At least five developments are needed to establish new politics of climate change action that engages mass global opinion.
They involve reverse social engineering of the extremely effective global misinformation and power systems that have taken the earth’s population to the edge of reason. These systems are supporting the climate change disaster that is quickly engulfing our planet.
Let’s toss the first ball.
1 Transformation in global attitudes to climate change requires powerful, independent global political leaders.
We have a righteous crew including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, climate youth activist Greta Thunberg, plus one thousand climate change scientists who have been dragged off in their white coats by riot police for protesting about the horrors to come.
Greta Thunberg says “We have the technology to solve climate change. What we need is political will.” But climate change activists and community leaders around the world are at risk because they challenge powerful fossil fuel and financial interests. They need protection.
The world’s richest person, Elon Musk, is stepping up to global political action alongside other Big Tech entrepreneurs who are well-versed in internet-derived ethics of freedom of speech and universal digital access. They are learning global climate change and communications politics on the job, which is problematic, but things could be worse. Musk’s stake in Twitter is an indicator of the platform’s potential to be scaled up and expanded to become a cyber ethical climate change hub. We need something like this to happen, and he and others, are rich enough and experienced enough to create it.
Putin and Nordstream 2, for example, exemplify a democratic sell-out to fossil fuels and the autocracies that control them. National leaders are nearly all compromised by political realities in their home countries.
Along with new independent global leaders, we also need global citizens, ethical commerce, and non-governmental organisations to transform their societies from the base, to shift opinion and amplify concern about carbon emissions and the catastrophic impacts of global warming. In the middle, we have the mass of people whom we need to convince about the urgency for concerted action to reduce carbon emissions.
2. We need a new global media and information hub, and this development needs to lose the planet-eaters.
They are the fossil fuel industry and its associated sleek team of tame politicians, pliant media and lobbyists, whose incessant demands for “balance” in reporting of issues gnaws at our environment. This powerful group sows confusion in the vital public sphere, as the global public assume that the point of view the fossil fuel producers present in respected institutions, is valid. In a very similar way, the Russian people and others around the world see Putin’s lies and propaganda as valid also. This is because the lies are presented to them in a monopolistic and authoritative way, as though they have equal value to the truth.
In the era of climate change, we cannot afford some of the anachronistic conventions of traditional media. We need to persuade global masses of people in the same way that propagandists have always done, but with one crucial difference: a cyber ethical and climate change ethical digital information system would be opt-in. That is, global citizens would choose to be a part of it, knowing that the action against climate change communications, ads, products, and strategies would contain global-ethical content. The other values of traditional media would remain: accurate reporting, fearless investigation, and open critique. These may present as oppositional values, but recent evidence indicates that the public sphere has been corrupted, and we will not get global climate change transformations underway in time if we do not act. Let’s call it a Bettaverse, an environment in which people can choose to quickly change their attitudes and behaviour.
Which brings us to the next solution:
3. We need global scale climate change credentialling, and fail listing.
Gaining climate change credentials should confer global respectability and resourcing on commerce, politics, agriculture, energy resources, ocean protection, reforesting, and provide rewards for reducing plastic, consumption generally, and cyber ethical activities. Equally, greenwashing, lying, and laying waste to the ecological resources we still have, should be called out and prosecuted where possible. This process involves finance and an integrated artificial intelligence capability. Credentialling already happens in a piecemeal way, but is not integrated into a powerful global information system such as a Bettaverse.
Fossil fuel companies, drilling for oil, and promoting coal and gas interests are not respectable. Global finance of these activities is not respectable either. There is no place in the global public sphere for these activities, and they should not be provided with havens by nations which claim aspirations to global values. Carbon emissions facilitators should be fail-listed, with accompanying penalties.
4 The United Nations needs to finally sponsor a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights.
A digital rights declaration would put a floor under efforts to transform mass communications on climate change, and provide potential for a public Bettaverse-type construct with the integrity and global reach that is required. This should include regulation of artificial intelligence to ensure interconnectivity, and sponsorship of public interest digital infrastructure. (See UN Universal Declaration of Digital Rights blog post)
5 What we could call a concentration of conscience, needs to expand into a global mass communications and political movement.
A Bettaverse needs to have a place for everyone, speaking every language, and addressing the lives of privileged and poor people alike. Indigenous peoples, who are often perceived as less powerful than others in many countries, have been protecting the environment for centuries. We need to unlearn aspirations for development at any cost, and begin to repair the damage.
As global citizens, we all have a part to play in developing awareness of the need for action on climate change, in ourselves and others. Climate change is a complicated issue. However, we already have economical solar and wind power, and these need to be rapidly scaled up and fossil fuels rejected. Global citizens should gather, live and communicate in new ways to accommodate the reality that global warming has the earth in a state of crisis, and the solutions we already have must be applied on a global basis.
Reform will be ongoing, and our new mass communications systems should develop along with climate change impacts and solutions.
It is possible to create a new politics.