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Climate Minute Podcast (Part 2!) With Daniel Yildirim

This kind of resistance can only happen in community, says Daniel Yildirim

Part two of The Climate Minute podcast covers a lot of territory: What does it take to take decisive action for climate change? How do the Four Necessity Valve Turners maintain their courage in the face of fear? And why climate change? Here’s a conversation about exactly that - check it out here.

“I think that’s what’s happening with climate change. This is such a vast problem. Obviously someone’s got this. The politicians, the scientists, the military, someone is going to fix this. Or, someone is going to be acting responsibly, someone in power. And the terrifying truth, as we look at it, is that’s not what’s happening. The people who are in power are neglecting their responsibility … We are going to take personal responsibility for the injustice and the evil that we see in the world. We are not going to complain about it and expect someone else to deal with it, but we are going to ask ourselves, how can I be most personally responsible for what I see as wrong in the world.” (6:50)

“A large portion of the carbon that gets put into the atmosphere comes from agriculture and tilling the ground. Any time you open up the earth to plant annuals like corn or wheat, or potatoes or tomatoes for that matter, you are igniting this microbial process that is releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and it is also depleting the fertility of the soil. So as we till and we till and we till every year we are having to put in these industrial inputs which have their own carbon footprint. So, the linear system that we have of importing inputs in order to grow food and then having waste output of chemical runoff and carbon dioxide and things like that is obviously not a sustainable system. So what I practice on my farm is rotational grazing among other things, where we are basing our food system on perennials instead of annuals … we are grass farmers. As the cow eats the grass, two or three times a year it eats it down, the root system dies back and it’s actually putting carbon into the soil, it’s taking it out of the air and it’s putting it back into the soil, and it’s growing in fertility and it’s countering climate change.“ (10:05)

“First of all, the first and worst hit by climate change are the vulnerable and poor. One thing that really woke me up a few years back, when I heard of geo-engineering strategies that people are seriously talking about, you know, further down the line when climate change is seriously undermining our ability to have civilization on this planet. One of the things they are talking about is shooting some kind of chemical up into the atmosphere, I think sulphuric acid maybe or something like that, to increase the reflectability of the atmosphere. And the models that they were running, these computer models, were showing that, ok, that would help things a little bit in the north and it would allow things to keep on going, but Subsaharan Africa and South Asia would be hit with catastrophic droughts. So just realizing that this is the end game for climate change, is that we will be sacrificing whole portions of continents, of people who have darker skin, the global south, and just realizing that climate change is really the culmination of centuries of racism. And racism is really just a part of it. And I think the fundamental underlying ideology that has created climate change is this idea, like I was talking about before, is that we are individually salvageable. That my well-being can be separated from your well-being or the well-being of the entire earth.“ (12:30)

“This idea of sacrifice zones. Like, where the oil is coming from on the pipeline that we shut down is the boreal forest of Alberta. And what they’re saying is that it’s ok to destroy these ecosystems to extract oil because we will be benefiting from it, and these ecosystems will not, but we are worth more than these ecosystems, so we are going to go ahead and do it anyway. And that’s the foundation of racism too, the idea that people who look like us can have more and have privileges that people who look differently from us don’t have, but that’s ok, there’s a reason for that, whatever it is, the justification. It’s not only immoral but it’s fundamentally untrue and climate change is the culmination of all that. I think the way that it manifests, when you’re looking at Enbridge and the pipeline that we shut down, is that these oil executives and investors in the fossil fuel industry they know what’s happening, they know what climate change is. But what they’re think is “My experience, my personal experience of making money off of these investments is worth more than the damage is going to be done to other people. Those other people are other.” So this whole process of other-izing: nature, people who look differently than me, also future generations, you know, people are other-izing future generations, saying that’s their problem and we’re not going to worry about it. And it’s this basically corrupt ideology that’s making it so that it’s maybe not going to be possible for humans to live on this planet for very much longer.” (14:18)

“First of all, I feel inspired by the poet Rumi, and what Rumi said, among many other things, is that what you are seeking is seeking you. And in Christianity we say, when you take one step towards God, God moves towards you also. So I think the first step would be start seeking out other individuals who feel inspired in the same way that you do. And when you start taking those steps then you will be amazed, if you do so with diligence and authenticity, how people will gather around you who feel the same way, especially at this time of history. I would emphasize most of all the importance of community, because this is not the kind of work, I think, that we can do as individuals … I don’t think we can offer any meaningful resistance as individuals, and that is partly why capitalism has atomized us and turned us into individual consumers, because in that mode we are powerless” (18:40)

“Spiritual work, I think is indispensible. I think traditionally a lot of activists and a lot of activist circles there’s a lot of anger people are coming from and this us-them mentality. I love them and I appreciate the work that they do, but it’s the same us-them mentality that is the root core of the problems that we are facing in the world. The spiritual component is really important, I think. And something that our friend Tim DeChristopher, that I am sure you know, a term that he coined, is ‘fierce vulnerability.’ So what we are doing is we are offering our own vulnerability as an offering to help heal the world. Learning how to be vulnerable even in conversations in our communities is absolutely essential as we do this work.” (20:33)

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