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Tom Stoppard's great classic Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead combines Shakespeare's Hamlet with Samuel Becket's Waiting For Godot to reveal the danger of ignorance and passivity in a corrupt and violent world. Becket's Vladimir and Estragon are, as the title suggests, adrift in their own lives, waiting for an answer that never comes, from a near mythical authority that never appears. They are neither inspired nor motivated. Their existence is a tragicomic vapidity.

But Holocaust refugee Stoppard recognized that while some may live in a near existential void, the world around them does not. Some may be paralyzed by confusion and indecision, but the world around them is not. The Denmark of Hamlet is awash with intrigue and conspiracy. But in Stoppard's version, the willing pawns that are Shakespeare's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern become unwitting and oblivious stooges. They are no less doomed for it.

Anyone that pays attention to the science understands that humanity now faces an unprecedented, and possibly existential, threat. As Al Gore likes to say, we are conducting a giant chemistry experiment with our atmosphere, and the consequences are unknown. Frank Egler once made what I consider to be the most salient statement ever about the environment:

Nature is not only more complex than we think. It is more complex than we can think.

Ocean acidification, and methane release from thawing tundra, may, by themselves, threaten our very existence. Rising oceans, storms of unprecedented intensity, desertification, loss of arable land and potable water, migration of deadly diseases, massive extinctions and a host of other disasters certainly await. It has been estimated that there are already tens of millions of climate refugees, and it has been estimated that there are hundreds of millions more to come. Beyond the pure environmental impacts, try to imagine hundreds of millions of people forced to flee their homelands, in search of food, water, and shelter. Desperate people do desperate things. Desperate governments do desperate things. The world is brimming with all manner of deadly weaponry. The world is not brimming with wisdom and rationality.

None of the world's political, economic, and military powers are even close to addressing climate change in anything close to a responsible manner. Those not actively making the problem worse are, nonetheless, doing almost nothing to make it better. The world is in crisis, and its leaders are dithering. This is the basis for much of the outrage at President Obama's announcement about offshore oil drilling. Meeting our energy needs is relatively trivial. Liberating ourselves from foreign sources of oil is even more trivial. Creating some jobs in an obsolete industry is an almost embarrassing rationale. Attempting to score cheap political points with an unappeasable right wing would be laughable if it weren't so sad. All of it misses the point. So does a tweak of fuel efficiency standards, when we should be doing everything humanly possible to break our addiction to that fuel.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration missed one of the most important moments in the history of our nation, and possibly our world. Sane, responsible leaders would have seized that moment to lead an honest discussion about the paradigm shift that is needed in our economy and our very way of life. Sane, responsible leaders would have talked about the necessity of great collective sacrifice, as we forcibly evolved ourselves into what would eventually become a healthier, more prosperous, and sustainable future. Instead, of course, we had the worst possible government at the worst possible time.

President Obama has rare and unique political skills. The man can flat out lead. He can teach. He can convince. He can use both intellect and charisma to move people's minds, hearts, and souls. We desperately need him to be using those skills to do the job the Bush Administration abdicated. He is immensely popular, in much of the world, and he can, if he chooses, lead the world. We desperately need his leadership on climate change. The world desperately needs his leadership. We need him to explain that we must move beyond fossil fuels as expeditiously as is possible. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Manhattan Project urgency. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Marshall Plan intensity.

Promoting the idea of drilling for more oil is exactly the wrong message. It cannot be justified as a political maneuver, because the politics demands the blunt truth. It cannot be justified on economic grounds, because the economy as we know it cannot survive the consequences of climate change. It is not clear that we, as a species, can survive the consequences of climate change. Every resource at our disposal must be used to address this impending crisis, and that begins with our most basic human resources. Our minds. Our wisdom. Our strength. Our determination. We don't have time to waste.

Toward the end of Stoppard's great play, having been swept up in the political machinations about which he had been blithely oblivious, Guildenstern has a moment of great clarity. It is just before he is to be taken to his execution:

There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said "no." Somehow, we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.

This is a moment in our collective history when we must say "yes" to courage and sacrifice and paradigmatic change. Somehow, we are missing it. There will be no next time.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 07:58 AM PDT.

