A fervent long-time environmentalist decides that there is little that we can do to preserve the environment. All is lost:
“Whenever I hear the word ‘hope’ these days, I reach for my whiskey bottle,” he told an interviewer in 2012. “It seems to me to be such a futile thing. What does it mean? What are we hoping for? And why are we reduced to something so desperate? Surely we only hope when we are powerless?”
Instead of trying to “save the earth,” Kingsnorth says, people should start talking about what is actually possible. Kingsnorth has admitted to an ex-activist’s cynicism about politics as well as to a worrying ambivalence about whether he even wants civilization, as it now operates, to prevail. But he insists that he isn’t opposed to political action, mass or otherwise, and that his indignations about environmental decline and industrial capitalism are, if anything, stronger than ever. Still, much of his recent writing has been devoted to fulminating against how environmentalism, in its crisis phase, draws adherents. Movements like Bill McKibben’s 350.org, for instance, might engage people, Kingsnorth told me, but they have no chance of stopping climate change. “I just wish there was a way to be more honest about that,” he went on, “because actually what McKibben’s doing, and what all these movements are doing, is selling people a false premise. They’re saying, ‘If we take these actions, we will be able to achieve this goal.’ And if you can’t, and you know that, then you’re lying to people. And those people . . . they’re going to feel despair.”
What’s the problem with fracking? This five-minute video tells you enough to justify making it a crime. The evidence is easy to uncover, our media is largely silent, we are poisoning our precious limited supply of fresh water at a horrifying rate, and our government policies encourage all of this.
We now understand it’s about corporate partnerships. It’s not, “sue the bastards;” it’s, “work through corporate partnerships with the bastards.” There is no enemy anymore. More than that, it’s casting corporations as the solution, as the willing participants and part of this solution. That’s the model that has lasted to this day. . . .We’ve globalized an utterly untenable economic model of hyperconsumerism. It’s now successfully spreading across the world, and it’s killing us.
[I]t goes back to the elite roots of the movement, and the fact that when a lot of these conservation groups began there was kind of a noblesse oblige approach to conservation. It was about elites getting together and hiking and deciding to save nature. And then the elites changed. So if the environmental movement was going to decide to fight, they would have had to give up their elite status. And weren’t willing to give up their elite status. I think that’s a huge part of the reason why emissions are where they are. . . . where that really came to a head was over fracking. The head offices of the Sierra Club and the NRDC and the EDF all decided this was a “bridge fuel.” We’ve done the math and we’re going to come out in favor of this thing. And then they faced big pushbacks from their membership, most of all at the Sierra Club. And they all had to modify their position somewhat. It was the grassroots going, “Wait a minute, what kind of environmentalism is it that isn’t concerned about water, that isn’t concerned about industrialization of rural landscapes – what has environmentalism become?” And so we see this grassroots, place-based resistance in the movements against the Keystone XL pipeline and the Northern Gateway pipeline, the huge anti-fracking movement.
Many other experts share this view, assuring us that increased reliance on “clean” natural gas combined with expanded investments in wind and solar power will permit a smooth transition to a green energy future in which humanity will no longer be pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. All this sounds promising indeed. There is only one fly in the ointment: it is not, in fact, the path we are presently headed down. The energy industry is not investing in any significant way in renewables. Instead, it is pouring its historic profits into new fossil-fuel projects, mainly involving the exploitation of what are called “unconventional” oil and gas reserves. The result is indisputable: humanity is not entering a period that will be dominated by renewables. Instead, it is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas. . . . Hydro-fracking — the use of high-pressure water columns to shatter underground shale formations and liberate the oil and natural gas supplies trapped within them — is being undertaken in ever more regions of the United States and in a growing number of foreign countries. In the meantime, the exploitation of carbon-dirty heavy oil and tar sands formations is accelerating in Canada, Venezuela, and elsewhere.
From Rocky Mountain Institute:
According to Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, renewables are successful in Germany and not in the U.S. because Germany has “got a lot more sun than we do.” Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded during her now-infamous flub, “but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work.” (She recanted the next day while adding new errors.)
Actually, Germany gets only about as much annual sun as Seattle or Alaska; its sunniest region gets less sun than almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. This underscores an important point: solar power works and competes not only in the sunniest places, but in some pretty cloudy places, too.
I would have taken 30 seconds for FOX to figure out that Germany gets much less sun than most of the U.S., which leads me to conclude that FOX is intentionally telling a lie to support the fossil fuel industry.
Are you thinking of putting solar panels on your roof? It would be a great idea for many reasons. Before you begin the process, though, read the story of Frances Babb, who had to fight hard to get the job done in the west St. Louis County area of Clarkson Valley.
What is it called when you can save many lives, but you don’t? Homocide? Terracide? Scientists insist that we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels, and it would be a win win win. It’s going to be very difficult when we are bombarded with so incredibly much “clean-coal” and “clean natural gas” propaganda. But here’s what we COULD do, from Stanford:
If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources – nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today – why wouldn’t you do it?
According to a new study coauthored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we could accomplish all that by converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels.
“Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”
More clear than ever, every political issue is about campaign finance reform and media reform. The fossil fuel industry (The American Gas Association (AGA) is in the process of gutting Section 433 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Section 433 requires new federal buildings and major renovations to meet the 2030 Challenge […]