Big Doomer Energy

Yeah let's just like, not have that!

Hey Garbage Folks,

The world isn’t doing so hot right now. (I mean it is unnaturally hot, but, it’s like not so hot in terms of life quality.) We have a global pandemic, and the first super storm of a long and dangerous hurricane season has just hit Bangladesh. The US continues to slide deeper into failed state status. Life will not “return to normal” for a long time and likely will never “return”.

So, today I want to talk about Big Doomer Energy. You can probably guess the doomsaying element of this sub-community just by its name.

Of course, you’re allowed to be anxious right now. (I certainly was.) Shutting down is a normal response to overwhelmingly depressing times. Although, the times™ have always been overwhelming depressing. When was there actually a good time for ALL life on Earth?

OK, back to the doomers. I haven’t said much about this on the show but if you follow me on Twitter you will know N8 hates Michael Moore’s youtube video: Planet of the Humans. As of May 20, 2020, that video has 8 million views... A depressing reflection of the world’s environmental ignorance.

The views of the documentary are best described as “doomer politics”. It’s a pessimistic world-view at best. GrEeN eNeRgY wOn’T sAvE uS, iT’s tOo lAtE fOr tTe cLiMaTe, aLL wE cAn dO nOw iS hAvE leSS cHiLdReN.

Here’s Some Trash:

The doomers are rising. According to The Internet, a doomer is someone who has lost all faith in the world. Within the climate movement, it refers to someone who thinks that stopping climate change is hopeless.

Now, in all fairness, doomers have valid reason to be pessimistic:

  1. We aren’t even close to stopping climate change.

  2. Ocean acidification will continue even if we freeze emissions right now.

  3. Deforestation continues to increase.

  4. Fisheries continue to collapse.

  5. Rampant misinformation shows no sign of abating. (See: Planet of the Doomers.)

  6. The only CO2 decrease we have seen in our lifetime isn’t even close to enoughand it has taken at least 323,000 lives and countless others’ economic stability.

  7. The world’s largest emitters have shown no ambition in reducing emissions or even enacting pollution controls (donaldtrump.jpg and xijinpinglaughing.gif)


From my observation, Doomers tend to be people who haven’t really invested themselves deeply in solving a problem. (*cough cough* Planet of the… *COUGH*) Had they tried to do so, they would have connected with motivated people around the world who are actually working to reverse the climate crisis. It’s hard for me to give into despair when I know so many other people are working to try and make things better.

Here are some changes that I’ve witnessed in my short environmental career:

  • Solar and wind are the cheapest sources of power in most of the world.

    This was truly unthinkable even just 10 years ago. Here’s a quote from the article:

    A decade ago, solar was more than $300 a megawatt-hour and onshore wind exceeded $100 per megawatt-hour. Today, onshore wind is $37 in the U.S. and $30 in Brazil, while solar is $38 in China, the cheapest sources of new electricity in those countries.

  • A global consensus emerged on the need to address litter and plastic waste.

    The garbage patch was only mainstreamed in 2009, with the infamous Ted Talk by Captain Charles Moore. For comparison, it’s been 40 years and we still don't have any meaningful carbon regulations. Convincing the public to care about plastic could take a similarly long time. Seeing this interest in plastic surge from niche to norm should encourage everyone.

  • Where fisheries are managed, they have recovered.

    Essentially, there is hope that the ocean can recover. Whales can come back, fish can return, if we just give them the chance.

  • Systematic change finally acknowledged as the core issue.

    Or, well, we’ve always known this, but what’s significant is that mainstream journalists have now picked up on this, too, and justice has taken a prominent role in their coverage. When I started in 2010, most people thought it was insane to not focus on individuals and instead focus on structures. Now, the reverse is true.

  • Apple now requires its supplier to follow a commitment to 100% RE.

    Since 2014, more and more companies are committing to and achieving 100% renewable electricity. These corporate targets have helped unleash gigawatts of renewable energy into the world, that would otherwise have been much slower to develop without corporate commitments. (CSR can do good! Who knew?)

  • The explosion of electric vehicles.

    Not, like, physical explosions—you’re thinking of the combustion engines in diesel vehicles—but a recent popularization of EVs. Electric vehicles might not be the full solution for making our cities clean and livable, but they will play a strong role well into the future. Who knew EVs would be cool, let alone S3XY in 2020?

  • The concept of a Green New Deal.

    For the longest time, environmental activists were considered “Not In My Backyard-ers”. It was hard for the movement as a whole to point to a tangible vision of the future. Now, more people than ever can imagine a new world that shakes free the old shackles of fossil fuels.

  • And, of course, the resurgence of a popular youth climate movements.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the achievements of the environmental movement in the recent past. And, truly, we still have a long way to go.

The point is to give you a trend-line, or a forecast. This is where we are now—people have organized, movements are forming, and more people than ever now realize our world looks better with less pollution.

Ironically, the worse things get, the better organized we become.

And, some days are hard. You might be a dreamer on Thursday after a particularly inspiring Zoom call, then become a doomer again the next Monday. (Haha what who, no, no it’s not me this isn’t from personal experience I’m I just, I have a friend.)

Just keep in mind this: the death of “individual action” does not mean invalidating all the successes of an individual.

You changing a light-bulb in your house “doesn’t matter”.

BUT, you changing a senator in the house really matters.

That’s the kind of change we need in 2020+. The modest Incremental Change circa 2000-2019 have finally died. Recycled plastic isn’t good enough, carbon credits aren’t good enough, people want real change, now, more than ever.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Children born tomorrow won’t have any other option but to fight as seawater swallows up their homes and as super heat and humidity make their cities unlivable. To give up on the world now? It’s cowardice at best.

What will you tell your children you did when the world was on fire?

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