I just took my dog outside to unbearable humidity and large insects flying in packs. I felt as if I just walked out into the Time of the Dinosaurs. This is summer in Texas, and today is not even that bad compared to some, as there were moments of a semi-cool breeze.
Look if you are not interested in climate change as a justice issue, if you don’t care about what it is doing to animal and plant life, about what it is doing to our oceans, or any other previously made argument, trust me, you don’t want to live in a world that is just plain hotter than it already is. It is so muggy and hot out you would feel like stabbing someone for walking too close to you. Trust me, you don’t want to live in the Time of the Dinosaurs.
The above article at Salon is about how the Koch brothers have played a role in preventing Ohio from moving forward with renewable energy for the next two years. They are a true threat to our democracy. How we can let these emotional mutants to play such a big role in running this country is beyond me. To paraphrase Klaus Kinski: I hope fire ants piss in their lying eyes!
It’s a queer world, God knows, but the best we have to be going on with. – Brendan Behan
If you read the headlines enough they become like a tickertape of the absurd. I go to Huffington Post once or twice a day as it is usually a good place to see what the country is talking about. I don’t really read many of their articles, there are way better places to get in depth knowledge, but it’s a good place to get the pulse of what is going on. Just today they had a morning headline about how the Iraq War architects were being brought back into the fold by the media as if they had any credibility left. They should be in shackles for all the poor men and women they sent to their deaths, not on TV voicing their opinions. Then tonight I see the headline is that our country is going to execute three convicts within 24 hours starting tonight. It’s like that scene in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart where the characters of Sailor and Lula ride through the desert flipping through the radio. Every station features news darker and more degrading than the last, until they finally can’t stand it and decide to crank heavy metal music.
However, there are reasons to be hopeful. President Obama finally made the speech that he needed to on climate change. It obviously remains to be scene what he can actually accomplish, but it was a strong speech that no other President has dared to make. It also looks that despite the media giving some voice to the insane warmongers who got us into Iraq, that there is also some genuine pushback to stay out of the Middle East for once. I am no Thomas Friedman fan, but in the Sunday Times he mentioned that the two countries that are doing best in the Middle East, Tunisia and Kurdistan, are also the countries that we have largely stayed out of. Hopefully some of those in power understand this.
I just recently started a part time job canvassing for a political organization. I thought it would be a good way to make a little extra cash and do something positive in my community on days I don’t have shows. Going door to door I have found most people to be polite and kind. Flipping though mainstream TV and paying attention to the headlines is an easy way to find oneself depressed. However, there is good in this world and it is worth remembering that all hope is not lost. You might have to dig for it sometimes, but it is there. Don’t let the bastards get you down…
As predicted, many on the right are freaking the fuck out over Obama’s new climate regulations. He wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants by 30% by the year 2030. Of course the right is only framing things in terms of lopsided, bogus, outdated economic information. The news is doing their usual he said/she said bullshit. I think these new regulations are great news and I want to tell you why by telling you things that will happen if we don’t go forward with these and other regulations. I am not going to use scientific language like parts per million or what have you. I am going to curse…a lot!
- They are going to prevent people from fucking dying. That’s right, if the worst of climate change happens people are going to die as a result. Not only are they going to die, but they will die because we were immoral and refused to do anything to help them. These regulations are a good start in helping people. How are they going to die? Climate change will bring bigger storms, lead to droughts in countries that are already impoverished, and create wars over valuable resources like water. Who says that climate change will create more war? The fucking Pentagon!
- They are going to prevent more people from fucking dying and getting sick. Another thing that rarely gets included in right wing think tank’s estimations is how much we already pay in terms of asthma and other respiratory disease from power plants. Even if you are the kind of selfish bastard that doesn’t care about foreigners, poor people, or animals, you probably give a shit about your kids and their friends.
- Animals are going to fucking die. Climate change is going to increase the extinction rate. Don’t just say goodbye to polar bears, say goodbye to a whole host of animals you grew up with as part of earth as you knew it!
- The oceans are going to become way more fucking acidic. They are already on their way. Coral reefs, fish, and other species are going to disappear. The only thing left will be fucking jellyfish. Think of how much life comes out of the ocean. Think of how much of our food source comes in some way from the ocean. In the words of Bill Paxton in Aliens, “Game over man!”
- Storms are going to become way more powerful. We will get hurricanes that make Hurricane Sandy look like a fucking wet dream. The other day in the news I saw a fire tornado! When was the last time you saw that shit!
