I’ve lived in my house in Torrance, California for 23 years now. Been in L.A. since I was 19 years old in 1976, back when then Governor Brown was telling us that we were “living in an era of diminished expectations.” He always was so ahead of the curve…
Like I say, I live in Torrance, home of the exploding Exxon Mobil refinery where our Air Quality Management District just gave the refinery operators exemptions to exceed pollution limits while they restart the aging climate wrecker back up.
I was at the meeting where they cut the deal and I had this to say about that:
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
There’s an old joke that most of us baby boomers first heard when we were kids. Here’s the version I remember hearing in New Jersey:
A man goes on vacation and his brother agrees to housesit for him — feeding the cat, picking up the newspapers and mail, watering the plants, etc. After the first week goes by the vacationing brother phones to check in.
“I’m sorry bro,” his brother at the house tells him almost immediately, “but your cat died.”
“What!? What do you mean my cat died?! How could you tell me like this? What kind of insensitive creep are you!? You need to prepare someone for a shock like that!” exclaims the vacationing brother.
“How was I supposed to prepare you?” asks the man.
“Well,” says the brother, “first you should have told me, the cat is on the roof. Then you should have said, but don’t worry, we’re calling the fire department. Then the next time I called in to check you should have said, the fire department was doing everything it could and not to worry.
Then the next time I called you could tell me that the cat had fallen, but not to worry — the vet was doing everything she could to resuscitate him. Then, finally, after all that, you could have told me, my cat had died. That’s how you break news like that.”
“You’re right, bro, I’m sorry. I should have been more sensitive first,” said the housesitting brother, who really did feel bad about it at this point.
His vacationing brother on the phone was quickly forgiving, “That’s okay. I understand. So anyway, how’s everything else? How’s mom doing?”
“Mom?” says the man, “Mom is on the roof….”
Guess what? Right now, here in 2008 the cat is on the roof for global warming.
Wednesday, August 19 at 7pm South Bay 350 Climate Action Group comes to San Pedro for its first ever general membership meeting in the L.A. Harbor. We’ve been working with the San Pedro and Wilmington communities as well as Carson, Torrance and many other cities. Join us and find out about our active campaigns, and how you can get involved and take climate action.
When the one guy in all of Congress who understands the latest science on climate change best, the guy who has the most experience and knowledge of the environment and how to get life-changing legislation passed like the clean air act, the clean water act, the laws that forced our government to acknowledge AIDS, not to mention having kicked the tobacco industry’s ass – when that guy announces he’s sticking a fork in it and he’s done – then you have to ask yourself this question –
What does Henry Waxman know about what’s coming next and what our government intends to do about it that made him throw in the towel and quit?
If he thought he had passed the carbon tax or climate bill torch to someone else he was confident would bring it across the finish line he would have said so.
If he thought we were already in great shape and had the plans in place to prevent or respond to the worst of what’s coming he would have mentioned that too.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence at all that Waxman’s announcement came during the same week as the President’s decidedly weak on climate SOTU or the same week the State Department’s report on the XL pipeline’s impact on climate was released. There are no coincidences when a 20 term Congressmen picks his adios announcement day.
I think Henry called “No mas!” because he knows the politics has terminally trumped the science and that there will be no adequate response on climate from our United States government – either from the Congress or from the White House which gave lip service to Waxman but not the kind of support he needed – the kind Obama is happy to approve if it means killing Osama Bin Laden, but not if it means killing his relationship with the fossil fuel industry.
Waxman knows that the Canadian tar sands are game over for the climate. He knows that fracking California just helps put the unneeded nail in the coffin and that our current national orgy of oil production is the climate’s Sodom and Gomorrah.
Waxman knows that the White House isn’t listening to Michael Mann or James Hanson – let alone Al Gore or Bill McKibben. The same way they wouldn’t listen to Steven Chu after they picked him to be their energy expert.
How many times do they have to piss on your leg while telling you it’s raining before you get it?
I think Henry got it and now he won’t be taking it any more.
If I’m wrong then you’ll see Waxman take the lead in the climate hawk community and come out swinging on climate the day his term ends. If that happens I’ll welcome it and work side by side with him. 350.org would be a good place for him to land. Plenty of heavy lifting left to do, Henry.
But personally I think at age 74 Henry’s had it. He doesn’t see any signs that we’re going to go Fossil Free and 100% Renewable Energy in time to prevent a 2+ degree rise in global temperatures and the destiny that brings with it. And that absence of hope comes from a career in DC and being able to smell the crazy juice being guzzled down by the corporate right and their shameless suckups and sycophants.
Fair enough, Henry. Go in peace. But your friendly neighborhood Greenuis still has plenty of juju and mojo to keep me going for whatever comes next. I’m in it till I see how it all ends.
And I’m ALL in.
Why would your Creative Greenius walk away from his high-paying, highly rewarding executive role at CBS EcoMedia where I was working to fund environmental, education, and wellness projects all across the USA, just as the company hit more growth milestones and was likely to pay generous bonuses?
And so it is that I resigned from my position as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs for CBS EcoMedia effective the first of this month and I will now be devoting my full time to working on climate change response with the South Bay 350 Climate Action Group, the South Bay Bicycle Coalition and 350.org
I had no other choice once I did The Math and saw what things add up to – and how little time we have left before the global temperature goes past the Game Over limit of 2°C.
When I was a child, Wednesday was Incinerator Day, the day they burned the garbage we all threw down the garbage chute in the six story brick apartment building my family lived in (which was one of a dozen six story brick apartment buildings that were all part of the same Brooklyn complex we called home.)
It doesn’t look any different in this recent Google satellite shot than it did in 1965 when the white and grey ash used to fall from the skies and cover our clothes, hair cars, trees, streets and everything else under the chimneys each buildings’ incinerators spewed their emissions out of. Don’t even get me started about the aroma that permeated the air every “Ash Wednesday” as my Catholic mother dubbed hump day.
This was five years before the Clean Air Act of 1970, before any kind of regulations on car and truck emissions or fuel standards or burning your garbage.
One of the fundamental goals of the Clean Air Act was “To protect public health and welfare from any adverse effects.“
The Greenius says goals are nice and cute, but commitments and action are what gets things done and commitment comes at its most potent and powerful form when it is driven by people acting on behalf of their basic human rights – it’s been proven throughout history.
Today, right here, right now the biggest and most immediate threat we face is the destruction of our climate and a future of hell and high water for the Baby Boomers, their kids and grandkids.
And the way the Greenius sees it, it’s a nano-thin intellectual line between choosing to believe black people or brown people are inferior and not equal to you and yours and believing that 100+ years of burning fossil fuels is not the cause of global warming and that climate scientists are lying and part of a cabal perpetrating a vast left wing conspiracy.
As evil and damaging as racism is to individuals and our society overall, the Climate LiarDeniers’s evil far exceeds the scope of race haters because the damage is done to everyone at a global level of catastrophe that no racial supremacist ever dreamed of.
As you know my pals at 350.org have a certain flare for the dramatic. The Global Work Party on 10/10/10, which your South Bay 350 Climate Action Group was proud to be part of, was the largest day of carbon-cutting action in the planet’s history. And there’s no way we’re stopping there. The acceleration of climate change in 2010 won’t let us.
Now, artists and activists have dreamed up an out-of-this-world art project that will keep the climate crisis on the front pages of media outlets around the globe. Talk about pure creative greenius!
And when I say “out-of-this-world” you can take me literally.