“When the last tree has been cut, when the last river has been poisoned, when the last fish has been caught then we will find out that we can’t eat money.” Anonymous proverb
We look to politicians, policy-makers and leaders of industry for guidance and reassurance that the world we live in is being taken care of, for us to live in now and for future generations to enjoy. We shouldn’t bother. When it comes to the environment it’s hard to know where to turn to and who to trust. Donald Trump once tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” According to a Greenpeace report, the Koch brothers have invested about $79 million in anti-climate change research and like-minded groups. Last week saw the sale of National Geographic to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox whose news channel, Fox News, was found in 2013 to be only 72% accurate when reporting on science-related segments.
Here,in the UK, the Conservatives have cut support for onshore wind farms and solar installations and changed their minds about fracking on sites of scientific interest (SSSIs).to make any place fair game. New legislation ensures that the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) must change its selection process for members, potentially giving more influence to energy and fuel industry representatives and reducing the level of expertise available to the board. Meanwhile, going as far back as 2011, Florida officials within the Department of Environmental Protection were told not to use the terms ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability’.
This is why it’s hard to know who to trust, if indeed there is anyone to trust at all.
The messages and propaganda are both confusing and misleading. Barack Obama’s Clean Power plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 32% of 2005 levels by 2030 isn’t nearly enough in terms of making a difference to environmental damage. Even despite claims of climate radicalisation by Republicans, the target is quite easily achievable considering the shift to low-carbon natural gas but the amount won’t really force the carbon-emitting industries to make significant changes. At the same time, the green light was given to Shell to commence drilling in the Arctic. Is he or isn’t he for doing something about climate change or is it all just a charade to appease the people while continuing to allow industry destroy the environment at a startling rate? This is why it’s hard to know who to trust, if indeed there is anyone to trust at all. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) managed to poison the Animus River in Colorado with 3 million gallons of mine waste and despite declaring the catastrophe over with water returning to pre-event conditions, these conditions were hardly pristine in the first place having been contaminated with acid mine drainage since 2002 from the nearby Gold King mine.
What we are faced with are constant messages and plans that often suggest one thing but really do something else. It’s not that Obama’s Clean Power plan isn’t intended to help the environment or that the EPA deliberately spills mine waste, it’s what we’re not told, it’s what is hidden from us. David Cameron promised to make his government the greenest ever in 2010. He even joined Obama in pushing for climate change to be on the last G20 agenda. So why is up to 70% of the Green Investment Bank to be sold off? Why alter the car taxation system so that regardless of the emissions of a car, everyone pays the same annual fee as of 2017? It is worth noting that governments tend to buckle under the onslaught of corporate lobbyists and business pressure – after all, politicians need these companies to provide them with directorships when they quit politics.
We risk an entire generation being governed by people who have no concerns about our world, who simply see the environment as profit and assets on a balance sheet. Law enforcement becomes an extension of the policies of governments, armed with ex-military hardware and no compunction about shooting and killing fellow citizens. All the while, we are expected to extend a sense of respect and gratitude towards the governments riddled with rich individuals who, after they quit government, only care about and want a cushy, well-paid job in the very companies whose pockets are being lined with our taxes.
Environmental groups and policies continue to be attacked by corporate lobbyists and organisations funded by the oil and fuel industry
It’s not getting any better. The Met Office has stated that the next 2 years will globally, probably be the hottest yet with the Earth’s average surface temperature nearing record levels and the current El Nino forming is set to be the strongest since records began in 1950. Environmental groups and policies continue to be attacked by corporate lobbyists and organisations funded by the oil and fuel industry. Even the Pope’s encyclical calling for responsibility over human approach to global warming was fiercely criticised by Republican politicians.
What we need is a united front, a sense of unity and a sense of direction. All too often leftist and environmental movements sprout up only to wither with disorganisation, internal bickering and suppression by government policies and law enforcement. These might sound like pretty big things to go up against but that is the obstacle we face if we want a better world. Simply standing by or graciously accepting defeat is not going to change the world for the better, it will only make it worse. We need cohesion, not a multitude of individual causes and scattered movements. The enemy is and always will be the same. The opposition is what is constantly changing because there is no plan, no agenda. Terence McKenna once said: “You must have a plan. If you don’t have a plan then you will become part of somebody else’s plan.” The enemy is winning because they have a plan, one which we are unwittingly part of, to suppress us and steal all that belongs to the people. Until those of us on the receiving end, and those of us who care have a plan for everyone to fight back, nothing is going to change.