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  •  something is rotten (367+ / 0-)
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    in the state of consciousness.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 07:58:47 AM PDT

    •  I agree with you on many levels. (46+ / 0-)

      But we still have a fundamental problem: I don't think it can be done this way. People aren't smart enough to look at their lives, see no immediate threat and no specific catastrophe they can link to the problem, and change their way of life. Particularly not with a huge, well-funded machine dedicated to denying the facts.

      Human nature is what it is, and even the best leader can only lead where people will follow. I want to see more action, but I don't think we can toss aside political reality. We have to make action as tolerable as possible, or people will resist it.

          •  Not still waiting for him, are you? nt (7+ / 0-)

            www.yesweSTILLcan.org

            by divineorder on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:56:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we need to push back vigorously (19+ / 0-)

            instead of sitting around passively until someone tells us what to do.

            Let's say the president is testing the waters with the drilling plan. Or that it's part of a larger political strategy on energy policy.  

            Either way, it's not over. The debate is just beginning. He needs to hear from us very clearly that it's not the energy policy we believe is prudent for the twenty-first century.

            •  Before we go jumping all over him perhaps (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              soms, pdx kirk

              we might, just MIGHT inform ourselves regarding HIS policy regarding drilling. Right now it is only exploration and they have yet to find a drop. If they do there is nothing saying it is worth going after. Then there are all the environmental studies blah blah blah, they are YEARS away from drilling if and it is a big IF they ever do.

              •  Wouldn't a better idea be to try and make (6+ / 0-)

                sustainable energy sources cheaper and easier to access rather than waste money and resources on something that can lead to further pollution of our oceans and which may not be there.

                There is need for both government and private investment in production of solar and wind power to get to the point where they can be used by those of all classes (the technology exists, production and further research and development are more fertile uses of money and investment), considering expansion of water power energy generation, et al just to name the obvious.

                This policy is neither cost effective nor a way of producing sustainable energy and to add insult to injury it is liable to create further pollution in our oceans and affect coastlines.

                No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                by NY brit expat on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:05:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, and eventually it will be (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Louisiana Fiddle Gal, pdx kirk

                  He isn't abandoning those things, good grief!  Go find out what his plan is, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

                  •  and then they will say, eventually, that too (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    alizard, Turkana, cai

                    much money has been poured into oil exploration by both gov't and private companies and unfortunately there is no money to spare (due to deficit or budgetary problems or interfering in the market or some such nonsense); we need better storage devices, we need to find ways of making this technology affordable so that sustainable energy becomes the primary form of energy usage not just able to be used by wealthy people concerned with the environment. I am sorry, but eventually has a habit of becoming never in political reality land ...

                    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                    by NY brit expat on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 01:04:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  the dericks could be used for (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Turkana

                  transmission lines of energy harvested at sea wind.

                  •  There's an additional oft-overlooked resource. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Turkana, Friend of the court

                    A lot of oil comes up hot.  In many places, the oil companies have to deliberately lose heat from the oil.  But they don't use it to generate power.  I've heard this referred to as "digging for gold and throwing away the silver".  Oil drilling tech is directly applicable to geothermal.

                •  I asked this in a previous thread, and will again (0+ / 0-)

                  here, since I didn't get any answers:

                  Where do you want your ecological disasters?

                  This is a serious question.  We're using, what, ~32 billion barrels of oil a year?  No credible estimate thinks global oil consumption will drop in the next decade (some of the more optimistic assumptions think first world consumption will drop, but be more than replaced by third world consumption).  The more optimistic forecasts for oil demand peaking are two decades or so.  

                  We're all in agreement here that we need to move off of oil.  But as much as we'd like to snap our fingers and make it happen overnight, it's not going to happen.  There are nearly a billion oil guzzling cars out there, each with an average lifespan of about 20 years.  And even when EVs come out, it's going to take a long time to ramp up production to where they're even a sizable fraction of new sales, let alone the overwhelming majority.  We can barely tolerate as much biofuel production as we're currently doing; even biofuel optimists like Chu don't think it can significantly replace oil any time soon (these plants and pipelines take a long time to build, and a huge amount of capital), or without massive environmental consequences in terms of water and habitat destruction (we're talking replacing 1,300,000,000,000 gallons a year of gasoline, and rising).  So you really have two options:

                  1. Produce the oil from somewhere while transitioning
                  1. Collapse the global economy, and never succeed in transitioning.

