Corporations lie to protect their profits all of the time and sometimes even get caught, like Ford Motor Company did when it manufactured and sold the Ford Pinto despite knowledge that it had a propensity to blow up when rear ended. Tobacco companies lied about the effects of smoking and chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto continue to lie about the effects of their products. It has come to light that oil companies have also been lying. Major oil companies knew about the effects of human induced climate change as early as 1977 according to recent findings. Exxon Mobil led the climate change denial chorus which was then taken up by other companies in order to intentionally deceive politicians and the public so they could protect their profits and keep drilling for more oil. Intentionally lying about something that quite literally puts the entire planet and all of humanity at risk is mind numbingly stupid and simply further highlights the fact that “the love of money” is the root of all evil. Because I do not have a TV, I don’t know if this story has been picked up by the lame-stream, corporate media machine. The cynic in me doubts that it has. Of course it should be front page news on every paper and the lead story on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and on all the local news programs.
Despite the fact that the state of New York is investigating Exxon due to its lies and for funding climate change denial and that reports of this monumental, murderous malfeasance can be found on the internet, there are still politicians running around denying that climate change is even real–oil state shills like Ted Cruz (TX) and James Inhofe (OK) come to mind. This kind of obstructionist denial is dangerous as well because Inhofe is on the Senate committee for the environment, has strong ties to the oil and gas industry, and these folks dictate public policy. It was not that long ago that Dick Cheney in a back room, secret deal gutted environmental regulations so that extractive industries could pollute with impunity while raking in profits. Now places where fracking is common are experiencing earth quakes, ground water and surface water is being polluted with toxic chemicals, methane is mixing with drinking water and fracking chemicals are being used to deice roads. With appropriate regulation none of these things would even be possible because fracking would be far too expensive to undertake if environmental costs were tallied in and communities were aware of the enormous risks associated with fracking (again companies have lied about the risks).
It’s no secret that burning fossil fuels adds carbon to the atmosphere and that they are a limited resource. It also makes things a lot easier for those of us in wealthy nations. The dynamic must change immediately. We are now over 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is dangerously high. As a people, we need to DEMAND that companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Chesapeake Energy et al pay for their crimes against humanity and crimes against nature. We need political leaders to seize the assets of these companies to fund clean up efforts, massive tree plantings, soil rebuilding, and other ecological methods of sequestering carbon. Leaders of these companies should be held legally responsible as well and politicians on the take from Big Oil should also be prosecuted. We need to re-imagine our communities so that walking and bike travel are safe and convenient, and re-localize food production to reduce food miles. Investors must needs divest from all fossil fuel related companies. Without investment they cannot function nor can they further harm the biosphere.
On a personal level, we can all walk or bike more, carpool, take public transit and find ways to make our lives less “car-centric”. From a policy level, I think it makes a great deal of sense to limit the use and extraction of fossil fuels in the following ways:
- Ban all driving and plane travel a minimum of one day per week except for emergency services. The Bible advocates keeping a work free Sabbath. I see this as a continuance of that wise tradition that would reduce the amount of emissions by 1/7th. This may seem inconvenient but trying to live on an uninhabitable planet is much more problematic.
- Immediately ban the following practices: off-shore drilling, hydraulic fracturing, mountain top removal mining, and drilling in ecologically sensitive areas.
- Radically increase the standards for fuel economy. What passes for fuel economy in the United States is ludicrous. There are multiple cars sold in Europe that get over 100 m.p.g. Fuel efficient cars
- Immediately end all government subsidies and tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry and transfer those monies to renewable energy technology and ecological rehabilitation projects. Factor in all societal costs when pricing and taxing fossil fuels.
- Scale down the size of farms and foster fossil free fuel farms. Ban the use of fossil fuel based fertilizers in favor of regenerative soil building techniques and organic methods.
- Massively down size the U.S. military which uses enormous amounts of fossil fuels.
- Disclose relevant available information about fossil fuel free technology that could help with the transition to fossil free energy.
We rely on nature to live for food, water, shelter. A vibrant natural world fosters life. Let’s protect and regenerate it.
For your inspiration…shot with Canon SL1 and 50mm lens on 12/25/15