My name is Giovanni Tamacas, I am a 19-year-old American raised by a single, immigrant mother. I’m a Chinese and Salvadoran first generation student attending UC San Diego, a climate science pioneering university. I am also an Extinction Rebellion activist, and on July 25th I began a climate hunger strike in front of the White House.

My demands

  1. The U.S. government must declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, starting with the U.S. House of Representatives
  2. The U.S. government must create a legally binding Citizen’s Assembly on the climate and ecological crisis
  3. I demand an Extinction Rebellion public meeting with U.S. House leadership

Background

It doesn’t matter who you are, we need to come together to prevent human extinction from climate and ecological catastrophe.

According to the U.N. Secretary-General, if we do not reversing course within the next 18 months we risk the complete, utter collapse of human civilization and an eventual 3-5 degree Celsius world. This 3-5 degree C world, unlike our current 1.1-degree world above pre-industrial levels, is a “Hothouse Earth,” in other words, an uninhabitable planet. Simply achieving all the Paris Climate Agreement goals will put us on track for 3.4 degrees.

People need to be terrified. We are racing toward the extinction of human beings. So we must allow ourselves to cry, grieve, and accept this scientific reality. Because only when we accept the massive scale of this challenge, can we give humanity a fighting chance against ever-dwindling odds.

A 2019 Australian climate report, which was written by a fossil fuel executive and climate scientist, made it crystal clear that the collapse of human civilization would occur by 2050 if drastic measures aren’t taken within the next decade toward sustainable living. Another report from a 2015 UK Government taskforce has an even more alarming conclusion: that “business as usual” approach with no climate accelerating tipping points, would collapse global food supply in 2040, leading to civilizational collapse. This is our current path.

States would lose their monopoly on violence as a catastrophic food shortage would entice revolutionary movements across the world. This is because there is an impressive correlation between high values in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index and the occurrence of protests, riots, and social disruption. Furthermore, we know this happens throughout history: food shortages leading to the violent overthrow of governments. For example, before the French Revolution in 1789, the epidemic of food shortages catalyzed the hungry masses to overthrow the French monarchy. And before the Russian Revolution in 1917, famine struck Russia. We are heading for dark times and it is our duty to rise now.

Complicit

This government – the United States President, Congress, and Judiciary are criminally complicit in the defining issue of our time: imminent human extinction from Climate and Ecological Meltdown. It is a scientific consensus, that, if we want a planet to live on, we must immediately mobilize massive amounts of resources to solve the most challenging, complex issue in human history.

We already have irreversible, catastrophic consequences baked into the climate system and we are only experiencing the beginning barrage of these environmental disasters. The question now is the very survival of humanity. There is no debate, yet our government is lying, in denial, standing by, or asking for incremental change. All four of these options will murder billions of people. This is a crisis of unspeakable proportions and the United States of America is the biggest culprit, having emitted the most greenhouse gases in human history, according to Carbon Brief.

We are living in a climate emergency, and we need innovative solutions immediately to save the future of the human race and the vast majority of the natural world. Furthermore, we must prepare for a world in which it is possible, that our economic systems could collapse from global food supply shortages. Which is why we need to innovate and decentralize our democracy to fight fossil fuel corruption: using sortition

Sortition is rule by lottery selected citizens like you and me. This randomly selected, deliberate democratic process has been used in Ireland in the 2010s, the Jefferson Center in Minnesota, and began with the Boule of Ancient Athenian democracy. This empowering form of democracy creates a naturally diverse environment and utilizes the collective intelligence of these mini-republics. In these settings, experts and diverse opinions would be called on to advise the citizenry, who would be given a 360 degree view of an issue. At the end of the day, the citizen’s would make own informed decisions and the legitimacy of these institutions would be greater than our current system, which is centralized, corrupted by special interests, and filled with career politicians. Through lottery selection, big money would be nullified and career politicians would be eliminated through term limits.

The science behind it all

So, how close are we to a catastrophic tipping point? The Arctic is forecasted to be ice-free around 2024 according to the University of Washington. The Arctic Ice is one of Earth’s primary cooling mechanisms for two reasons: the albedo effect and the latent heat effect. The albedo effect means that a white surface like ice reflects more sunlight back into space, whereas a dark ocean absorbs more light, making it hotter. On the other hand, latent heat means that as long as there is ice in the ocean, the water won’t warm as fast. This is because the heat energy in the water goes toward making the ice melt instead of making the ocean hotter.

So if the ice disappears, how fast would the oceans warm? Fast. Imagine you’re looking at a gram of ice on a zero degree Celsius day. It takes 334 Joules of energy to melt that one gram of ice at 0 degrees Celsius. But it takes 334 Joules of energy to make one gram of water go from 0 to 80 degrees. Combine this with the fact that the oceans blanket 70% of the world’s surface, absorb huge sums of energy from the sun every day, and our government is bought off by fossil fuel interests. We need a global effort to save the Arctic Ice immediately.

For the past 100s of thousands of years, average global temperatures have been remarkably stable. But since the 1880s, we’ve lit the ice on fire with fossil fuels, releasing more CO2 emissions than at any point in history in 2018 while global average temperatures are increasing exponentially. We are in an incredibly dire situation. Fossil Fuel corporations have known about the climate crisis since the 1970s and NASA knew since 1989. The Arctic is our nature’s natural freezer, but these powerful politicians and corporations aren’t just leaving the freezer door open anymore. Corporatists are pulling the plug, spraying it down with gasoline, and firing it up with a flamethrower. We are living in a climate emergency, while politicians, the economic elite, and fossil fuel executives are married at the hip. 

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