                  So which one is it?

                  And if you're in agreement that #1 is the better option, from where do you want your oil?  No outer continental shelf?  Fine.  What abour Brazilian deepwater?  Middle eastern oil?  Canadian tar sands?  Venezuelan rain forests?  Would you rather it come from a place with US environmental and labor laws or third world environmental and labor laws?  Really, where do you want it to come from?

                  This is a serious question.  I ask it (and hope for answers) not to be adversarial, but to bring up the fact that we're not looking at an either-or position because such massive transitions as our entire transportation system take a long time.

              •  You misunderstand me. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cai

                I don't advise "jumping all over" anyone.

                Policy-making at its best is a dialogue. There are solid reasons for resisting new drilling, and it's incumbent upon those who oppose it to make a vigorous argument.

        •  I really don't know if that's enough. (22+ / 0-)

          We don't have our Pearl Harbor. If Al Gore (or maybe even John Kerry) had been president when Katrina had happened, maybe we could have used that (though Kerry, god love him, would probably have fucked it up). But I don't think it's enough to simply tell people to be scared enough and angry enough to give up their comfort to save themselves. I think they need more motivation. And no matter how well Obama leads them, there's always the GOP presenting the more attractive option--don't worry right now, it's probably nothing, wouldn't you rather have a job and an SUV and a latte, so go back to sleep.

          You're probably right that it's the only way it can be done, but my reaction is, honestly, that there is no way. I think we're into trying-to-mitigate-the-damage territory.

          •  then let's just agree (39+ / 0-)

            that if there is a way, this is the only way. bush missed our pearl harbor moment and our katrina moment. i dread to think what the next such catastrophe will be.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:16:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't worry, be happy. (40+ / 0-)

              Enjoy life as much as you can now. That's what James Lovelock said. He thinks our political institutions are incapable of responding in time to this kind of threat.

              I don't agree with him completely because great leaders have sometimes been able to lead the people out of disasters before they happen.

              However, I don't see that kind of leadership in America. We are focused on minor political details and tactics.

              So, have fun while you can.

              look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

              by FishOutofWater on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:21:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  agree (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AbsurdEyes, cai, zenox, allergywoman, laker

                Even though I lean towards the doom viewpoint politically, when it comes to daily life I'm much happier on a day-too-day basis than most of the people I know who are steeped in the belief that the status quo will continue indefinitely.  I don't take "enjoy yourself" as an invitation to give up, or to turn into Caligula, but rather to have a much fuller mental appreciation of what an extraordinary and fortunate life I've lived as a middle-class American, especially given how difficult tomorrow will be.

                A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

                by eightlivesleft on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:06:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  "F*ck it, and let the good times (9+ / 0-)

                roll."  I say do both.

                Heh.I am 60, retired early from teaching HS in Austin. My wife and mother both say I "...spend too much time on the computer worrying about saving the world and not living my life. "

                Well, we did spend three months in our tent in southern African countries last summer, 5 weeks in Costa Rica recently. Yes, we rode in airplanes, but once there, we mainly road buses with the locals. Did not blog or write my Congressmpersons during those periods.

                We split time between Llano and Santa Fe, work on our places there ourselves.  We make an effort to ride our bikes for exercise and errands. We plant trees with WildEarth Guardians in New Mexico.

                At our place in the Hill Country outside Austin we took money from savings and installed solar grid tie with battery back up, and thereby also helped brother laid off from 20 plus years with Dell get going in his solar installation business

                Staying informed and lobbying Congresscritters requires huge amounts of time. Is it worth it?

                www.yesweSTILLcan.org

                by divineorder on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:06:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not sure we have any leadership at all (13+ / 0-)

                Our species continues to foul its own nest even though it has become increasingly obvious that the nest can't stand much more fouling.  Only 1 figure of national stature has taken this issue seriously and tried to sound the alarm on it.  That figure has been widely derided by the opposition party and largely ignored w/i his own party.

                It's not that Obama's drilling proposal is practically ineffectual and politically naive.  It's that it reflects a smallness of vision and a fundamental lack of comprehension.  We're slowly strangling our planet, and, contrary to a slew of campaign pledges, he wants to contribute to the strangling process?

