[Article commentary by James Quilligan, EDA managing director:]

A cogent article in Resilience by Tim Hollo on why survivalism is the wrong answer to the effects of climate disruption in society. Instead of reactionary individualism, he observes, collective “urban living in harmony with the natural world, brought together with deep democracy and cultivating social cohesion, is the only path to survival”.

Hollo’s insight is important to remember when we hear nationalist populists twisting the biological principle of self-reliance into protectionist rationalizations, anti-immigrant hysteria or a me-first exodus into gated communities, mountaintops or rural areas with caches of guns. This is a suicidal response to extreme weather and its effects upon human civilization, turning the meaning of self-reliance against itself. As Holo observes, “just as survivalism makes extinction more likely by cutting off the option of action, dividing our society even further makes societal collapse even more likely”.

This is the crucial difference between reactionary populists who use the idea of self-sufficiency to justify their retreat into a politics of personal paranoia, and those brave citizen activists who are pushing for greater equality and cooperation in the management of collective resources so that everyone’s needs may be sufficiently met.

We are all learning that no group of living beings can endure unless they are resilient in the governance of the basic resources they need to survive. We are now in the adaptation stage of that crisis, which has unleashed a power struggle over the means of material sufficiency unlike anything the world has seen. Advocates for economic democracy, are we up to this immense challenge? Shall we be sustainable together?

Featured photo credit: By Jason Weingart – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Full article in Resilience written by Tim Hollo, 10/24/2019: