Archive for April, 2016

Earth Day: A Different Perspective

Wizard of Id Earth Day

Fuck Earth Day

The sentiment comes from an article Wen Stephenson wrote for The Nation magazine a few years back and it is exponentially more relevant today. The whole exercise is designed to brainwash school kids into thinking picking up trash addresses the issue of Nature and Our collective relationship to it. It is an all too easy step from there to click-tivism and seeing your mailbox crammed with fundraising letters from the enviro-nonprofit Complex.

If you pay attention to such things you might have seen the latest Senate Energy Bill, supported by both of Montana’s distinguished statesmen. It “streamlines development of energy projects” and “establishes a pilot program to ease permitting obstacles for gas and oil drilling”. The “all of the above” energy policy of the Obama administration designed to Make America Great Again.

The very next piece on NPR (Liberal capitalist radio where I heard about it) described all the money the Feds would be pouring into Bull Trout recovery because its habitat is being mangled by climate change. What was missing (always) was any commentary as to the insane disconnect. This is the normalizing process, like picking up trash on Earth Day or re-cycling your plastic.Within the act is embedded a reassuring we-have-this-under-control continuity. Next years Earth Day plans are already being made.




Breaking Free, Free at Last

May 13-15: Anacortes Break Free Action

“We are in a kind of climate emergency now,” struggling to stay below 1.5°C of warming, to avoid radical climate destabilization [3]. No current policies keep us anywhere near this goal: We are barreling towards double that temperature, leaving us with a broken world. This has to change, and we have to lead: We have to Break Free from Fossil Fuels! [4] This global climate movement initiative aims to shut down the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects and support the most ambitious climate solutions.

In the Northwest, we are breaking free by taking on the region’s biggest carbon bomb: the Shell and Tesoro refineries at March Point in northern Washington. Combined, these facilities refine 47 percent of all the gasoline and diesel consumed in the region, and produce the largest, unaddressed point source of carbon pollution in the Northwest. They are an integral part of the system that we must change – within years, not decades.

Join us for regional mobilization and a mass action outside these refineries on May 13, 14, and 15, to demand that we Break Free from Big Oil and speed up a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy. By land and by sea, we will stage creative and inspirational sit-ins, blockades, and kayaktivism. For people who prefer to not engage in civil disobedience, support roles and general opportunities for participation are essential to this action. NRRT and allied carpoolers, caravaners, and protesters risking arrest or not are traveling from Missoula, Moscow/Pullman, Sandpoint, and Spokane to Anacortes for this Break Free Pacific Northwest mass action.

We hope that you can play a part in this powerful movement moment. Plans are coming together quickly: In just the last month, 2,000 people have signed the pledge, 400 are willing to engage in civil disobedience on the sea or land, and 30 groups have joined as coalition members.

Break Free from Fossil Fuels is about more than one action. It is about accelerating our movement to take on and defeat the fossil fuel industry and the political powers behind it. It is time to shift the public narrative off fossil fuels to the possibilities, necessity, and urgency of a rapid and just energy transition. We encourage you to join us, as we together #breakfree!

Taking a Leap

This issue of a “Just Transition” has come to the forefront as the climate movement begins to be taken seriously by both labor and capital. The painful reality is that the necessary shift from fossil fuel energy to sustainable energy will be disruptive for everybody. Sorry. Guess we shouldn’t have waited till it was a crisis to start planning. But that’s capitalism for you. Permanent crisis. We can pretend there will be a seamless, just transition to a new “green capitalism” where everyone has jobs and wealth or we can admit that, as Robert Jensen puts it “we will need ways of organizing ourselves to help us live in a world with less energy and fewer material goods.”

At this very juncture, our  Canadian friends are grappling with the same difficult economic and political implications, in what is perhaps a preview for us here in the US. A document called the Leap Manifesto has roiled the New Democratic Party and forced the entire nation to see there are some hard choices (and struggles) ahead. In unflinching terms, the Manifesto lays out the science and the timeline. It says “no more investment in fossil fuel infrastructure”, which doesn’t go over so well in Alberta, home of the Tar Sands. They want to build pipelines, and by they, I mean the corporations, the workers, and the politicians who want to be re-elected (including NDP Premier). You know the argument by now: jobs, the “economy”, slow transition, etc.. Sound at all familiar?  Reality bites.

The Leap coalition, with a strong youth contingent, pushed hard to have the document (some principle authors include Avi Lewis and wife Naomi Klein) accepted into the party platform and though the agreement reached was to continue the debate, the issue was contentious enough to bring down the party leader. Conservatives mock the proposal as “utopian and idealistic” and say it will hurt workers and the economy. Of course unchecked climate change will result in ecocide and social chaos but whatever.

To fund the transition, the Leap proposes taxes; taxes on transactions, taxes on wealth, taxes on carbon. Opponents want hard and fast numbers of what all this “costs”, what the “price” will be. And it is here that the climate movement faces its own crisis. How it answers that question is the most critical juncture we face; will it reject this Market language and logic and propose a totally new framework-  or will it try to mitigate and mollify Capital using the same failed logic which got us here in the first place. This is an ideological struggle of the first order, of historical magnitude, and it is now in play. The only Just Transition is one that abandons Market logic altogether. Neither the cost nor the price nor the value can be calculated in dollars and cents.