Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
If you’re of the right age, you’ll remember this commercial, by Chiffon Margarine. “It not nice to fool Mother Nature” ads ran from 1971 to 1979. I’m certainly not the first person who has thought about these popular-at-the-time ads as related (at least in some convoluted fashion) to the global warming and climate change. Of course, no one is actually fooling Mother Nature. Maybe some are being fooled, or fooling themselves, about the perhaps no longer reversible damage humankind has and continues doing to the earth. But Mother Nature is just revealing the fruits of what we’ve sewn.
I’ve never doubted the reality of global warming or climate change, but last summer in Texas – with a record setting drought and number of days with triple digit temperatures resulting in record breaking wild fires, including the Bastrop fire which resulted in the loss of over 1000 homes – all of that gave me another “feel” for what’s happening. It was a part of a pattern identifiable globally. This summer the record breaking temperatures are even more widespread.
One very important voice among those speaking out about the facts of global warming is Bill McKibben. His essay in the August Rolling Stone, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, has been widely cited. McKibben begins:
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you … , here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the ‘largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.’ The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history. …
We’re in the same position we’ve been in for a quarter-century: scientific warning followed by political inaction.
And the inaction by Electeds and unconcern of many people in general means, among many other things, decreasing harvests. Last year, heat and drought resulted in a sharp decrease in Texas’ cattle ranching, and contributed to an increase in the price of beef. This year, the Midwest and Plains corn harvest is seriously threatened, and with the multiple ways corn is used, we’ll see the price increases accordingly.
The information in McKibben’s piece is very important, though of course, most people won’t even see it. That’s not a poke at anyone, just a fact. It isn’t just the global warming deniers, it’s the millions who are unaware, that are of concern. As always, though, there are people, like McKibben, who keep on doing the usually unnoticed work, but also the public actions, that every movement requires. Along with a tremendous amount of patience and tenacity.
An example of such, via Nation of Change, is an Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales interview with Subhankar Banerjee, editor of “Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point.”
BANERJEE: … the most dangerous form of drilling anywhere on earth is moving forward, which is Shell’s impending drilling. It’s in the … American Arctic … . The Obama administration has not done an environmental impact statement. And this drilling is moving forward despite tremendous protest from the Iñupiat activists … and the environmental groups who have been fighting this.
Some additional information, from Stephen Lacey, via Nation of Change:
The Arctic is undergoing rapid changes accelerated by a warming planet, opening up new potential shipping routes, tourism opportunities, and fossil fuel reserves.
As Arctic ice melts, it’s allowing more things to happen which will further accelerate the warming / melting. Probably more widely known, at least in terms of name recognition, is the Keystone or Tar Sands pipeline, running from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. During Obama’s recent fundraising trip to Texas, activists in Austin made their Keystone concerns known. From Friends of the Earth:
Yesterday (July 18), activists with Tar Sands Blockade met President Obama’s motorcade in Austin, Texas wielding banners and signs with one simple message: stop the Keystone XL pipeline, no more tar sands through Texas. Tar Sands Blockade is a local and national mobilization planning nonviolent direct action in Texas against Keystone XL’s southern, export leg should construction begin this summer.
I doubt Mr. Obama saw them, but then, if activists only got active when they could expect something “big” and immediate, no movements would ever develop.
And so beginning tomorrow, the Texas Keystone Convergence gathering is taking place.
On July 27th – 29th , we’re hosting a three-day training in the East Texas area for environmental activists hoping to engage in nonviolent direct action against the Gulf Coast portion of Keystone XL pipeline.
This is one of several trainings and actions by different groups, often coordinating efforts. The Tar Sands Blockade is another key player, and released the video below, Texas Landowner Halts TransCanada Surveyors in Their Tracks.
It’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature, and she’s not going to fool around with the results.
HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: In response to questions I’ve received – My Queer Talk pieces will continue to post at noon each Friday through the summer, then return to Saturday’s in the fall. While my daily posts are up at 4 PM, the truth is, posting can occur most any time on most any day. All of that to say: don’t forget to scroll down, to be sure you see all posts, Taylor’s as well as mine. Finally, when it works for you, clicking on “like” is always a helpful thing
(Keystone Austin Protest via Tar Sand Blockade)