                God how I wish that Gore had run in 2008.

                Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                by RFK Lives on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:14:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How I wish that everyone concerned about this (11+ / 0-)

                  in 2000 had voted and worked for Gore! And how I wish that Gore and the Democratic party had FOUGHT for that election--which he WON--with full intensity! And how I wish the news media had been HONEST about that election, not blaming a small decision about a partial recount vs full recount in Florida as if it were a ball game and it was enough to tut tut about a coach's poor decision.

                  WE would not be in the same place today. Climate change deniers would not have had the Bush administration megaphone amplifying their nonsense, for just one example!

                  Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

                  by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:49:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Al Gore (0+ / 0-)

                    Al Gore found religion on global warming long after the 2000 election.  Jimmy Carter, our first green energy president, garnered a Nobel Peace Prize in that year and Al Gore nor any other Democrats said a peep about it; Coupled with NAFTA and GTO I was so pissed that I voted for Ralph Nader.  I sometimes regret that vote for its catastrophic  results but never on its principle;  Mr. Nader convinced me neither candidate was looking out for our interests with this statement:  " If Al Gore can't beat George Bush with one hand tied behind his back he doesn't deserve your vote anyway."  
                      I still believe that President Obama is a good man and he is doing a very good job of forcing us to finally confront this and other serious public policy issues.  Look at it objectively, after only fourteen months the health care reform  was and  continues to be the most robust public debate we've had since 911,  a national energy policy is next.

                    •  This is abject nonsense. You can try to justify (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cappy

                      your Nader vote as much as you wish, but not at the expense of truth and history.

                      True: Jimmy Carter was right, and prescient. If the Country had listen to Carter we would be in the forefront of green, renewable energy. One of the most ignominious acts of Ronald Regan was removing the solar panels from the WH.

                      However,

                      Al Gore found religion on global warming long after the 2000 election.

                      sounds like you got those Nader anti-Gore talking points down. But you are, and he was

                      WRONG: Here are just a couple of milestones that refute your silly statement about Gore. Perhaps you are too young to remember this?

                      Gore career timeline The Guardian 2007

                      1976

                      Gore quits law school in March 1976 to run for the House of Representatives. He wins a Congress seat and is then re-elected three times, in 1978, 1980, and 1982.

                      Gore holds first congressional hearings on the climate change, and co-sponsors hearings on toxic waste and global warming.

                      1992
                      Bill Clinton chooses Gore to be his running mate for the 1992 United States presidential election.

                      Gore's book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, is published.

                      1993
                      After a successful election campaign, Gore is inaugurated as the 45th vice-president of the United States.

                      As vice-president, he pushes for the implementation of a carbon tax to modify incentives to reduce fossil fuel consumption, which is partially implemented.

                      1994

                      On Earth Day, Gore launches the Globe programme, an education and science activity that uses the internet to increase student awareness of their environment.

                      1997

                      Gore helps broker the Kyoto protocol and pushes for the passage of the treaty, which calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. He is opposed by the Senate, which unanimously passes a resolution stating that the US should not be a signatory to any protocol that does not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialised nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States".

                      The refusal to sign is symbolic, as the protocol is non-binding unless it is ratified by the United States.

                      1998
                      Gore symbolically signs the Kyoto protocol.

                      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

                      by Catskill Julie on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 08:57:07 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  There is a real (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pdx kirk, Eric Nelson

                  possibility that this is part of a larger strategy, you know.  The tendency to mood swings in the blogosphere doesn't seem to abate, no matter how many times we're not quite right about what's happening.

                  I see this move as Obama demonstrating his openness to Republican solutions to energy issues, not a deeply held belief that more oil is the answer.  You've got to know he doesn't believe that for one minute.  My hunch is that there's this offshore drilling thing happening over here, which means people aren't really paying attention to new fuel standards over there, or CO2 limits just around the corner, or funneling more money into solar and wind waaaaay over there.

                  Seriously, this President is not the dork/weakling/corporate sellout too often depicted here.  Are we going to get serious about talking control of the future we want to see, or have the same old fuss-fests we do so well?

