Triple Crisis blogger Liz Stanton delivered the following talk at a Brookline (MA) Climate Week event on April 1. Stanton is the founder and director of the Applied Economics Clinic at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), Tufts University, described as follows on its website:
“The Applied Economics Clinic provides technical expertise to public service organizations working on topics related to the environment, consumer rights, the energy sector, and community equity. Founded by GDAE Senior Research Fellow Liz Stanton in February 2017, the Clinic is a non-profit consulting group offering low-cost and pro bono expert services from seasoned professionals, while also providing on-the-job training to the next generation of technical experts on public interest issues.”
It’s been a hard week for hope. It’s been a hard six months for hope. And I say that as someone who’s spent a career dedicated to building our societal knowledge regarding climate change. It’s easy to despair, and I know that I’m not the only person here today who feels that: Our hope has been trampled on quite a bit, and it’s looking a little worse for wear.
It is easy to despair. But I want to do something harder. And I’m guessing there are folks in the audience that feel the same way. I don’t want to despair. I want to fight.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is I’m fighting against. The root of the problem. And here’s what I’ve got for you.
A set of values currently espoused by our nation’s elected representatives that boil down to nothing more or less than selfishness. The foxes are guarding the hen house, and they are desperately short-sighted. Concerned with nothing but lining their little fox pockets in this minute, this theft, this deal.
Well to me the values that have taken over in Washington—in word and in deed—look a whole lot like the values of toddlers and sociopaths:
- Me, Me, Me: It’s all about me. A cult of individualism.
- More, More, More: More stuff means I’m more powerful.
- Mine, Mine, Mine: Do unto others before they can do anything unto you.
Those are the values behind the policies to end climate regulation, strip access to healthcare, and defund Sesame Street.