Within one week – ONE WEEK!! – of the Paris climate deal, Japan and South Korea both announced plans to open “scores” of new coal-fired power plants, India announced it will double coal output by 2020 and will rely on coal for decades to come, the UK slashed subsidies for solar panel installation to increase fracking development, and the U.S. ended the ban on crude oil exports, which according to some, will increase the oil production by 3.3 million barrels of oil a day and, according to IHS analysts, US oil companies will “drill an average of 26,385 new oil wells in the United States every year between 2016 and 2030 if the crude oil export ban is lifted, or approximately 7,600 more wells on average per year than if the ban remains in place.”
It is crystal clear that if we are going to change, we must do it ourselves. Governments are beholden to corporate interests, and corporations are going to do whatever’s best for their coffers and stock value. Fossil fuels are cheap and as long as they are cheap, we will not make the changes we need to make from the top down.
It’s up to us. We the people. We have to do it at the city and state level. We have to get out in the streets. We have to fight for what we want to save.
Artists KennardPhillipps (a duo who combine their names for projects) created art works for A Song of Oil, Ice, and Fire, a Greenpeace campaign, by modifying prints of famous paintings. This work is a horrific industrial nightmare montaged on one of the most famous contemporary images in the world: David Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway (which also happens to be one of my all time favorite art works (the original, not the modified version)). The artist’s statement for this campaign:
“The poet Shelley wrote that as artists and writers, ‘we must imagine what we know’.”
What we know is that we are ruining the world. We here on Bainbridge are privileged to have still the beauty of nature nearby and, in many neighborhoods, right here in our city. But take a trip to an industrial zone. Or a coal mine. Or a refinery. Or, perhaps the worst of all, the tar sands (go via video and Google Earth). We so easily allow big chunks of our beautiful planet Earth to be ruined in the name of convenience so we can fly when we want, drive when we want, and buy what we want and mostly don’t need. It’s time to reconcile our lifestyles with the destruction they are causing.
We here on Bainbridge are privileged, and yet it is that very privilege—our SUVs, our big houses, our insatiable need for more stuff—that creates the problems we face in this world. The United States uses more energy per capita than almost any other nation in the world (only oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia and UAE use more). And the richest 1% of the population (that’s us, people!) cause 50% of the world’s emissions.
So. It’s up to us. What do you want to save today?