                  If there's going to be any change in how we approach climate change it better start here.  It needs to be local, not just some grand national strategy.  I live in a town that is dedicated to taking care of the land, keeping big box stores out so small businesses can thrive, limiting development, encouraging alternate energy sources, etc.  If we're all working on changing our neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, we're building the base for a populace that isn't just ignoring reality and will take action.  This will not happen top down, it has to grow from both ends.

                  I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

                  by I love OCD on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:24:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  GOP energy "solution" is "drill baby drill" (5+ / 0-)

                    This move clearly does show an openness to that "solution."  If there had been a deal where enough Goopers to matter agreed to accept a Dem energy plank in exchange, you might have a point.  Instead, it marked a unilateral retreat w/o any corresponding public move by someone on the other side.  Plus, since 2 current Goopers voted for the Stim, and none of them voted for the HC bill, expecting something different here would be the essence of "hopey changey."

                    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                    by RFK Lives on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:23:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Seriously! (0+ / 0-)

                    Doubling or tripling taxes on car fuel would be a great measure to start. Taxing (heavily) CO2 output would be a great measure to start. Outlawing private cars in inner cities (such as done in Utrecht, Netherlands) might be something. National guaranteed feed in tarriffs for local (generally renewable) producers. There is a host of things that could be done ...

                    ... if one were serious about confronting the climate challenge.

                    Whether or not it involves a reshifting of wealth distribution within society is a secondary issue; as hanging on to the current trajectory ensures that there´ll be nothing to distribute for those coming after us, soon enough.

                    Lovelock may be right. I dont want to think that he is. Gore may be right (I hope so much more). In any case, what Obama´s administration is doing is dithering, fritting away time thats already overly late, what the Republicans are doing is destroying the lives of future generations and being proud of it. Thats how matters stand. The time for incrementalism is long past. Pretending things can still "grow from bottom up" is closing the eyes fast to reality.

                    We have a century before us in which we will have to get through a 12-billion-human world towards a further end of hopefully much fewer humans in a world that then will be utterly devastated and depleted - without losing all civility and sanity. If we can manage to preserve even as tiny flames of civilisation as the monasteries did when Antiquity ended, then we can congratulate ourselves.

                    and I do not think that the measures mentioned in the beginning are extreme. Repealing private land (or water) ownership also comes to mind. Outlawing nonessential air traffic. These things can be done. They will eventually be done, because chemistry and physics tend to not care much about human idologies.

                    Ici s´arrète la loi.

                    by marsanges on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 04:04:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're right about needing (0+ / 0-)

                      radical solutions, but do you really think you could outlaw cars in cities in this country?  We can't even get high-speed rail in this country, and it's a given that it exists all over Europe.  We're hopelessly addicted to private, one-passenger driving machines here.  Demanding a change in this mindset, or strong-arming one through, is not possible.

                      In an ideal world we wouldn't need to work so hard locally to change hearts and minds.  We're not in an ideal world, and ignoring the realities of American attitudes and outlooks is bad governance.

                      We don't have to do anything of course, we can just continue to rail against the stupidity of continuing the same behaviors.  I prefer to do what I can locally and to elect a President with awareness of the seriousness of our situation.

                      Interesting article on the FP today talks about Obama co-opting Republican positions before they can use them as talking points, driving the leadership further into teabagger territory.  It's a good way to neuter them over time, and very subtle.  

                      Given the fact the Obama is strengthening the EPA I'm fairly sure the offshore drilling leases would come with some truly onerous restrictions and guidelines.. Give with one hand open, use the other to take away with subtlety.  Not a bad strategy.

                      I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

                      by I love OCD on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 06:38:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  To which I would add... (0+ / 0-)

                "Do as little as possible to make it worse."

                It may or may not help, but it is the moral thing.

                Besides which, while nation-states may be necessary to enact major change, I see no reason to abandon more local efforts to prepare.  Local food systems are a great example.

            •  we will find out. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Turkana

              if the catastrophe is vast enough to get everyones' attention, there wouldn't be mush.

