Tag Archives: Environment

Signs of the Times

I don’t know what to say about the fact that Kentucky’s Coal Museum is powered by solar panels but …. here it is, folks:

Tre’ Sexton said he was surprised when his company, Bluegrass Solar, was approached about the project. If there was one building in eastern Kentucky that wouldn’t have a solar-power system, you’d think it would be the coal museum, he said.

“Really the first time that I sat down and was talking about it with everybody, I was like…are you for real? They’re really going to go for this?” Sexton said. “I mean, that would be like showing up at a bank and they ask you if you’d mind taking some of this money out of the vault.”

But putting solar panels on top of the coal museum makes sense economically, Sexton said. Public attractions like this one can’t be profitable if they’re dealing with expensive electric bills every month. And people in eastern Kentucky are becoming more interested in alternative energy options.

There’s been a lot of discussion about coal and coal jobs lately, mostly because everyone always panders to coal states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania during election season. Both sides do it, and both sides are wrong. I mean, Republicans are the worst — Trump is famously making promises he can’t deliver, while Republicans are hanging sick retired miners out to dry. Democrats can be just as bad, though. Remember Alison Grimes, running for Kentucky Senate, criticizing President Obama on the loss of coal jobs? Her “concern” was such obvious bullshit, everyone knew it, and of course she got called on it.

Democrats and Republicans need to just stop this nonsense. These are not stupid people. They know their industry is dying. Stop promising to pull a Lazarus on a dying industry. It’s like it’s 1910 and politicians are promising to bring back wagons and farriers. I wonder how a politician of either party would fare if they came into coal country and said, “look, market forces have changed, coal has been replaced, let’s transition your economies to other industries with aggressive economic development and education programs.”

Would that get respect or a barrage of lying SuperPac ads? Probably the latter. That was basically Hillary Clinton’s message, and we all know how well that went over. Thing is, people just want to dream the impossible dream. Lie to me, please. Tell me that you can save my local coal mine, even if that one in Pennsylvania is shutting down. No, these people aren’t stupid, they’re desperate. Desperation is a hard emotion to address during a campaign.

But here we are. That the fucking Kentucky Coal Museum is being powered by solar panels because it’s more economical just says it all, doesn’t it? Coal has been dying for decades, and it’s not because of Obama or the EPA, it’s because of “market forces” and the damn numbers, folks. They don’t add up:

Coal mining jobs, meanwhile, have also fallen 70% since 1985, a loss of 120,000 jobs.

The coal industry has lost much of its customer base not because of regulations but because natural gas production has soared, pushing down the price of that cleaner source of electrical power.

In addition, falling costs for green energy, such as solar and wind power, have cut the demand for coal. So has a move by overseas markets, like China, to shift away from coal in an attempt to clean up badly polluted air.

Lots of people wonder why every election we pander to an industry that accounts for around the same number of employees as Whole Foods Markets:

It’s a good question. I have to say, this is an issue where both sides get it way wrong. I love the anti-fracking people on the left, you know, the ones who just couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s “pro-fracking” and that’s a dealbreaker. Well then, are you in favor of climate change? Are you pro-mountaintop removal mining? Because those are the choices right now. Coal is dying — has been dying, for decades — because natural gas is ascending, and we get natural gas from fracking. So pick your poison.

And yes, solar and wind are good options but we do not have the infrastructure to transition our entire economy to these sources overnight. Our grid can’t accommodate it right now. We need that “Apollo program for energy” that we’ve been promised, but it’s not happening yet. So it has to happen in bits and pieces. Like the Kentucky Coal Museum putting solar panels on its roof, or this coal operation in eastern Kentucky planning a solar farm on a reclaimed strip mine.

We pander to an industry that supplies fewer than 100,000 jobs because there’s a lot of history attached to it and it’s a cultural touchstone. Much of “coal country” is in a culturally rich part of the nation which has supplied America with its most beloved artists, music and literature.

I’m shocked that as much as we pander to this region, we haven’t offered any realistic plan to bail it out this time around. You know, like we did in the 1930s with the creation of TVA, or Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Maybe it’s a sign of our dysfunctional government that we just can’t do big things anymore.

