According to the Homeland Security Department the biggest lesson of the 9-11 terrorist attacks was
That became America’s mantra because we missed so many clues, hints and pieces of evidence that should have driven us to the kind of preemptive action that stops disaster – or at least prepares people for it.
Because people did NOT speak out when they saw suspicious, dangerous and threatening behavior, we did not connect the dots or see what was coming ahead of time – except for that infamous memo, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US.”
Today, here in the South Bay of Los Angeles where I live, we have all the dots you’d ever need to connect the crisis level of global warming to the urgent action needed locally. But instead of First Responders we have No Responders.
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:
I was in Carson California last month at their City Council meeting to speak on behalf of the resolution I asked them to pass to approve participating in a feasibility study on community choice aggregation (CCA).
Carson was the sixth city to have our resolution on their agenda, the five others having already passed it. Like in each of the other cities, someone in Carson, this time the City Manager, had the same question for me,
“I understand all the CCA program stuff you’re telling us about Joe, but what I don’t get is what’s in it for YOU?”
That’s what someone always asks when I pitch them our South Bay Clean Power initiative, especially when they find out I’m doing this work full time. They want to know who is paying me.
When you work pro bono, turn down all job and consulting offers on the issue, and say “no,” to $18,000 a month gigs offered you by people in this growing field, people get real suspicious and uneasy.
I gave the Carson City Manager what has now become my standard reply.
Here they are, folks, the very Hot List of Global Warming’s Worst Merchants of Death. The for-profit companies who put the money they rake in from burning fossil fuels ahead of the safety, welfare and well being of your kids, of your parents, of your grandparents and of everyone you hold near and dear.
They know exactly what lethal damage their products and their manufacture are responsible for, but the money always comes first for these contract killers – unless of course you’re asking them to pay the bill for that damage.
So let’s take a look, straight from our friends at the California Air Resources Board*, at the Top Emitters of Greenhouse Gases in California, for 2008. I’ve specially highlighted the three out of ten that are within just 10 miles of my home.
1. Chevron Refinery, Richmond: 4,792,052 metric tons
2. Shell Oil Refinery, Martinez: 4,570,475 metric tons
3. BP Refinery, Carson: 4,504,286 metric tons (9 miles from my house)
4. Chevron Refinery, El Segundo: 3,603,446 metric tons (8.4 miles from my house)
All Global Warming Is Local
The South Bay region I live and work in covers an area of 161 square miles and encompasses 15 cities plus portions of the City of Los Angeles and unincorporated portions of the County of Los Angeles.
The South Bay is defined by the LAX Airport to the north and the Port of Los Angeles to the south – two of the biggest polluters in Southern California.
Cities that make up the South Bay include: Carson, El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Manhattan beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, and Torrance. The South Bay also includes the 15th District of the City of Los Angeles (the LA Strip) and portions of unincorporated Los Angeles County.
The Exxon/Mobil refinery in Torrance and the Chevron refinery in El Segundo are both located in the South Bay and are each a big part of the carbon-based economy that causes the majority of climate change – although you’ll never get either of these corporations to admit this truth or take responsibility for it. They’re kind of funny that way.