            •  I guess what I'm saying is... (15+ / 0-)
              ...I think the best way to mitigate the damage is to drag people--kicking and screaming if necessary--as far along the path to responsibility as we can get them. But I think reasonable people can disagree about exactly how far that is, and what we may have to give them to get them there. If off-shore drilling is, as Republicans feared, a smoke-screen designed to give a cover of "reasonableness" to Obama's energy policy as he drags us forward, then I'll happily admit to being wrong about my disapproval of it. It's not something I would've done, but I hope to god it works.
              •  we agree in the hope that it works (19+ / 0-)

                i think it's actually counter-productive, but i certainly hope you're right.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:46:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You can't drag kicking and screaming people (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mochajava13, cai, I love OCD, laker

                very far. And they'll go after YOU as soon as they get the chance.

                Far better to get them to WANT to go where you want them to.

                There are ways to do that - make what you want them to buy, to do, cheaper and easier.

                Do you really think that people wouldn't install solar panels, windmills, all kinds of energy saving devices if it was CHEAPER than going the conventional route? You don't think they'd drive newer, more fuel efficient cars?

                Hell, they'd JUMP at the chance. But if it's going to cost 2, 3, 4 times as much to do that solar roof as a regular one, they're not going to be able to AFFORD it. If that new, fuel efficient car costs 20k and that older, used car costs 6k, and you can barely manage the payment on the 6k car, how on earth are you going to get the newer, 20k one?

                This is where most people are. They would LOVE to do those great things, like put in all those new, efficient things like solar roofs, new HVAC, they'd love to have a new, safe and efficient car - but they can't afford it.

                Make it cheap and easy, and people will do it. Until then, it ain't happening for the vast majority.

                •  I think "cheap and easy" is... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...a  good first step. But if that were all it took, we wouldn't have so many people driving SUVs to this day.

                  •  Many of those people driving SUVs (0+ / 0-)

                    are doing so because there are few options if you need to carry much stuff or more than 4 people.

                    There are those that do need that, and regularly.

                    They also drive them because they want to feel safe when they're out on the road with those huge trucks.

                    Just like there really are people who NEED pickups with big engines.

                    Does EVERYBODY? No, of course not. But if you have a family, you really have two options - and SUV or a minivan. That's pretty much it.

                    •  I don't think that's true. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Picot verde, greengemini, pdx kirk, cai

                      They still make station wagons and hatchbacks and "crossover utility vehicles" (i.e., station wagons that are slightly taller and not as long), any of which are likely to get 5-10 mpg better than an SUV, and are almost certainly cheaper.

                      Are there people who actually need SUVs? Sure. But that sure isn't most people who drive them. And the "feeling safe" argument is pretty thin, given the SUV advantage is pretty minimal and can result in some really nasty incidents.

                      And, look, people can come up with reasons to buy SUVs, and maybe some of them are valid. But people will come up with the same reasons to resist other green initiatives. Solar cells are ugly, I don't feel safe living closer to the city, it's hard to handle kids on mass transit, whatever. Cheap and easy is only the beginning.

                      •  You're right (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mochajava13, laker

                        cheap and easy is only the beginning.

                        But affordability drives the biggest part of what most people do.

                        If you're not specifically looking for a type of car, and you have two options that both list for about the same and hold what you need and offer the features you want, and one has a 3k rebate and the other doesn't, chances are you'll go with the cheaper one.

                        And that's pretty much what the car companies have done with SUVs.

                        It IS hard, basically impossible, to handle 2 young kids, a stroller, and groceries on mass transit. It just doesn't work.

                        Solar cells aren't necessarily ugly, but they are damned expensive. And unless your electric bill is really exorbitant, or you have the absolute perfect climate and citing, it will take many, many, MANY years for you to recoup the cost.

                        Things have to be cheap and easy as well as somehow driven by peer/social pressure for people to make the huge changes everybody thinks we need to make.

                        Fewer people smoke now, because of a variety of factors. It's not JUST the cost or JUST the inconvenience of not being able to smoke in public buildings or JUST the damage it does to your health. It's ALL of those things, AND the social pressure against smoking.

                    •  Maybe, but... (0+ / 0-)

                      my family's minivan in the 80s got better mileage than almost all SUVs now, and it sat 7.

                •  This is why AMD isn't (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  alizard, greengemini, zbbrox

                  building solar panels in the US, by the way.  (I think it's AMD).  They build factories in countries that make it easy to use solar power.  This is where Big Gubmit can help, but it's also important to work locally.