Donald Trump can’t save the coal industry. Neither can Republicans. Nor can Democrats. Coal communities are going to have to find the answer within:

The old mind-set that the region needs a big jobs provider – like coal – is hard to break. Younger generations watch their parents endure unsteady employment and worry about their own prospects. Older generations can’t visualize a different way forward.

One mistake outsiders make, many here say, is thinking all this is actually about coal. It’s not. It’s more about the life coal provided. Where else could you earn $80,000 a year with a high school education or less?

“Embrace the change or be left behind,” says Jeff Combs of Hazard, Ky., standing outside a bed-and-breakfast on a hill overlooking the community’s nearly vacant downtown. “Be open-minded. Be open-minded to more.” Mr. Combs’s father, a former coal miner, implored him to avoid the mines. It was tough work, dangerous and unhealthy in the long term. Combs’s father was on disability in his 50s.

Is there a politician out there with the guts and fortitude to offer a little tough love? Who can say, point blank, times have changed and you have to change with them? Today’s jobs require education and skills, that’s just the reality. Gone are the days when you could drop out of high school and earn a good living in the mines. That’s over. Blaming treehuggers or liberals isn’t going to change that. But blaming others for things we feel powerless to change just feels so much better, doesn’t it?

23 Comments

Filed under energy conservation, energy future, environment, solar energy

Elections Have Consequences, An UPDATE

Sorry for the long absence, I’ve been working like crazy.

Updating this post from last month about the poor citizens of Camden, Tennessee. To recap: a landfill in Camden, TN, started accepting hazardous waste under a loophole our Republican governor helped push through allowing landfill operators to privately petition the state’s Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. This means a landfill that Camden citizens thought was accepting just regular old household waste was, without any public notice or public disclosure, suddenly taking in dangerous chemicals, and the reason nobody knew about it is because Gov. Haslam removed all consumer representatives from that Board, so now it’s a bunch of industry cronies gladhanding each other and doing the ol’ wink-wink-nod-nod as their buddies pollute your drinking water.

Hilariously, the Camden residents decided to ask the EPA to help out, you know, the same EPA the man they overwhelmingly voted to be president wants to eliminate and the woman they overwhelmingly support as their Congressmonster wants to defund and fold into the Dept. of Energy. It’s hilarious that everyone keeps voting for Republicans and then they end up with a toxic waste dump in their backyards and they still haven’t connected the dots.

So anyhoo, about that landfill:

CAMDEN — Operators of a controversial landfill generating hazardous waste have padlocked the gates and left the site. Two former workers said the company abandoned two tanker trucks full of potentially explosive ammonia, dozens of 250-pound plastic containers containing cadmium sludge and thousands of gallons of potentially toxic runoff near a residential neighborhood.

The company, Environmental Waste Solutions, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

That’s certainly not good. The citizens of Camden have every right to be pissed off, and they are:

“What if you lived next door to that?” Charles Hubbs asked Flood. “I smelled that thing this afternoon. I’m mad. I mean, I don’t care who knows….We’ve been told from the get-go that there’s no problem with hazardous waste. TDEC has for the last 10 years told us there is no problem. Everything is taken care of.”

“There was an opportunity to keep it from being the monster that it has become,” said Elizabeth Murphy, an attorney representing residents who live next door to the landfill in a long-running legal dispute with EWS. “That is at (TDEC Commissioner) Martineau’s feet…The failure has been abysmal. TDEC has failed. I have never seen anyone at TDEC really give a damn.

The landfill is home to a mound of waste that is the city’s tallest structure. It is covered partially by black tarp held down by tires, and an Astroturf-like material covers another area. Nothing will grow on the mound, nicknamed “Black Mountain” by state officials.

TDEC has failed because the state government is in Republican hands and modern Republicans don’t view environmental regulations as a benefit to peoples’ health and welfare, they view them as an obstruction to private profits. That is an absolute, 100%, incontrovertible fact. Remember Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s “TN Red Tape” tours?

