Chloe Maxmin, 24, is the daughter of two wealthy, Maine-based Jewish parents with PhDs in the social sciences and who home-schooled Chloe and her brother Jacob in the early grades before sending them to the pivate Kingston Academy in Maine. She is a recently Ivy League grad. Her 70-something father Jim Maxmin is a fomer high-flying coporate CEO of Laura Ashley group in the UK and a well-funded investment fund manager in Maine. Her 60-something mother Shoshana Zuboff is a former professor at a top Ivy League business school and has written several books about business matters, one co-authored with Jim Maxmin. At her elite, well-connected, wealth-funded Ivy League college, Chloe co-founded a Divest from Fossil Fuels chapter -- a campaign calling on her rich college to divest from fossil fuels -- and led the campaign for two years. Chloe also founded First Here, Then Everywhere to empower youth climate activists. She is currently a writer with the leftwing magazine The Nation. NOTE: On July 2, 1999, Chloe's posh Laura Ashley-decoarted $1 million-dollar lakeshore residence along the shores of Lake Dammariscotta in Maine was struck by a late-night thunder and lightning storm, which her mom Shoshana blamed on global warming (in a recent Huffington Post article). The entire million-dollar house burned to the ground in the ensuing minutes and hours that night, but everyone got out okay and unhurt. thank G-d. Her brother Jake was away on a canoe trip that day so he was not there when disaster struck. Jim and Shoshana told local reportters in the aftermath that they lost over 10,000 academic books and novels, plus family photos and scrapbooks and memories of their time in that fairytale house. A lucky escape! A terrible calamity to strike any family. Oy vay iz meer!]
In 2016, No More ''Human-As-Usual''
COP 21 showed us that ''human-as-usual'' is not enough in the Anthrocene Age of man-made global warming.
“We have made history together! #ParisAgreement at #COP21 unites the world for a better future.”COP21 was not the silver bullet to stop all climate chaos, but it was recognized as a huge victory for international collaboration. Celebrations erupted across Paris. I was surrounded by exuberance but had never felt more alone, grieving instead of joyful. Yes, COP21 was a political triumph, but I could not overlook a mountain of bare facts. The agreement is weak and profoundly unjust, condemning youth and front-line communities to bear the full brunt of climate catastrophe. There is no clear date by which the world phases out fossil-fuel use. There is an appalling lack of financial support for front-line communities facing the worst climate impacts. Even if all countries adhere to their non-binding emissions-reduction targets, our planet will warm 2.7C–3.7C, a level far beyond what is safe. The hypocrisy of COP21 was overwhelming as—during the negotiations—President Obama signed a bill expediting permits for oil and gas pipelines. At 3 am on December 12, headlines declared that John Kerry threatened to walk out of negotiations if developed countries were required to provide financial assistance to developing countries. A debate over “shall” or “should” dominated the final hours of COP21. The night before negotiations ended, I stumbled out of a meeting at 1 am and found myself on a shuttered Parisian street lit only by a few dim lamps. The cold wind whipped my cheeks, but my chest burned red hot with rage at the politicking that was celebrated while my generation faced doom. The worst pain came from images of my home that flashed before my eyes. I’ve already seen so much change in my short lifetime: The animals on our farm shed their coats during winter warm spells, only to freeze when the cold returns. Spring comes early. Summers are hot and dry. My heart broke at the thought of all that I love most falling prey to the chaos of politics and climate change. Anguish filled my soul as I realized that the best politics that the world has to offer are not enough to avert disaster. Then a revelation stopped me in my tracks. The euphoria around COP21 was fully merited. The agreement represents the best of what humans have learned to do over centuries: to use the political arts of compromise and negotiation to overcome conflict and unite disparate groups. But here’s the thing: COP21 demonstrates that even the best of what humans have learned to do is not enough. The climate emergency demands something else, something that lies beyond the known threshold of human political arts, beyond the known functions of the human toolkit, beyond the best that we have already achieved. The idea that we can no longer operate according to “business-as-usual” or “politics-as-usual” is by now a cliche. What struck me that night and drives me now is a different idea: we can no longer afford to be human-as-usual. In the age of changing climate, human-as-usual is not enough. Under that murky, light-polluted Parisian sky, I suddenly felt a sense of renewed clarity. I realized that our political systems are built to master human-to-human confrontation. Major historical struggles have been “us versus them.” Compromise was essential for the development of society and civilization. But today, our foe is not each other. Our foe is physics, and the physical world does not negotiate. It does not train on the art of compromise. We enter an unprecedented era of “us versus it.” We need to find new ways of being in which we are all on the same side, supporting one another as we confront the limits of physics. The very facts of the climate crisis require us to depart from the familiar territory of human-as-usual. What does it mean to move beyond the human-as-usual? To be honest, I don’t know how it’s done, what it feels like, or if people are capable of achieving new ways of being human. But I do know that we have to try. Crisis has always been the crucible of creativity, and that’s exactly what we need now. As long as we celebrate the outcomes of traditional political behavior, even at its best, we are blinded to the breakthroughs that may occur when we refuse to be as we have been before. Most importantly: If we fail to reach for un-usual behaviors, we will find ourselves reproducing the very behaviors and systems that created the climate crisis in the first place. This assures a never-ending cycle of shortfall and destruction. Last week, we remembered the life and words of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who summoned all people to reach beyond anger and hatred towards love and hope. In his “Christmas Sermon on Peace” in 1967, Dr. King said:
“We will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.”The climate crisis calls upon humanity to unite in ways that are novel, transcendent, creative, and brave. Not-human-as-usual is the seed of a new forest in the making, one that is unlike any that this world has known.