Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not so subtle any longer.

With unprecedented flooding in Texas, tornado season starting up in the Midwest in places unaccustomed, and the west coast entering its fourth year of devastating drought, only those completely in denial or with financial interests see the system as it is as functional.

The time has come to reevaluate our priorities, in big meaningful ways. Our entire economy; since the industrial revolution made traditional slavery obsolete, is based on fossil fuels. As the name implies, there is no sustainable rate at which fossil fuels can be extracted from the ground. Furthermore, so much of our technological advancement is based on processes that require petroleum in one form or another, that we cannot afford to squander this precious resource any longer.

When I see a 7,000lb Cadillac Escalade driving down the street with one individual as the sole occupant, I don't see opulence or style, I see greed and insecurity. Greed that with reckless abandon steals from the future with out any concern because their insecurity commands their desire to be seen in a certain way. But surely this individual is nothing more than a product of their environment. So what is shaping our society in such a way that such unabashed waste is envied and eventually emulated?

Oil is profitable, less so now than when it was at its heyday, before the peak of American crude in the 70's. But because of nearly two and a half centuries of constant demand, the market has created some of the most powerful monsters humanity has ever generated, easily a threat to life equal with atomic weapons, yet different in that we are all complicit. Today there is no life on earth untouched, positively or negatively, by the consumption of fossil fuels. The changes in climate brought on by the increased concentration of byproducts resulting from petroleum, coal and "natural" gas extraction and use are being felt by every living thing on our planet.

Offshore drilling rig platforms can easily be made taller to accommodate rising seas, the loss of polar sea ice loss only means new areas for extraction, aquifer destruction leads to more land for hydraulic fracturing sites. This is a heartless monster well out of control of the people caught up in its mechanisms. It has protected its self from the human failings in its design and from regulation by its shear size and perceived importance. It is the great evil of our time.

1 comment:

  1. 'Money talks' is an old, but useful, aphorism to show both the past failures of our culture and the path forward. The guy in the Cadillac is responding to the inculcated indoctrination of the mass culture as espoused by the capitalist system: ie the guy with the stylish wheels gets the sexy girl and zooms around on empty streets. This is a common fantasy spun out on the tube ad nauseum, reinforced by a culture of NASCAR, beer and brats, which is the working class equivalent.

    The path forward is illuminated by the other side of talking money, starting with the divestment and boycott movement to starve the beast followed by the conversion to sustainablity which will kill it off completely. Substitute bicycles for cars, sailing ships for cargo haulers, small farming for agri-biz, and worker owned and operated co-ops for capitalist enterprises, and we can collectively turn this thing around. The revolution will not be a huge dramatic confrontation with the capitalist system, but more of a 'death by a thousand cuts.' Q: What if nobody was willing to invest in this insane system? A: It would lose its ass financially as well as politically. Q: What if nobody bought the junk being made in China and shipped to Walmart? A: They would simply evaporate, and almost overnight the incredibly resilient planet would start to heal.

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