Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Climate in 2015:  Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart - by Rebecca Solnit

Chevron Corp. supported several candidates in Richmond, Calif., where the company has been hoping to modernize a large oil refinery, seen here in 2010. None of the Chevron-backed candidates were elected. (Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP) Click to Enlarge.
Americans are skilled at that combination of complacency and despair that assumes things cannot change and that we, the people, do not have the power to change them. Yet you have to be abysmally ignorant of history, as well as of current events, not to see that our country and our world have always been changing, are in the midst of great and terrible changes, and are occasionally changed through the power of the popular will and idealistic movements. As it happens, the planet’s changing climate now demands that we summon up the energy to leave behind the Age of Fossil Fuel (and maybe with it some portion of the Age of Capitalism as well).

How to topple a giant

To use Ursula K. Le Guin’s language, physics is inevitable:  If you put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the planet warms, and as the planet warms, various kinds of chaos and ruin are let loose.  Politics, on the other hand, is not inevitable.  For example, not so many years ago it would have seemed inevitable that Chevron, currently the third biggest corporation in the country, would run the refinery town of Richmond, Calif., as its own private fiefdom.  You could say that the divine right of Chevron seemed like a given. Except that people in Richmond refused to accept it and so this town of 107,000 mostly poor nonwhites pushed back.
As McLaughlin put it of her era as mayor of Richmond, Calif.:
We’ve accomplished so much, including breathing better air, reducing the pollution, and building a cleaner environment and cleaner jobs, and reducing our crime rate.  Our homicide number is the lowest in 33 years and we became a leading city in the Bay Area for solar installed per capita.  We’re a sanctuary city.  And we’re defending our homeowners to prevent foreclosures and evictions.  And we also got Chevron to pay $114 million extra dollars in taxes.
Read more at The Climate in 2015: Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart - by Rebecca Solnit

No comments:

Post a Comment