Culture Change e-Letter #58
Culture Change e-Letter #58
For a global warming revolution:
Putting Iraq, oil prices, and 9-11 in perspective
$ociety is driven, in vain, to overshadow pressure cooker of global
by Jan Lundberg
We are not quite getting the message, certainly not from the mass
media or government officials: The pressure cooker of global warming
is underway with no let up. More greenhouse-gas emissions within the
planet's closed system traps us with a lid over the biosphere, and
new findings indicate it may be too late to turn down the heat.
Meanwhile, despite more evidence of human-caused climate change, the
mantra of the global warmers is "Jobs (and profits) First! (at all
cost)" Ironically, the group "Earth First!" has sometimes been
treated as terroristic. But Earth Jobs First (e.g., ecological
restoration) might satisfy everyone except the mega-profiteers
If we beleaguered mainstream citizens do not replace our form of
economics and way of life as profligate energy consumers, we will
someday witness or be a part of a backlash by the masses of people
reacting to devastating climate change. Just because our "leaders"
and the corporate news media are able to skirt the issue and keep the
present economy burning along does not mean the wrath of the people
will not rear up. Consider Iraq: the U.S. and other invaders have
been in denial. The population of that abused nation would not stand
by while its civilian casualties mount and their oil is coveted and
controlled. Now, the general uprising is like an exploding pressure
We can blame the government and the corporate news media for
distracting us, but there are several critical stories getting our
attention now. Global warming isn't one of them, despite the new
finding that it is spiraling out of control (read on).
Upsetting/interesting news developments, besides Iraq in rebellion,
include higher oil prices and the Bush/9-11 case. These events
minimize people's ability to concentrate on their long-term survival
and that of the biosphere. The effect is to maintain the global
economy and U.S. foreign policy as the major engines of global
warming. The strategy of the major global-warming interests would
logically be to focus people on any number of other major crises, so
that profit making and expansion can continue unimpeded. It seems to
Two major stories in the Washington Post on April 8, 2004 were "Rate
of the Amazon's Deforestation Rises" and "Protection Lacking for Rare
Species." But these alarming developments rated mere blurbs on page
A-8 under a small heading called "Findings." Meanwhile, whole square-
yardage of print space of the Post is constantly devoted to articles
like, for example, what some suburban politician thinks about public
services. A regular section or two in the Post is solely on cars
page after page to really suppress global-warming awareness and
related issues. This is typical of all capitalistic newspapers
today. The free press is thus barely alive, and is certainly not in
the realm of mass media.
To make matters much worse, news developments grabbing headlines all
over the U.S. often reflect values counter to curbing global
warming. The most obvious statistic that disturbs an ecologist is
the joyous 4% jump in U.S. car sales in March.
Less clear as a global warmer is the recent growth in nonfarm-payroll
employment, which increased by 308,000 in March. The fact is, more
people running machines, commuting to work, and being able to buy
their consumer items (which were trucked via petroleum) mean more
global warming gases emitted. (This is not the column for making the
case that the unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is too low. To
consider the right to be poor and to thrive, see Culture Change
As to the "rebounding" economy, in which more overwork is available
(oh, goody!), the statistics don't yet reflect the higher price of
oil that, if sustained, can monkeywrench the entire global economy.
Whatever excites the news media and makes the talking heads happy is
often very bad for the Earth. We are being killed, possibly driven
extinct, by a murderous economic system that knows no limits. The
culture pervades well: you may know someone with five cars. Guess
if the person recycles. However, there are limits: Nature Bats
The Independent (London) reported new CO2 levels from the Mauna Loa,
Hawaii US Observatory (pictured), on March 28, 2004:
"The latest measurements, taken a week ago, showed that carbon
dioxide had reached about 379 parts per million (ppm), up from about
376ppm the year before, from 373ppm in 2002 and about 371ppm in 2001.
These represent three of the four biggest increases on record (the
other was in 1998), creating an unprecedented sequence."
Lest anyone believe that people only appear to be apathetic and
spineless because of the media censorship of "the real stories,"
consider this April 7 story in the New York Times: "White House staff
members deleted or modified information on the toxic effects of
mercury when writing regulations for coal-fired power plants..."
People don't want to believe mercury is as dangerous as it really is,
or that their government/industry "leaders" would betray them as
surely as a knife in the back. But such information is out there to
be had and acted upon.
Global warming is real too, and it appears to need to explode in
people's faces for there to be action. The action then may not be
patient and rational, but vengeful and devastating. U.S. policy has
historically pushed people past the breaking point, and then reacted
with even more violence: Examples include native American genocide
and today's rebellion in Iraq. Regarding global warming, it will
most certainly have its "fifteen minutes of fame" and will then
remain uppermost in people's minds. U.S. policy, from local pro-
business pollution that changes the climate all the way to U.S. bombs
releasing carbon dioxide into the air, is about force and profits.
Legislators and other officials are not dealing with global warming
because they are players in the business elite.
What would be a global warming revolution? What started out as a
jocular greeting may be evolving into a prophesy of sorts:
"Have a global warming day," goes a song by the Depavers, heard on
NPR and CNN International during the Kyoto climate change
conference. Now, after seven years of no action, "Have a global
warming revolution" might reflect what is to come. People want to
live and know that their grandchildren will live. People want nature
to stay, not disappear or become hopelessly distorted. Just because
people are trapped making a living today, and consuming resources in
such a way to fry the planet, does not mean they will take kindly to
learning that the atmosphere is spiraling into a Venus syndrome of
the ultimate greenhouse effect.
It's up to you. Damn the distractions, Have a Global Warming
Revolution! Make it nonviolent, as Gandhi would have.
Join the cause. If you say it's impossible to slash gluttonous
energy consumption, do the impossible. Isn't life worth doing so?
To place hope in politicians present and future is a cop-out.
In the case of global warming, citizen action has to mean a
revolution starting with the individual's own self.
April 8, 2004
Protest the U.S. occupation of Iraq and read background on war for oil
Global Warming Crisis Council and the Pledge for Climate Protection
Culture Change's coal/mercury emissions site
Independent/UK: Global warming spirals upward
Back to Home Page
Jan Lundberg's columns are protected by copyright; however, non-
commercial use of the material is permitted as long as full
attribution is given with a link to this website, and he is informed
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Are you ready for the FALL OF PETROLEUM CIVILIZATION?
Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. WTO
Tax fossil-fuel energy easily by Peter Salonius
UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"
Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor
The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg
It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan
How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar
The Cuban bike revolution by Christian Huot
How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken
for a Ride".
"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"
Depaving the world by Richard Register
Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein
The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.
Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders
climb trees to save them.
Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.
A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in
Palestine and Israel.
Renewable and alternative energy information.
Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)
Culture Change/Sustainable Energy Institute mailing address: P.O. Box
4347, Arcata, California 95518 USA
Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)
Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy
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