Stop voting for Republicans, people. They don’t care about your water and air. C’mon, everybody knows that.

13 Comments

Filed under environment, EPA, Tennessee

Elections Have Consequences

Call me biased but there are some issues that I firmly believe are better in Democratic hands than Republican ones. And I put the environment at the top of that list.

If you want clean air, water, soil and all the rest, Democrats are your people. Sure, we have disagreements and we’re not perfect; BernieBros purists will be happy to point out Democrats who are okay with fracking, or others who believe in “clean coal.” These are complicated issues and there are some tough choices and all the rest. But by and large, Democrats are the ones who are reliable defenders of the environment. Republicans are the ones who harp on about “red tape” and “regulations” harming jobs, who peddle fantasies about the “free hand of the market” driving polluters out of business and who constantly harp on about dismantling the EPA.

So excuse me for being a little puzzled by the people of Benton County, TN who have lately been wondering how their landfill all of a sudden started accepting hazardous waste, which appears to be a health issue for those living nearby. I’ll tell you how that happened: you overwhelming voted for Republicans at every level of government, and those people don’t give a shit about your water and air, that’s how.

Or to put it another way:

Obtaining a state permit to establish a new landfill requires public notice and disclosure about the types of waste that will be deposited so communities can discuss, debate or even intervene to stop a landfill before it starts. Once a landfill has gotten its initial permit, however, landfill owners and waste generators in Tennessee can privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials.

[…]

Camden Mayor Roger Pafford said no one from TDEC informed city officials that their town was now home to a hazardous waste landfill. The omission was particularly galling to city officials because the leachate – or wastewater – pipe carrying hazardous waste from the landfill flows directly above a city drinking water main.

Well, that’s bad news. So is it okay for private industries to “privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials” and not tell anyone what’s going on? I certainly don’t think so. But remember, our wonderful “moderate” non-crazy Gov. Haslam is the one who removed consumer representatives from the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. So that might be one reason why you didn’t know about the toxic sludge now buried in your backyards.

And to add insult to injury, these folks are now hoping the EPA can help them get to the bottom of this mess. They’ve actually requested that the Environmental Protection Agency investigate this.

Excuse me a moment.

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AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

Okay, I’m back now.

Have y’all seen the bill Republicans filed in Congress to eliminate the EPA? That is literally what the bill says:

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

And that’s it. So, Benton County, good luck with that! Even if that bill fails, have you seen the order of the President (the guy you voted for overwhelmingly) to dismantle the EPA’s clean water rule? Or his proposal to slash the EPA’s budget by a whopping 25% so we can build more nukes? I mean, you voted for it, bigly, so certainly you’re aware of the Trump mandate that EPA data and studies undergo a political review before being released to the public?

You knew about this right? Right?

So do you seriously think a Trump-era EPA has the time, money, or political mojo to go after Haslam cronies in the solid waste business? Pardon me again:

{{ HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

And do you really think that Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who wants to fold the EPA into a cubby in a corner of the Dept. of Energy — and yet another politician you’ve voted for, repeatedly, by like 75% — is going to give a rats’ ass about your drinking water?

And let’s see how much Gov. Haslam, who also has your undying electoral love and devotion, cares. He’s in the midst of actually increasing the amount of toxic sludge flowing into landfills that people previously thought were for orange peels and other household waste:

TDEC is moving forward with efforts to speed up the special waste approval process. TDEC officials last month told members of the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board – the oversight board of members appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam – they were creating an online submission portal that will allow TDEC officials to approve requests for disposal. Haslam four years ago reconstituted the board to remove consumer representatives.

So I really want to know why you idiots keep reflexively pulling the lever for Republicans when you’re worried about safe drinking water and complaining about the loss of land values because of the burning sensation when you jump in the swimming pool and the pH levels that are “off the charts.”

When will you people wake up and realize that your Republican representatives at the state and federal level do not respect you or care about you? They use gays, God and abortion to sucker you into voting for them, then they ignore you the rest of the time. They cut government to the size where it’s useless when you need it, but hey: you bought every BS line they sold you about “big government,” so you have only yourselves to blame.

