Where is the Hope in Stopping the Planet’s Destruction?


Washington DC, February 17 2013

Washington DC, February 17 2013

It’s a good thing that tens of thousands of people, many young, braved the cold Sunday and marched around the White House demanding that Barack Obama turn against the Keystone Pipeline.  The pipeline is already a disaster for Canada, and for the ultimate recipients of the oil, whether that’s the U.S. or China, because of the price to the global environment.  A concise description of the damage already done, and that could be launched was run by Revolution Newspaper last week in Resisting the Keystone XL Pipeline—and Fighting for Humanity and the Planet:

Canada’s tar sands, the second largest oil reserve in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), already produce 155,000 barrels of oil per day. The tar sands are sticky deposits of bitumen (solid or semi-solid petroleum), trapped beneath 54,000 sq. miles of Canada’s boreal forests and wetlands. Extracting oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gases (which cause global warming) than extraction of conventional oil.

It seems on Sunday, many were marching to encourage Obama, in the belief that he only needs support to keep the “backbone” to resist the relentless profit-drive of the global imperialist system to use up fossil fuel resources as quickly as they can.  But it’s one thing for people to hope, and another thing altogether for leaders to sell hope in the hope-less enterprise of getting the Democrats to do what people wish they would.

Marching in DC February 17: Humanity & the Planet Come First

Marching in DC February 17: Humanity & the Planet Come First

My friend Elizabeth Cook, an activist in New Orleans for peoples’ right to live in the face of hurricanes and manufactured oil disasters, wrote:

What many activists don’t realize, or perhaps it doesn’t matter, is that essentially when 350.org, the Sierra Club and NRDC more or less delivered endorsements for Obama for re-election, they served to undermine the very efforts they are able to encourage out of concerned individuals.

David Swanson asks, in Pseudo-Protests and Serious Climate Crisis:

Why all the pro-Obama rhetoric?  Robert Kennedy, Jr., was among the celebrities getting arrested at the White House in the days leading up, and his comment to the media was typical.  Obama won’t allow the tar sands pipeline, he said, because Obama has “a strong moral core” and doesn’t do really evil things. As a belief, that’s of course delusional.  This is the same president who sorts through a list of men, women, and children to have executed every other Tuesday, and who jokes about it.  This is the guy who’s derailed international climate protection efforts for years.  This is the guy who refused the demand to oppose the tar sands pipeline before last year’s election.

Revolution points out:

In his second inaugural address last month, Obama promised to elevate climate change to the “top tier” of his second-term priorities. Suddenly the focus of the Keystone XL protest shifted to a rally to “help the president start his second term with strong climate action” (350.org website). Say what? One promise made in an inaugural speech, and we’re supposed to rally to “help” this president who has done so much to politically demobilize people while this system grinds on carrying out intolerable crimes—not just in relation to the environment, but with the expanded war by drones, continuing mass incarceration of Black and Latino youth, record number of deportations of immigrants, etc., etc.?

I concur that we should not look “up” to those in office to save the planet.  But where to look?

Elizabeth points to direct action:

The messaging itself is extremely problematic: tar sands are already coming into this country via other pipeline routes, and by rail and soon by barge. The southern portion of the Keystone pipeline is already being built, with Obama’s stamp of approval, although there is a brave and small group of activists that have been engaging in civil disobedience on that southern leg of the pipeline connected with the Tar Sands Blockade Coalition

David says to keep independent of the Democratic Party:

What if there were a third option, namely that of simply demanding the protection of our climate?   We might lose some of those who enjoyed burning Bush in effigy and some of those who enjoy depicting themselves as friends of the Obama family.  But would we really lose that many?  If the celebrities and organizers took such an honest policy-based approach, if the organizations put in the same money and hired the same buses, etc., how much smaller would Sunday’s unimpressive rally have really been?

World Can’t Wait held a conference on Saturday in Chicago where people knitted their heads together over where to look for the answers, how to unite, and even what to learn on the subject.  We are not going to let this destruction go on without a political fight from the people.  See Reportback on Climate Crisis Conference.

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  1. #1 by Atoadoso on February 20, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    The most discouraging thing to me is that there aren’t any first-world groups out there that are serious enough about saving our planet to actually advocate for and attempt to model lifestyles that our earth can sustain. There are no bigger hypocrites than those who say they care about our earth yet own cars and hundreds and hundreds of pounds of stuff. Going to these people for advice on how to save our planet is a bit like going to a Christian for advice on morality, they might say a few things that are right, but just look at what they do. Typical first-world “environmentalists” own and consume far more than the vast majority of humanity (!) and live lifestyles that our planet simply cannot sustain. The hope in stopping the destruction of the planet lies completely on the third-world masses rising up under leadership with proper vision to oust imperialism from their countries, thus pulling the plug on the disgusting amount of stolen wealth that leads first-world so-called “environmentalists” and “revolutionaries” to think that their planet-wrecking lifestyles are actually “green”. Left to the first-world “environmentalists” we’d all be driving cars (electric powered of course, so we don’t actually have to see the exhaust pipe), living in fancy houses, each owning hundreds and hundreds of pounds of stuff, in short we’d all be destroying our earth as much as the typical first-world resident is now. There is no hope within first-world culture to save our planet, even when that culture comes wrapped in so-called “green” and “revolutionary” attire. Our only hope lies with the third-world masses. They’re the only ones besides the handful of first-world oddballs like myself who can be made content and happy with a lifestyle that our planet can truly sustain. The vast majority of first-world residents, even many (most?) so-called “environmentalists” and “revolutionaries” would fight to the death against any movement that was serious about bringing about global equality and lifestyles our earth can sustain.

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