The United States Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has announced that the votes aren’t there to act on climate change legislation this year. Why? Because no Republican senators would vote on the right side of history. So another year goes by, this one likely to be the hottest year in the history of record-keeping, and nothing will be done by the United States. An unnamed Obama administration official blamed environmentalists: “They didn’t deliver a single Republican. They spent like $100 million and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.”
The absurdity of the statement above, is, I think, obvious for all to see. Somehow, the people who are working hardest to get something done are to blame for the morons, bought-and-paid-for Senators, know-nothings, and hacks that refuse to take action. All this while the Obama Administration has hardly been providing the leadership needed to bring the need for action on climate change to the forefront of our national consciousness. But the blame game benefits nobody unless blame is placed squarely where it belongs – on the American people.
We are consuming machines unable to make any major changes in our voracious appetites. We might buy “green products” but we never stop buying. We might drive slightly more fuel efficient cars but we are still driving more cars per capita, by far, than any other people on earth. We don’t hold our leaders accountable and let them vote with corporations over common sense solutions. We are pigs. We are junkies addicted to oil. We are destroying our planet and don’t seem likely to stop. There was a time when the United States could (arguably) claim some moral leadership in the world but that time seems to be done and all we can claim now is resources extracted from other countries.
Even with the hottest first six months of the year and with an enormous geyser of oil wrecking the Gulf of Mexico the best anyone seems able to do is promote a failed boycott of BP. Wow, way to stick it to the petrochemical industry, America! Now no one will dare have an oil spill again! Except, of course, there will be another spill, and another, and another. But even without any more oil spills ever again we will still wreck our planet with oil by burning it and causing climate change. Does it matter if you buy your gasoline from BP, ExxonMobil, or Shell? Of course not…
What to do? Well, I am unusually pessimistic today but am always buoyed when I visit 350.org. They have a simple goal of getting CO2 in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million but they recognize it won’t be simple to get there:
A friend recently asked me: “What’s the single best way to solve the climate crisis?”
The question made me stop and think. I’ve been getting so many amazing updates about the climate solutions people are working on for the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one.
The truth is, there is no silver bullet to stopping the climate crisis, no single technological solution that can fix everything at once. We don’t just need solar power, or wind power, or efficiency. We need all of these things and more. What we need, in a word, is diversity.
I feel the same way about building the climate movement. We can’t rely on just one campaign, one event, one organization, one country, or one strategy-to build a powerful climate movement we need a bit of everything.
Exactly. We sure as hell can’t count on the United States Senate to work to mitigate climate change so we might as well do it ourselves…