And okay fine, go ahead and join the Sierra Club now as a last resort, while you try to tell yourself that you’re “not an environmentalist.” We’re all environmentalists, asshole. Poisoned air and water don’t care about your party affiliation. This stuff affects all of us, regardless.

Honestly, I don’t get it, folks.

16 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, elections, environment, EPA, Tennessee

Oil Is Over

From the wire services:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work.

The announcement was a huge blow to Shell, which was counting on offshore drilling in Alaska to help it drive future revenue. Environmentalists, however, had tried repeatedly to block the project and welcomed the news.

Shell has spent upward of $7 billion on Arctic offshore exploration, including $2.1 billion in 2008 for leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast, where an exploratory well about 80 miles off shore drilled to 6,800 feet but yielded disappointing results. Backed by a 28-vessel flotilla, drillers found indications of oil and gas but not in sufficient quantities to warrant more exploration at the site.

Activists in Seattle had been protesting Shell for months after the oil company announced plans to use the Port of Seattle as its base for the Arctic drilling operation. The protests severely hurt Shell’s attempts to craft a public image of an “environmentally friendly” oil company.

I’ve said all along that the economics of offshore oil drilling just aren’t there at this point — maybe not ever again. The easy oil is gone; the stuff that’s left is extraordinarily difficult (and expensive) to get at. With oil prices plummeting, it just doesn’t make economic sense.

Meanwhile, Shell is in the hole to the tune of $4.1 billion thanks to this bad business decision — and not only that, it’s been a public relations disaster, too:

Shell is expected to take a hit of around $4.1bn as a result of the decision.

The company has come under increasing pressure from shareholders worried about the plunging share price and the costs of what has so far been a futile search in the Chukchi Sea.

Shell has also privately made clear it is taken aback by the public protests against the drilling which are threatening to seriously damage its reputation.

Ben van Beurden, the chief executive, is also said to be worried that the Arctic is undermining his attempts to influence the debate around climate change.

His attempts to argue that a Shell strategy of building up gas as a “transitional” fuel to pave the way to a lower carbon future has met with scepticism, partly because of the Arctic operations.

A variety of consultants have also argued that Arctic oil is too expensive to find and develop in either a low oil price environment or in a future world with a higher price on carbon emissions.

Oil is over. It’s yesterday, it’s finished. Give it up.

3 Comments

Filed under energy production, environment, oil industry

Walter Palmer, Worst Human In The World

[UPDATE]:

And right on cue:

palmer

Good luck with that, asshole.

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If you haven’t heard, the killer of Zimbabwe’s unofficial lion mascot Cecil is a Minnesota dentist/trophy hunter/repulsive excuse for a human being:

According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task, Cecil was “lured out of a national park with food, shot with a crossbow, tracked for 40 more hours, then finished off with a gun” by Walter, who is a known trophy hunter. The murder of Cecil is horrifying on its own, but now the many lion cubs left behind are at risk of being killed without Cecil around to protect the pride.

Cecil was found skinned and beheaded. Palmer claims he “didn’t know” the animal he shot was protected and “beloved” but the guy completely lacks credibility. As ABC noted:

In 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he shot and killed in Wisconsin outside of an authorized hunting zone, according to court documents.

Serial liar. Also, apparently sued for sexual harassment. Charming person.

The internet is doing what the internet always does: express its righteous outrage. Dr. Palmer’s Yelp page is certainly interesting, and with Yelp deleting comments as fast as they can be posted, I thought I’d capture a few screen shots for your enjoyment. I hope there’s a bankruptcy in this sadist’s future.