Those are just several of the things that these regulations are trying to prevent. This is one step out of many that need to be taken. As Slavoj Zizek says in his brilliant movie The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, “Why is it easier for us to imagine the end of life as we know it than to make a few small changes to our economic system?” We need to wake up and realize that not doing anything makes us immoral mutants of the highest fucking order! When poor people and all of our fellow citizens of the earth, animals, and entire ecosystems are at risk, why are we not doing even more to confront this problem? It’s because those that are greedy and have something to lose control a large amount of the information we are getting. It is high fucking time we ditched being classy and laid it out there what is going to happen. Because what is going to happen if we do nothing is fucking obscene in the truest sense.
The above link is to a Huffpo article that talks about the new regulations to cut carbon emissions at power plants by 30% by the year 2030. One thing that you never hear mentioned by right wing think tanks and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, which thankfully is briefly mentioned in this article, is how much air pollution costs us in terms of health. If we are going to figure out how much such and such costs the economy, we also need to figure out the negative costs that air pollution has on our lives aside from just climate change, which is bad enough. How many more people go to the hospital for respiratory illnesses, how many more people develop asthma, and so on? The World Bank estimated in the 90’s that in China, and China’s air pollution has only gotten worse since then, that in one year alone (1997) there were 178,000 deaths as the result of air pollution and valued health damages at 5% of GDP. When certain groups start going apeshit about the costs of these new regulations ask yourself if they are including these social costs in their calculations.
The information concerning China can be found here:
Although the new Godzilla movie was mostly about monsters tearing shit up, it dealt on the periphery with the idea that nature is larger and more powerful than man, and man is arrogant if he thinks he can control it. I noticed two trailers before the movie that also dealt with nature themes. There was a movie coming out by Christopher Nolan called Interstellar that looked like it dealt with the world running out of food. There was also another movie coming out, and forgive me if I can’t remember the title, that was about a super storm. It seems that our mainstream popcorn science fiction is starting to represent what many of us already know; that with climate change, overpopulation, ocean acidification, and other environmental issues, that our relationship with nature is a major concern for society.
Science fiction is often about now as much as it is about the future. Earlier science fiction movies dealt with the fears of their times. The original Godzilla dealt with our use of atomic bombs. The movie Them!, which featured giant ants, was based on the fears of nuclear testing. The Day the Earth Stood Still was heavily rooted in the fears of the Cold War.
Although The Day the Earth Stood Still is brilliant, many of these movies are just entertainment. However, it is entertainment that reflects the anxieties of its day. It may be at times a funhouse mirror, but it is a mirror nonetheless.
I don’t know whether or not to take it as a good sign that our entertainment is starting to reflect what we are doing to this planet. On one hand it is a sign that there is something clearly wrong, these movies don’t come out of nowhere. On the other hand it may be a sign that the problems we are facing are reaching a level of mass consciousness. Studios aren’t going to invest millions of dollars into movies that don’t register psychologically with the general viewing audience. I even saw that Fox News’s Shep Smith acknowledged that man made climate change is real. (Holy Shit!) Hopefully we can get serious about addressing these problems. We’ll know when we do, because the movies will have moved on to something else.
An interesting thing happened in the last week. Apparently someone posed as Morrissey and started a Twitter account. The thing that makes it interesting is many mainstream blogs and websites bought into the hoax. In this day and age of endless information it seems pretty easy to disseminate false information into the slipstream. Those that are in charge of the “news” don’t seem to verify as much as they once did. I know there have been times where I have believed something I read online for a day or two only to find out it was false later. A day or so after it happened Morrissey posted this on his official fan site true-to-you.net:
I would like to stress that I do not have either a Twitter or a Facebook account. I gather that a Twitter account has been opened in my name – as ‘It’s Morrissey’ – but it is NOT Morrissey. I do not know who has opened this recent Twitter account, but please be aware that it is bogus. That’s, of course, if you should remotely care.
Now if this was only happening in the world of entertainment journalism it would be bad enough, but we are constantly bombarded with bogus “news” and information that is not only bad reporting, but is often created by people that mean to keep us confused. There is a whole group of corporately funded right wing think tanks that try make people skeptical of climate change. They peddle their nonsense through friendly media outlets.
You must be vigilante when you try to figure out what is going on out there. The best thing to do is to try to find multiple sources that at least try to get it right and to check against each other on at least a semi-regular basis. It takes some time, but in a democracy, we as citizens have a duty to stay informed. Our misadventure in Iraq, which cost so many lives, would have never happened if more people had paid attention. As the philosopher George W. Bush once said, “Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”