A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to global warming
Political orientation may not be a predictor, but this writer is vehemently opposed to the "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" orgies of conspicuous consumption. Though I do support "Small Business Saturday," two days after Thanksgiving. If there is an alignment here, it's with Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, including its Stop Shopping Choir, when it comes to anything remotely resembling "Black Friday."
For starters, 48 million Americans are still in debt from Christmas season holiday spending in 2018, and that's up substantially from 39.4 million Americans a year ago, still indebted from the previous year's Christmas.
Behind the obvious, it's what enables the idiotic fantasy of "constant economic growth." Pursuing it (for the enrichment of the few) comes at devastating costs (to everyone and every species on the planet). As a direct result, the top seven economic nations are nowhere near being able to meet the goals they agreed to in the Paris Accords for this year's maximum carbon emissions. And in the corporate media's reporting of that fact, they continually emphasize "a 1.5 to 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperature" as being "within the goal."
We keep waiting for someone among them to sound the biggest alarm bell they have, that a rise within those limits merely assures continuation of the climate chaos we see now.
The package CBS aired skimmed over the stark facts contained, without much commentary, in their print piece. Yes, they broached the subject, but like other outlets that ignored it altogether, they failed to run, as the lead, the latest aspect of the most important story of our time: the boo-boo doesn't heal and things don't get all-better if we hold global warming to a 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) temperature increase—because doing that, we would "merely" need to relocate eighty percent of the human population and entirely change everything we eat if we are to survive that 1.5 to 2°C temperature rise.
Instead, corporate media always likes to focus on the parts of U.N. agency reports that says, in the words of CBS citing the latest one, "getting the world back on track to limit the increase to 2.7 °F (1.5°C) would require a fivefold increase in measures pledged so far." Which quickly defaults to trillions of dollars nobody has, making it readily dismissable. So, predictably, move on to the next story with a smaller sticker shock. And make sure that's not the one about Venice and its art treasures being underwater, so nobody connects things.
CBS isn't especially villainous. Just representative.
The short road is never taken, straight from consumerism to resource depletion and its myriad impacts in environmental degradation, and ultimately, climate change.
Minimizing recognition of actual impacts—even when they're reported between the hyped stories of celebrity misbehavior or who-wore-what on the red carpet—facilitates quick return to our fantasy comfort zone. It is guaranteed to feed desires the corporatists nurture in each of us: to prove our individual worth as an expression of successful exercises of conspicuous consumption. The short road is never taken, straight from consumerism to resource depletion and its myriad impacts in environmental degradation, and ultimately, climate change.
Of course, our society is complicated. Turns out it's also directly related to how the "panic management" game is played.
The Big Media that serves corporate masters—which is damn near the entire industry—can't let the masses grasp the idea that our overconsumptive civilization's addiction to shiny baubles is directly courting collapse, with ice melt, drought, twelve-month fire seasons, deforestation, killer storms everywhere, coastal storm surge and coastal inundation, sea level rise, ground water depletion, water ruination from fracking, and collapsing productivity of climate-impacted farms and fisheries.
Because if they did allow that combined juggernaut of existential realities to take hold, they wouldn't be able to strike-up the band for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and (a) keep luring us into addictively buying resource-consumptive stuff we don't need, and (b) manage our panic away from the next great extinction, and simultaneously and profitably maintain ratings for the talking-head drama-queens of impeachment punditry.
An old folk song advocated "Blow up your tv, throw away the paper, move to the country, build you a home." As if any of us could afford that, with the cost of gas for the commute. Even if we still think of fossil fuels in terms of acquisition costs instead of use costs. Nevertheless, like you, we are more than ready to do some good where we can.
Accordingly, we very much DO support "Giving Tuesday," held annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year, that's December 3, 2019—the day after the lunacy of "Cyber Monday."
Tuesday's celebration of altruism runs for 24 hours and begins at midnight local time, wherever you are. It is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world through tangible expressions on that one day, December 3, and by extension, every day.
It's also a good place to take account and commit to giving of your time and talents, signing-up to volunteer during the holidays or the year ahead. In that sense, it may be the last shred of what Franklin Roosevelt envisioned in his presidential proclamation of Thanksgiving as a permanent holiday.
"Giving Tuesday" was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.
Each year—and growing in participants by leaps and bounds—nonprofits, causes for activism, organizations that fund protection of wild lands or historic sites, or that acquire lands to preserve habitats for threatened species, are ALL benefactors of what ordinary people do, as individuals, on this special day.
Homeless people can get blankets and warm clothes, the hungry can get food, and old people can do better than putting canned cat food on their own menus. Poor people can get access to legal help. A kaleidoscope of possibilities is empowered, because each of us responds thoughtfully and compassionately to the message sounded for this day.
You, me, the crabby neighbors with the toxic politics, together with small businesses, brands, schools, and the inevitable religious organizations -- in your neighborhood, and all over the planet—can celebrate this as a global day of giving and make a difference in the world. As in, "BE the change you want to see." Which Gandhi never actually said, but we can.
Many reputable charities and activist movements arrange for matching donors or offer special "thank you" recognitions on Giving Tuesday. So if your inbox isn't already bulging at the seems with appeals from them? Then fulfill your inner need to give back (or to pay it forward) by picking something you know you can support, and send 'em a few bucks. Before you blow it all on plastic Christmas crap from some sweatshop in China, and still have the bill on your credit card a year from now.