Category: Environment

Aug 26

Prepare Thyself

by fwoan | 5 Comments »
ratterrell via flickr
ratterrell via flickr

The “21st century” always sounded like a futuristic utopia to me as a child. Being in my late twenties now, I was certainly still a child when the tired 20th century finally gave up the ghost, but the utopia I had always imagined springing forth didn’t seem to be anywhere I looked. In fact, this century seems to be one characterized by constant war and bloodshed. I feel cheated somehow, because of all the promise and potential we as a species hold. Perhaps it is time I come to terms with the fact that this century will be an incredibly bloody century as we finally run out of oil and kill for strategic advantages over every last drop. America’s wars will increase and will always be resource based and involve permanent occupation as a strategy. These events ensure that I will die in a world much different from the one I was born in. The final question seems to be whether that world will be one I regret leaving or not.

I talked to a guy this week at a party who was completely convinced that we have 300+ years of oil supply left (and that global warming wasn’t happening – and even if it was, it’s no big deal). He had a straight face, too. I kind of did one of those half-sigh, half-laugh things and just ran out of things to say, because what can you say to someone who is that convinced? I learned years ago that rarely are people’s opinion changed in the face of facts or figures. Losing my religion some years ago, firmly convinced me that changing one’s perspective on something that personal had to be arrived at by one’s self. Knowing this, I just told this person that they would do well to mentally prepare themselves to be very disappointed with this idea of “300+ years.”

As a person who would welcome the workers’ revolution and the institution of true democracy and socialism, I too have to prepare myself for disappointment. Partly out of a sneaking fear that we are quickly arriving at a world where that will no longer be possible, for the same reasons that capitalism will also be made impossible: a lack of resources. Part of me fears that we are too quickly throwing ourselves into an impossible situation where society will have no ability to revolutionize itself and adapt but will be forced into collapse and gruesome population crash, the likes of which we have never seen, will follow.

I hesitate to publish this entry as it seems really sullen and incoherent. I survived my first earthquake this week and now I gather supplies to survive a hurricane, so maybe I’m feeling a little sullen as I look over evacuation policies and boxes of candles and fill my tub with emergency water. Will rolling blackouts and empty grocery shelves like I saw today become the norm when we finally understand that the decades of putting off research for alternative energy have truly fucked us? I guess I have to prepare myself to be disappointed.

Army Vet via flickr
Army Vet via flickr

A year ago yesterday the explosion that caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill rocked the Gulf of Mexico and the infamous pipeline began spewing death into our waters for nearly 5 months. The consequences of this tragedy cannot be fully understood just yet and I’m sure we’ll all see and hear horror stories resulting from these events for many years to come. And as the common refrain goes, those responsible for this destruction are nowhere near being held responsible and are not expected to make good for their misdeeds. Indeed, not a single law or regulation has passed to prevent another disaster. This comes on the heels of learning what we always suspected, the various oil companies’ role in our most recent and tragic invasion of Iraq.
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CaptPiper via flickr
CaptPiper via flickr

After the terrible destruction of Japan’s tsunami, the overheating nuclear reactors damaged in the disaster are in the midst of creating yet another tragedy for the people of Japan. Those working courageously around the clock in incredibly dangerous conditions may avert further disaster but let’s look at the situation as it currently stands. While reading about these developments I thought back to the recent events of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill last summer that saturated the Gulf of Mexico with poison and showed Americans yet again how disaster seems to constantly remind us of the folly of our society’s energy policies. Just as an energy plan focused around burning fossil fuels leads to disaster, so too will an energy policy focused on using radioactive materials and later burying those materials in the earth.
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I’ve been watching a bunch of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts’ videos lately, and I especially have been enjoying their animated lectures. There’s one narrated by Jeremy Rifkin that talks about the myths of human nature and the need to achieve an empathic civilization. It raises important issues about human consciousness and how humans have related to each other in the past and how we need to learn to relate if our survival is worth ensuring.
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May 18

A 4.5 Billion Year Strategy

by fwoan | Comments Off

While platforms explode and leak thousands of gallons of death into our oceans, and while mines collapse and kill workers – our country now seems to be jumping in the way of a bullet fired generations ago. That bullet is nuclear power. Seemingly ignoring perhaps the best opportunity to make the case for transforming our country’s energy system into actual clean and renewable source dependency, our president is doing the only thing he knows how to do – catering to corporate power. The nuclear industry has been trying to resuscitate its image for decades and have found themselves the perfect cheerleader in our president.
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While I was reading about this disastrous oil spill last week, I really thought that this would be all the proof needed to show the country and most importantly our president that the idea of expanding our offshore drilling is nothing short of stupid. Personally, I loved the Huffington Post’s headline of “SPILL BABY SPILL” and thought it the perfect response to Sarah Palin’s mindless droning. However, I am continuously surprised with the speed and ability of those who would defend the status quo and when I read this morning that Representative Gene Taylor of Mississippi compared the gulf’s oil spill to that of chocolate milk – I nearly fell out of my chair.
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I mean, they wanted to keep destroying the environment whilst chanting “drill, baby, drill”, give the finger to labor, escalate wars, keep suspects locked away in Guantanamo, stay in Iraq, use government to help business at the expense of its citizens, and enforce discrimination against gays. You have to keep voting for the Democrats to avoid that shit, am I right guys?
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