                  I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

                  by I love OCD on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:27:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Most people could afford (0+ / 0-)

                  to take part in an energy-efficient barn-raising.  

            •  So the real question is (4+ / 0-)

              what happens when Armageddon gets here, and Jesus doesn't show?

            •  atlantic hurricane season's looking big this year (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alizard, Johnny Q

              and of course we saw 9 feet of rain fall in three days last summer, although that was abroad and so didn't really happen.

              surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

              by wu ming on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:46:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed. Every day that goes by (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cai

              without immediate and concrete action, is a hidden (or maybe delayed-effect is the better term) Pearl Harbor.

              How, though?  Hundreds, if not thousands, of us reading this diary agree with you.  And yet, hundreds more will waste time and space and energy by castigating you and other diarists for daring to criticize the President.  Still others will say "he's only one man," and "you need to focus your efforts on the Senate," etc.

              How do we influence this great man to do what absolutely must be done, before it is too late?  I suspect even Al Gore is not getting the kind of access to the White House that captains of banking and industry are getting.  That's not to say President Obama is in league with them to screw America and the planet.  It just seems his priorities are out of whack, slightly, and as you point out, he's missing this opportunity to help lead us out of (or mitigate, at least) the crisis.

          •  Wasn't 9-11 our (0+ / 0-)

            Pearl Harbor? That's what BushCo told me, their excuse for new resource wars.

        •  How many tea party people believe Obama is (21+ / 0-)

          literally the anti-Christ? Literally. How many people believe evolution is a hoax?

          Using the "bully pulpit" as a pulpit merely entrenches those beliefs.

          On the other hand, many of the strategies that help with atmospheric carbon also help with other problems.

          Geothermal HVAC for school buildings for example remains a good idea even if global warming is a hoax.

          Lake Michigan offshore wind farms (as touted by Kossack MuskegonCritic) will revitalize western Michigan's economy.

          And others . . .

        •  Problem is the pulpit is temporary (11+ / 0-)
          And can be taken away.

          Change in our system has to be grassroots unless there is an immediate, visible existential threat (like a Pearl Harbor, as another poster mentioned).

          A political leader only veer so far away from the population average mindset before he/she is crushed by will be equally regressive/progressive.

          We are not a nation of thoughtful, big-picture people.

          On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close. -1, -1.59

          by Liberaltarianish on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:32:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  great leaders (12+ / 0-)

            can transform public consciousness. a lot of people are ready for such leadership, and a lot of people may not be ready but are open to it, if it happens.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:50:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's not just a national problem (6+ / 0-)

            Some research has suggested that assessing cost/benefit scenarios very far into the future is difficult for a lot of people. And unfortunately, I believe that technology (particularly the internet) has created even more of a culture of instant gratification.

            The bully pulpit only works when people are willing to listen. I just don't think that we (as a nation or perhaps even as a world) are willing to listen. Right now, these issues are too abstract for most people to feel any sense of urgency.

            In my most pessimist moments, I think we're doomed.

            "As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers." --Thomas Jefferson

            by wide eyed lib on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:50:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And that is why the progressive minority... (9+ / 0-)

            has to get off their keyboards and make themselves visibly vocal... in protest.

            Until that happens, we can hardly say we did all we could to stop the crap we say we abhor.

            If we were to create a visible vocal movement, and still got the crap we abhor, then at least we took a visible, vocal stand. At least we showed we had an alternate point of view and respected our pov and ourselves enough to fight for it, even if the ruling party doesnt... )

            The only ones doing that these days are the Tea Partiers. (And which party is afraid of pissing off a protest movement? The only party that has a protest movement nipping at its heels... and that aint the Democrats)

            In that, the Tea Partiers (not their platform or signage) are way beyond progressives.

            Sitting is not movement. Just trying to elect more Democrats, "better" Democrats, into a corrupt system is not a movement. There is no movement among progressives.

            It's easy but not effective to simply moan about the apathy of the public at large, by the minority 'smart set' ...  while remaining static, ie, only online, no matter how many petitions signed or donations to Act Blue, Marcy, whatever, whoever... waiting for the next big congressional progressive stampede to effect change... because it will never cut it alone as tactic.

