“[Climate change is] not a function of bad technology, it’s a function of a bad business model: of the fact that Exxon Mobil and BP and Peabody Coal are allowed to use the atmosphere, free of charge, as an open sewer for the inevitable waste from their products. They’ll fight to the end to defend that business model, for it produces greater profits than any industry has ever known. We won’t match them dollar for dollar: To fight back, we need a different currency, our bodies and our spirit and our creativity. That’s what a movement looks like: let’s hope we can rally one in time to make a difference.”–Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben is one of the most well known environmentalists in the country today. His early involvement in talk about climate change began with his 1989 book “The End of Nature.” Last Friday night, he stood on the stage of the Hammerstein Ballroom and declared that what we have to do now is more important than anything we have ever faced as a species.
(More important than Facebook? More important than Lady Gaga? More important than nuclear disarmament? YES!)
McKibben’s organization 350.org stopped in New York City as part of its “Do the Math” tour. (In 2008, scientists calculated that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide was the most the atmosphere could hold and still maintain a livable climate for civilization.)
It was a night of rock mixed with electronic music, enthusiastic shout-outs to those already active in their local communities, hard facts, and a general roadmap for what lies ahead.
It’s not news to anyone these days that the Arctic ice cap is melting, the oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, and that our forests and crops are dying. Yet this isn’t a problem for the grandkids to worry about, as the destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy makes only so clear. The time to act is NOW.
(Actually, it’s a crime that our politicians didn’t address climate change years ago, but, really, we’re running out of wiggle room. At least, if we cannot stop droughts and hurricanes and floods and water and food shortages and the high temperatures that will make great swathes of the globe uninhabitable, we have one last chance before it could get really, really bad.)
Next up, Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine,” took the microphone and she framed the fight against the oil companies as similar to the anti-apartheid movement that pressured governments and colleges and companies to divest from South Africa.
“This is a moral issue,” she said. “We’ve got to shame the oil companies just the way the South African leadership was held accountable.”
What is essential in the immediate future? Halting the Keystone XL Pipeline. The head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Jim Hansen, says it must be stopped or it‘s “game over” for the environmental movement. The pipeline would be 1,700 miles long and it would transport tar sands mined in Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Here is what Hansen says about our addiction to oil:
President George W. Bush said that the U.S. was addicted to oil. So what will the U.S. response to this situation be? Will it entail phasing out fossil fuels and moving to clean energy or borrowing the dirtiest needle from a fellow addict? That is the question facing President Obama. If he chooses the dirty needle it is game over because it will confirm that Obama was just green washing, like the other well-oiled politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction. Canada is going to sell its dope, if it can find a buyer. So if the United States is buying the dirtiest stuff, it also surely will be going after oil in the deepest ocean, the Arctic, and shale deposits; and harvesting coal via mountaintop removal and long-wall mining. Obama will have decided he is a hopeless addict.
The mission of this blog is to link three vital movements: the fight for the environment, the fight for animal rights, and the fight in favor of vegan nutrition and against SAD (the standard American diet).
One obvious example of how they’re all connected…
Simply this: If we didn’t eat pork, there would be no need to abuse pigs and pollute the environment.
Bill McKibben writes in his book “Eaarth”:
There are “farms” in the United States with hundreds of thousands of swine, producing more sewage each day than big cities. The animals are miserable, the pollution is intense, and it’s all utterly unsustainable–by some estimates, as much as half of global warming gases can be tied to the livestock industry, with its huge demands on our grain crops. (175-76).
The night ended on a festive note. It’s going to be a long, hard fight, but it’s exciting to be a part of history…in order to stop history’s end.