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. Read more
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.
And The River Opens For The Righteous
On this Veteran’s Day 2013 I honor my father-in-law, Bob Bushweit for his service starting at the age of 18 in World War II where he fought as a member of Patton’s Third Army across Africa and Europe and actually did preserve our freedom and our democracy as part of the greatest generation.
It is not hard to see these men and women as America’s true heroes – uprooted from their lives and sent to the European or Pacific theaters under harsh, brutal and primitive conditions without any of the technology, medical advances or modern conveniences that are an afterthought for today’s military. They didn’t know if they could win, many times were on the verge of losing and the fear and isolation they experienced never stopped them.
While we honor today the service, sacrifice and loss of all our military members, there was no threat to our homeland, our freedom or our democracy from the North Koreans, the North Vietnamese, the Cambodians, the Iraqis, or the Afghanistan people. Our men and women were put in harm’s way by politicians for different reasons, none of which have ever proven to be worth it. It’s not the men and women in uniform’s fault in any way and it does not diminish their personal service but it is not the same thing as putting your life on the line to protect and defend our American way of life. Read more
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.
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.
The 2010 focus for 350.org is “Get To Work” and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing here in Southern California even before the year began.
Personally I haven’t stopped working since I began organizing for 350.org in June of 2009, and I know myself well enough to understand that I’ve been keeping the throttle open to avoid thinking about the consequences of the global warming we’re already too late to stop.
I asked Bill about the issues of optimism and pessimism and whether he still felt as he did a year ago when he told an interviewer that he no longer thought in terms of optimism and pessimism, he just got up every morning and got to work.
He said that today he draws his energy and inspiration from the young people, mostly in their 20s, who he works with. They’re not discouraged or to bummed to carry on. They know they’re being given damaged goods by the generation handing off to them and they’re ready to deal with it. They understand that the most powerful, most monied interests are lined up against them with a vengeance and they never expected it to be any different. They’re not ready to give up. And so… neither am I.
I asked Bill about the work my friends at GRID Alternative are doing and his thoughts on the adoption of rooftop solar in this final segment of my video interview with him.
Renown environmental author and activist, Bill McKibben, is in Los Angeles today where we met him at the L.A. Times Festival of Books.
Bill is the founder of 350.org and we’ve only previously talked together on the radio, so it was a great joy for me to meet Bill in person and exchange hugs and fist bumps.
Bill’s newest book, Eaarth was the topic of of his wide ranging discussion with L.A. Times staff writer, Susan Salter Reynolds, well known for her book reviews and “Discoveries” column.
I got a chance to talk to Bill about a few of the things we’re working on here in the Los Angeles area and the first subject was our Carbon Neutral City efforts in Hermosa Beach.