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11 Comments

Filed under environment

How You Know Your Empire Has Died

[UPDATE]:

Here’s the audio clip:

————————-

This discussion between Ali Velshi and Stephen Leeb on Al Jazeera America yesterday was the smartest five minutes I’ve heard on TV news in a long time. The segment was about the new carbon pollution proposals the EPA just unveiled, the same proposals causing aneurisms in right-wing “Drill Here, Drill Now” land (sorry, bear with me guys: for some reason I can’t get the audio clip to post, so here’s the transcript. And you’re gonna have to take my word for this until I can figure out how to post audio, which I believe involves me making a purchase of some kind, possibly more storage) (Got the link posted, I was right, I needed to buy something. The things I do for you guys):

AV: Joining us to tell us more is Stephen Leeb, founder and research chairman of the Leeb Group. Now Stephen, you and I have talked for years about cleaner energy, you‘re an expert on the energy field and somebody who embraces a cleaner environment. My guess is that you would like this, but I’ve heard rumblings that you don’t think this is a good idea?

SL: Well Ali, it’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea, I think it’s a day late, a dollar short, and maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s way too little. What we need in this country is something nationwide, something like the interstate highway system. Something like a smart grid that runs across the country. I mean for me the key here in reading it was that it’s up to the individual states. That just doesn’t cut it. We have a grid in this country that in some.. there are cases in which our grid is more than a century old.

AV: This is our electrical grid.

SL: This is our electrical grid! I mean the only reason people can’t hack it is that one state doesn’t talk to another state! That’s the only advantage I can see to having a grid this old. We could create so many jobs by following China’s example. Build out a smart grid. Then you can have all these energy sources — gas, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal…

AV: Everything feeds in.

SL: Everything feeds in. Right now the Chinese are eating our lunch. I mean there was an item about a week ago in the Financial Times. EDF, a massive French utility, is building an electric plant that will supply 7% of British electricity. Massive! Except they didn’t have the skill sets. Who did they turn to? Not us! The Chinese. Who now has the fastest way of transmitting voltage from one part of the country to the other part of a country? The Chinese! We need to get our act together, Ali, if we’re really going to do something. Yes, I mean, I applaud any efforts to cut down emissions, to use new fuels and we may even get more solar and more wind because ….

AL: And that’s starting to happen. But in Europe it was the cap.. I hear you on how this can be unwieldly with the states but the concept of a cap-and-trade system and an exchange has worked out for Europe.

SL: It can work out yes, but it’s not going to be the solution unless you have a grid that can accommodate it across the country. Eventually you run into trouble. And I’m not even talking about the troubles that you see when you write down the amount of shale oil in this country by 60%, which we did the other day. All of a sudden the Monterey has 4% of what we originally thought.

AV: Right, across the country we are finding in these wells where we thought there was more oil and in some cases natural gas, there’s less.

SL: And it could be much less or maybe there’s more, I mean, you can always hope. But right now we’re becoming more and more dependent on the Marcellus. And you’re starting to see very rapid decline rates there. We need something Ali, I mean we were able to do it 30-40 years ago, interstate highway system, man to the moon…

AV: We don’t have the will to do anything on a national level, particularly something that would cost billions and billions of dollars.

SL: But create billions and billions of jobs! I mean, we somehow equate investment with spending, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Investment in an electrical grid, is not spending, it’s not wasteful. It’s creating something that will benefit all of us, our children, etc.

AV: Give me a sense, because we’ve had some Republicans come out and say this will increase energy costs for the average family in this country where the middle class is struggling. What is the net result on electrical prices out of this?

SL: You know, my guess is the net result is electrical prices go up because the guts of our electrical system right now is still hydrocarbons, and they’re not getting more plentiful. They’re getting scarcer, despite the shale revolution. They are. We’re not going to ever become energy independent, at most maybe we’ll be able to produce 11 million barrels of oil. We may have a little gas to export but basically we’re still going to be relying on outside sources. So regardless, it’s going to up. We need cleaner, renewable, new sources of energy in order to counteract that and this legislation or these proposals — they’re not legislation, not by a long shot — they just don’t go anywhere near far enough to getting us to that goal. I mean I hate to say this but we should take a page out of what the Chinese are doing. I mean look…

AV: There’s no question, they are well ahead of us when it comes to electricity.

