Year 4, Month 10, Day 8: I’m Gonna Live Forever…

The Athens News (OH) runs a great article by the always-great Amy Goodman:

Last week, far out in the Arctic Ocean, the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise approached a Russian oil-drilling platform and launched a nonviolent protest, with several protesters scaling the side of the platform. They wanted to draw attention to a dangerous precedent being set.

The platform, the Prirazlomnaya, owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, is the first to begin oil production in the dangerous, ice-filled waters of the Arctic. The Russian government responded swiftly and with force, deploying special-forces soldiers, their faces masked by balaclavas, threatening the peaceful Greenpeace activists with automatic weapons, destroying their inflatable boats by slashing them, arresting 30 and towing the Greenpeace ship to the northern Russian port of Murmansk. At last report, the protesters faced a potential charge of piracy.

This protest is remarkable for its sheer audacity. But it is by no means the sole protest lately against runaway fossil-fuel extraction and consumption. People are speaking up around the globe, demanding action to combat global warming. In North America, a broad coalition has been growing to stop the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, as well as to stop the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands, which the pipeline is designed to carry.

The corporate persons aren’t just sociopaths, they’re stupid. September 30:

The recently released IPCC report confirms the urgency of the climate crisis.  While widespread citizen action to advocate sane climate policies in America and around the world is a good sign, it’s distressing that the business and financial communities have been both tardy and inadequate in their approach to the problem: a decade late, a trillion dollars short.

The plain facts are simple: action now to mitigate damages will save us money, time and lives in the future. That our government has failed to take even the most anodyne steps to address the metastasizing greenhouse effect is testimony to an ugly reality: the corporate sector which dominates our politics is itself dominated by a toxic mix of scientific ignorance and greed.

The facts are simple: excessive CO2 emissions are damaging our planet’s health and are on track to disrupt and destroy much of our civilization over the coming century, while bringing humanity closer to what evolutionary biologists coyly term an “evolutionary bottleneck” — a delicate euphemism for extinction-level global trauma. I may be naive, but I can’t see how letting your customers get wiped out is good for long-term profitability. Business needs to wake up and support climate action.

Warren Senders


Year 4, Month 3, Day 29: Things We Said Today

Sure wish we had more like this guy, as reported by the Rutland Herald (VT):

MONTPELIER — It was fitting that on a day devoted to talking about global warming, a makeshift parking lot at Montpelier High School was a mud pit by 1 p.m. in the middle of March.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., hosted a conference on climate change Saturday at Montpelier High School. Around 400 Vermonters heard from Sanders, state officials, students at the University of Vermont and climate author Bill McKibben about what may happen to the planet if something is not done to curb climate change.

“Global warming is not only real, it is terribly real,” Sanders said. “It is the planetary crisis of our time. If we don’t get our act together, this planet will only get worse.”

He added, “We have a moral responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to our kids and grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Doing the right thing shouldn’t be so unusual, but it is. March 17:

Bernie Sanders’ readiness to propose legislation which offers a genuinely responsible approach to climate change unfortunately puts him in a minority position in American politics. It also demonstrates once again how important it is for our elected officials not to be bought and controlled by the corporate interests which currently exert a grossly disproportionate influence on our governance — because it is those same corporations which are standing in the way of meaningful action on the climate crisis.

Many politicians appear to believe that the political consequences of meaningful climate action would put them out of work. Perhaps the Republicans currently in thrall to their anti-science tea-party constituents are correct — but a steadily increasing majority of the American people recognize a crisis when they see one, and are eager for their government to start taking the problem with the seriousness it demands.

It is a profound indictment of our system’s current level of corruption that Bernie Sanders has become a “climate hero” simply by offering a policy proposal based on the sound intellectual and ethical principles which most other lawmakers have long ago sacrificed at the altar of their corporate paymasters.

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 23: The Dolphins Are Full Of Oil. Why Should Federal Judges Be Any Different?

So the judge who overturned the drilling moratorium turns out to own a bunch of stock in oil and drilling companies. Gosh! Who could have expected it?

Time Magazine ran an AP story on the injunction, but didn’t mention the Judge’s questionable investing practices, so I sent them the following:

It should come as no surprise that Judge Martin Feldman, who just blocked the administration’s proposed moratorium on deepwater drilling, appears have substantial investments in companies involved in the offshore oil industry. Judge Feldman, according to 2008 reports, even owns stock in Transocean, the owners of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon platform. That Mr. Feldman did not immediately recuse himself from the case is revealing; it suggests that such a level of financial intimacy between the oil industry and the judiciary is not particularly remarkable. Oil kills pelicans, dolphins, fish and whales. It ruins ecosystems and local economies. It is destroying the atmosphere. It sullies everything it touches — including, apparently, the administration of justice in America. Even leaving aside the threat of catastrophic climate change, that alone should be reason to shift our consumption patterns — why continue giving money to the corrupt and undeserving?

Warren Senders