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 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.
As if from the heavens above, The Word, appeared immaculately and impeccably on some of Hermosa Beach’s signature buildings last night. The forces of darkness who support this dirty, climate wrecking, grotesquery of ugliness of a project might want to buy some of those E&B Blackout Curtains offered by the oil company as their mitigation
Your friendly neighborhood Greenius has been waiting for awhile now to see which of the candidates for Henry Waxman’s 33rd District seat was going to step up environmentally. Today that person turned out to be Wendy Greuel.
My good friend, Dency Nelson, tells me Ted Lieu was already that guy and that Ted’s strong record speaks for itself. And it’s true that Ted has come out against fracking and is signing on to Holly Mitchell’s strong anti-fracking bill and reportedly has called “climate change” his number one priority. And yet…
I’m just not feeling Ted Lieu. I never have in the 21 years I’ve lived in Torrance, which is where Ted is from and started on his road to higher and higher office. I’ve never personally witnessed any passion out of Ted or felt that he had the fire in his belly on the environment or was any kind of climate action hero.
Maybe I’m wrong about Ted, like I was several years ago about then Manhattan Beach City Council Candidate, Wayne Powell, who I didn’t think was much of an environmentalist the first time I met him, but who has turned out to be the most reliable and thoughtful issue guy on the Manhattan Beach City Council.
Last night at the Hermosa Beach City Council meeting I heard an ignorant little man reference my favorite Edward Abbey book, “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” which I read the year it came out – in 1975 as a senior in high school.
It’s true. I am that young.
The little man made himself look even smaller with a Rush Limbaugh styled rant. But the whole time he was doing so he ironically missed calling out the big time “eco terrorists” sitting just a few feet away from him.
I’m talking about the people who work for and represent E&B oil. The people whose business model is to wreck the ecology and the climate and profit from it.
These are the people who in the face of science that says we must transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy or destroy the futures of our children and all who come after them, still want to drill for oil that should never be burned.
Even when we reach the limit of our carbon budget, when burning any more oil, coal or gas will push global temperatures beyond 2 degrees celsius, the E&B business model is to harvest more oil so that it can be burned as fuel.
No foreign terrorist could ever do us more harm.
E&B has no limit on the amount of their product they think it’s safe to burn. There is no limit to the amount of pollution they are willing to cause. No maximum amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases their product will be allowed to produce.
Even if you are willing to support that kind of world class level of eco terrorism for the profit of Hermosa Beach, you are still going to be terrorized by E&B’s promises of revenues to come – because they cannot deliver on them.
E&B won’t tell you, nor will their paid shills at the American Petroleum Institute or the other dirty fuel groups they belong to, but the climate science dictates that they will have to keep 60%-80% of their reserves unburned and not used as fuel.
When this happens sometime in the next 10 years, E&B will be worth 60% to 80% less as a company.
That means the pie in the sky projections of tens and hundreds of millions of dollars of income from E&B’s Hermosa Beach oil operations will be worth as much as that coupon for cigarettes you thought you’d use at CVS.
There are no bigger cowards then the people who work for the oil, coal and gas industries.
They know full well what the climate models predict based on a continued burning of their product.
Yet they are too cowardly and morally weak to do the right thing. They are so cowardly that they lie about the impacts of their business practices and they help finance the climate change denier movement.
They are the Vichy of our time and they are proud of themselves for being so.
On the other hand – to buck the billions of dollars from the rouge and reckless fossil fuel industry, to risk the wrath of their law suits, their intimidation tactics and their attempts at character assassination takes real courage. The kind that brave people who run towards the danger have.
In fact, the most patriotic Americans today are those who despite the greatest of odds, in the face of what may already be runaway climate change, are willing to spend their time and energy to fight for our children’s future.
I’m talking about heroes like climate scientist Michael E. Mann, the scientist best known for his “Hockey Stick” and for having his emails hacked in a failed attempt to smear him and try to disprove the science.
For his service, Dr. Mann was attacked and threatened and forced to file a defamation of character lawsuit against the powerful right wing, pro-oil National Review. That’s what real courage looks like.
It doesn’t take any courage to sell your soul and become a sycophant and a shill for the world’s biggest, most powerful and richest industry in exchange for dollars in your own pocket.
There’s nothing patriotic, or noble or decent in that choice. It’s sad and pathetic and shameful.
And we certainly won’t be taking any value lessons from the people whose work is selling out their own children’s better future.
But I’m more than happy to give them one:
If it is wrong to wreck the climate then it is wrong to profit from it.
It all started with the video. It was sent to me last Thursday via email. A YouTube link from someone calling themself Primrose Evergreen.
The email said “We made this video. We want 2 talk 2 U. If U want 2 talk w/us B sitting on the 9/11 bench @ Pier & Valley/Ardmore @ 11:15 PM. Thanksgiving. No phones. No cameras. No recording devices.“
Debra didn’t want me to go and I will admit I was tired from too much food and too much drink. I will admit that may have impaired my better judgment. I told her I was pretty sure it was just a prank and I’d be back within the hour.
So at 11:05 PM I parked my EV at Hermosa Beach City Hall, plugged it into the free charger and strolled over to the button-covered bench on the greenbelt.
At exactly at 11:15 on the nose, a Honda Odyssey minivan pulled to a stop in front of me – the side door opened and a young voice belonging to someone inside said, “Put this on, and get inside.” – a hand reached out of the backseat holding a Trader Joe’s shopping bag.
We have to get the money from somewhere,” say parents.
“And there were no strings attached. Since we’re using the money for drug prevention we don’t think this is hypocritical at all. We still tell our kids that drugs are bad and to stay off them. You tell us – if we don’t take the money from them where else are we going to get it? The Cartel is making billions, at least the money they give us is going towards something good for our kids.”
One of the middle schoolers just shrugged when asked if he thought the drug cartel giving their school the money for the drug diversion program was helping or hurting.
They must be helping since they’re paying for the DARE program and our summer skateboard camp too. I don’t think our parents would bring them into our schools to help if they were the bad drug people or doing things that hurt us.”
A spokesperson from the Drug Cartel said they were proud to help the community, especially kids and their education.
We’ve been doing business in these local South Bay cities for a very long time now and it’s our pleasure to give back. Many of our top cartel executives and managers live and work here. It’s our community too you know.
We have to thank our colleagues at Chevron and Exxon for setting the successful model for this kind of community support in the South Bay. We knew if local parents would embrace the biggest polluter and destroyer of the climate as their respected and honored partners with the schools, they’d have no problem with us and what we do. We’re very pleased to use our profits here this way. After all, we wouldn’t have had another recored year without the help of moms and dads from El Segundo to the Peninsula.”
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.
What, pray tell, has the Greenius been up to? No posts on Creative Greenius, no new columns on Patch. What gives with that? Did he go to DC to get arrested with the rest of the 350 gang? Fraid not, friends. I’ve been busy working to get the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan passed in the seven cities it covers and helping to get the Vitality City Livability Plan passed in Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. And for the past couple of months I’ve been combining that passion with my organizing work for 350 and this year’s Moving Planet event on September 24 and the result is Moving Planet South Bay. We’ve got over 35 different organizations, groups, businesses and local cities partnering with us and putting on incredible demos, workshops and displays on how we’re going to make our communities more bikeable, more walkable and more livable. Check it out and then join us in Manhattan Beach – You’re going to love it!