SL: And look at their economy? They’re spending all of this money but last I heard their economy is still growing at 7 and a half percent a year. One of the reasons is all the money they’re spending on infrastructure. Let’s do the same thing!

AV: From your lips to their ears, Stephen! Good to see you …

This is what makes me nuts. The idea that we’ve lost touch with what is an “investment” and what is “spending,” when the hell did we decide we can no longer “invest” in America? Now it’s all just “pork” or whatever. The Democrats can’t even get ahead of the damn meme.

You know that America is no longer a global superpower when we can no longer do The Big Things. The saddest thing is, we can’t do these Big Things not because we don’t have the money or the know-how or the military might, but simply because we don’t have the will. This is how empires die, people.

The last “big” thing we did was invade Iraq and Afghanistan. And we did it, not because we forged consensus and compromised and came together as a nation to do it, but because one faction bulldozed their way over anyone who so much as asked the question, why? They used every tool in the toolbox — fear, flag-waving, you name it — to get their way.

The fact that the Left is completely unable to muster the same amount of national will on something clearly more in the country’s interest than invading an oil-rich country in the Middle East is, to me, the single biggest threat to America’s future.

Damn depressing, folks.

12 Comments

Filed under Ali Velshi, carbon offsets, China, climate change, environment, EPA

Your Government Under Republicans

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged

RALEIGH, N.C. — Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina’s new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers.

“The General Assembly doesn’t like you,” an official in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told supervisors called to a drab meeting room here. “They cut your budget, but you didn’t get the message. And they cut your budget again, and you still didn’t get the message.”

From now on, regulators were told, they must focus on customer service, meaning issuing environmental permits for businesses as quickly as possible. Big changes are coming, the official said, according to three people in the meeting, two of whom took notes. “If you don’t like change, you’ll be gone.”

But when the nation’s largest utility, Duke Energy, spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in early February, those big changes were suddenly playing out in a different light. Federal prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into the spill and the relations between Duke and regulators at the environmental agency.

This is how Republicans “govern.” We see it here in Tennessee and everywhere Republicans are put in charge. This is what they do. Defang the regulators and those charged with oversight under the guise of “creating jobs,” then when the inevitable happens and and families are forced to truck in their drinking at personal expense, Republican throw up their hands and say, “See! We told you so! We told you government can’t do anything right!”

It’s hard to feel sorry for the very people who keep voting for this nonsense in the first place because they buy into those ridiculous free market fairy tales. Except the sad thing is, we all end up paying.

Privatize gains, socialize losses. It’s the Republican way.

8 Comments

Filed under ash spill, environment, Republican Party

“We can stop this madness”

Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the Philippines came as the UN’s conference on climate change kicked off in Warsaw, Poland. The Philippines’ lead negotiator, Yeb Sano, whose hometown took a direct hit from the storm, gave an emotional plea for global action on climate change, at times choking back tears, for which he received a standing ovation. If you watch Al Jazeera America, you saw the video and were as touched as I was. (If you watch MSNBC, CNN, network news or, God forbid, Fox, you saw some dog-and-pony-show bullshit on who’s running for president in America in 2016).

As Sano expressed so emotionally in his address, the Philippines have been tested not once but twice by extreme storms powered by climate change’s warming seas. He had a stark reality check for those who still deny what is so painfully obvious to everyone else in the world:

To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce. Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America. And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.

[…]

Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social, and environmental thresholds. Most of the time disasters are a result of inequity and the poorest people of the world are at greatest risk because of their vulnerability and decades of maldevelopment, which I must assert is connected to the kind of pursuit of economic growth that dominates the world; the same kind of pursuit of so-called economic growth and unsustainable consumption that has altered the climate system.

[…]

What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness.

We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.

I’ve been saying for years that right-wing narcissism/xenophobia has fueled so much climate denialism in the rank-and-file: hey, the weather is nice in my hometown! Must be fine everywhere, so shut yer yaps!

And yet, every year around this time I make my annual donations to the American Red Cross, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Oxfam International, etc. related to one natural disaster or another. The fact that last year we had Hurricane Sandy and this year we’ve had two extreme typhoons just months apart should tell you something right there. Each new storm is more severe than the last; each super-storm and super-typhoon leaves more death and devastation in its wake.

