this year is a cause for celebration.

But that it tells most of us what we already know is real — rather than deliver firm, resolute policy directives — is a letdown. The world needs imminent, massive action, solutions, mobilization and money — in the right places, on an existential scale — that has no human precedent. We are so utterly fucked if we continue on this pace, especially since cheap and easy answers are close enough to reach. It’s as simple as unplugging a global death machine built of resource extraction, lazy hyperconsumption and callous inequality, and instead plugging in one built by renewable energy, downsized living and human community.

This transition is so inevitable that to even talk about not doing it, or how to do it without offending business as usual, is an insult to every thinking, feeling individual. Let’s get moving, reality-based community. Plug your heads back in and let’s save our sorry asses.