Sunday, December 11, 2016

5.2 - Footnote: USA Today gets it wrong

Footnote: USA Today gets it wrong

As a footnote to that, USA Today had an editorial - and have you ever noticed how creepily condescending USA Today editorials can be? It seems that a lot of then are written by people who spend their time going "tut-tut" and Tch-tch." Anyway, they had one of their creepily condescending editorials urging that the DAPL be built, just in some "less controversial" way - without, of course, have any suggestion as to what such a way might be.

After dismissing the protests as essentially silly - I guarantee you, whatever it is you protest and however it is you do it, some voice of the establishment will call it either silly or violent and often enough both - but after dismissing the protests as essentially silly, the editors declare "pipelines fill a vital need for the economy and for America's energy security, and therefore need to be built."

That reminded me of the scene in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where Arthur Dent is lying in front of a bulldozer to keep it from demolishing his home as part of a project to build a bypass. At one point, some town official declares to him that "This bypass has gotta be built and it's gonna be built." When Arthur Dent replies "Why has it got to be built?" the official says "What do you mean 'why has it gotta be built?' It's a bypass. You gotta build bypasses."

And we, apparently "gotta build pipelines."

No, we don't. Rather, instead, we should see the win at Standing Rock as a win not only for the Lakota but also for the environmental movement, particularly for the emerging slogan "keep it in the ground" - "it" of course being fossil fuels and, I would add, uranium.

Now, no one, at least no one I have come across, is taking that slogan literally - that is, no one is saying we can immediately, instantly, stop all extraction of fossil fuels of any sort. The idea is that we should - we must - make fossil fuels our last option, not our first; that conservation and renewables must be our first choices, that we have to focus on them so that yes, oil, coal, and natural gas (and uranium) can stay in the ground where they belong.

Contrary to USA Today, the best way to fight climate change is not to ignore pipelines and the encouragement of consumption of fossil fuels they by their nature promote because they "gotta be built" and even less is it the way to, quoting the editors, let "markets figure out the best way to adapt."

Rather, the way is to Practice, Protest, Push, and Prevent: practice environmentalism as best as we can individually; protest developments and institutions that threaten environmental impacts, even if they are local; push for alternatives; and so prevent the pursuit of corporate profit from continuing to determine our ecological and climate future and that of our children.

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