I’m not sure that Sano is right. I’m not sure that we can stop this madness. Personally, I think it’s already too late. Now is the time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the consequences of our profligate ways.

But Sano is right, it is madness. And the people who suffer are usually the poorest nations of the world, the ones whose stories go uncovered by American corporate media, which is more interested in presidential politics than stories about real people.

In the meantime, people are suffering. Please consider donating to one of the groups I’ve mentioned above, or your own relief agency of choice.

8 Comments

Filed under climate change, environment

Fundie RWNJ Admits Climate Change Is Man-Made

Sorta:

“We’ve made God angry by allowing abortion! Abortion causes climate change!” claims Barton.

Barton claims that we opened the door to losing God’s protection over our environment by supporting abortion which, he says, will lead to just killing everybody anyway.

Progress?

7 Comments

Filed under abortion, climate change, religious fundamentalism, religious right

Assholes Are Stupid

You may have heard the story of the Utah Boy Scout leaders who last week performed a tremendous public service act of vandalism when they destroyed a 170 million-year-old rock formation:

Under fire from the Boy Scouts of America and under investigation by law enforcement, two Utah troop leaders who taped themselves gleefully toppling a boulder from a Jurassic-era rock formation in a state park said Friday they should have been more hands-off.

[…]

Taylor and Hall, who were on a trip to Goblin Valley State Park with eight Boy Scouts, recorded the moment they dislodged the rock from the spot it had been perched for 170 million years.

The video, which was posted to YouTube by the Salt Lake Tribune, shows them cheering and high-fiving, crowing that they had saved lives. Taylor struck a pro-wrestling strongman pose and Hall sang the 1990 dance-party hit, “Wiggle It — Just a Little Bit.”

“We have now modified Goblin Valley,” Hall declared on the video.

A rock formation which had withstood all of nature’s fury for 170 million years could not survive the ignorance of some Utah Boy Scout leaders?

Bullshit.

I’m not buying the “we were only trying to help” excuse. Nobody is that stupid, not even in Utah. Especially not in Utah. I’ve spent plenty of time exploring Bryce Canyon, Zion and Arches national parks, all in Utah. These places are filled with fascinating rock formations which may look precarious but have actually been standing for hundreds of millions of years. It’s a signature feature of the state’s natural landscape. There is no way in hell Boy Scout leaders in Utah are not aware of this. They were just being assholes, plain and simple.

Then again, maybe Glenn Taylor truly is that stupid. Because it appears just a few weeks before taping himself destroying an ancient rock formation, he had filed a personal injury lawsuit related to a car accident which happened waaaay back in 2009:

Taylor, the man who is seen actually shoving the rock to the ground, had filed a personal injury lawsuit against a woman and her father for injuries he says he suffered in a 2009 car crash. Taylor filed the lawsuit at the beginning of September saying that after that accident he injured his back and had to “endure great pain and suffering, disability, impairment, loss of joy of life.” Taylor also says in the lawsuit that the accident was “debilitating.”

Alan Macdonald says he was surprised when he saw the lawsuit come across his desk. He says his daughter rear-ended several cars during that accident, Taylor, he says, was one of them. Macdonald says no one went to the hospital after the crash.

He says after watching the video that has taken off across the Internet, he thinks Taylor doesn’t look debilitated at all, “he’s climbing over other rocks,” says Macdonald, after watching the tape, “then he lines up, gets leverage and pushes that big old rock several times before he finally pushes it over,” Macdonald continues, “then he turns and twists and high fives and yucks it up and flexes his muscles he just doesn’t look like a terribly disabled person to me.”

Glenn Taylor, I believe you’ve just learned a cardinal rule: don’t fuck with Mother Nature. She will not be amused.

Hey Glenn Taylor: Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Head About This One, 'mm'kay?

Hey Glenn Taylor: Don’t Worry Your Pretty Little Head About This One, ‘mm’kay?

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