This piece was sent to my by my tennis buddy and web master Greg Catalano. This is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read in months, maybe in years. It surprises me with its ferocious clarity.
“The oil companies have successfully transferred blame for their actions to us. It is time to fight back.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 10th October 2019
“Let’s stop calling this the Sixth Great Extinction. Let’s start calling it what it is: the First Great Extermination. A recent essay by the environmental historian Justin McBrien argues that describing the current eradication of living systems (including human societies) as an extinction event makes this catastrophe sound like a passive accident.
While we are all participants in the First Great Extermination, our responsibility is not evenly shared. The impacts of most of the world’s people are minimal. Even middle-class people in the rich world, whose effects are significant, are guided by a system of thought and action shaped in large part by corporations.
The Guardian’s new Polluters series reveals that just 20 fossil fuel companies, some owned by states, some by shareholders, have produced 35% of the carbon dioxide and methane released by human activities since 1965. This was the year in which the president of the American Petroleum Institute told his members that the carbon dioxide they produced could cause “marked changes in climate” by the year 2000. They knew what they were doing.
Even as their own scientists warned that the continued extraction of fossil fuels could cause “catastrophic” consequences, the oil companies poured billions of dollars into thwarting government action. They funded think tanks and paid retired scientists and fake grassroots organisations to pour doubt and scorn on climate science. They sponsored politicians, particularly in the US Congress, to block international attempts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. They invested heavily in greenwashing their public image.”
Source: Oil Strike – George Monbiot
DL: This article is strikingly on point. It is brilliant about the massive problem of a consumerist ideology that most of us participate in without controlling or understanding.
My only disagreement is with the last paragraph, not printed above, that our political institutions are a complete failure, and will continue to be so. I say, wait and and see what we can do here in the US to get a presidentwho will take climate change and the 6th extinction seriously, and see what we can do in the world, with strong US leadership. Meanwhile, Monbiot is right that well organized, massive, peaceful demonstrations will help galvanze our electorate, and then our elected officials. Thank you Greg for this amazing op-ed in the Guardian by George Monbiot.