            We really ought to take a leaf from France and other EU countries. They dont develop the cult of personality worship for their pols or parties like we see here. They support or dont, based on the issues. And they take to the streets, en masse, when it's the latter, based on their opposition to policy - politicians and party be damned. And they get results.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

            by NYCee on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:11:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  very true, but that takes political courage (5+ / 0-)

          And I haven't seen much evidence that this administration has that, especially when it concerns standing up to the right.

          Pushing hard for a public option to compete with private insurers would have been too risky.

          Standing firm against off-shore drilling would have been too risky.

          Obama is still getting vilified by the right, of course, but I guess he and his advisers think that he must always give them big gifts to ameliorate their hatred or something. We can't really know why this administration tilts rightward so often, but it clearly does.

          It takes political courage to take a stand for what you think is right. If you think the public option is the best way to keep costs down, then you fight for it. If you offshore drilling is a foolish and ineffective response to our energy needs, then you don't say, "oh well, what the heck, OK." Not if you have political courage.

          This administration seems to lack that. Yeah it's taking on big issues, but the results will likely be as compromised as the process is.

          (Great diary, though. I just wish it would put some starch in the Obama administration's collective backbone.)

        •  Sorry but this is pretty fucked up rhetoric... (0+ / 0-)

          I could be wrong but to me you are playing some rhetorical manipulation here...pretty strong language...scary too

          the power of the bully pulpit

          the facts are there,

          we have to create political reality,

          there is no other viable option

          What the hell is this, Turkana?

        •  The power of the Bully Pulpit is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, Eric Nelson

          very often overrated. I don't think Americans are in much of a mood for sacrifice - they feel they have sacrificed enough lately. They are frightened and angry.

          We need to move forward any way we can, while trying to persuade people of the reality of climate change. People have had the corporate propaganda shoved down their throats for too long.

          They can be persuaded, but it will take time. I say this while fully acknowledging the urgency of the crisis.

          God has no religion. - Gandhi

          by OIL GUY on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:43:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Weatherization Barnraising on the White House (6+ / 0-)

          I'd like to see President Obama host a weatherization barnraising on the White House with the full participation of "This Old House," "Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition," and all the other TV carpentry shows.  Let them make dozens of energy education PSAs while fixing up one area of the White House.  Do it as a kick-off to the Cash for Caulkers program.  Invite people like the Home Energy Efficiency Team (http://www.heetma.com) who have been doing monthly weatherization barnraisings in Cambridge, MA since the summer of 2008 and have inspired at least 20 other municipalities to do something similar.

          That's how I'd like to see the bully pulpit used.  Let Obama get his hands dirty as his wife did with the White House organic garden.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

          by gmoke on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:52:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt if you'll find anyone (3+ / 0-)

        who seriously disagrees with that.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:07:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  People transitioned from horses to cars. (24+ / 0-)

        They can transition from oil to solar or wind - if we develop the technology.

        I don't give shit where my electricity comes from as long as my refridgerator is cold.  I'd be perfectly thrilled if it was solar or wind cooled.

        Of course, the energy industry as we know it would NOT.  They want to keep the same old same old going.

        We do not want to win the race to peak oil.  We want to be some of the people who are smart enough not to have to compete in it.

        •  cars (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE, pacotrey, gatorcog, zbbrox
          answered needs of ordinary people at an effective price point.

          Switching forms of electricity generation at about the same price doesn't answer a need in the same way, its a harder sell.

          What makes people want to reach out and grab what we are offering?  Answer that question and you save the world.

          •  This is why I'm often... (0+ / 0-)

            ...tempted by the idea of nuclear as a go-between energy source. People will accept it because it's cheap, and then reject it when they're reminded how dangerous it is. Hopefully by that point we can have renewable solutions up and running...

            •  Nuclear isn't the answer (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zbbrox, pdx kirk, Johnny Q

              For two reasons:

              1. Uranium production has likely already peaked (and uranium mining is very oil intensive).
              1. Where do you put the waste? Ultimately it has to go in somebody's backyard, and that will always be a politically radioactive issue, so to speak.

              "Competent statisticians will be the front line troops in our war for survival..." George Box, 1976

              by aztecraingod on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:06:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  short term (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greengemini, zbbrox, Eric Nelson

                we have enough potential fuel in weapons.  That leaves the storage problem.  If certain hoped for breakthroughs occur, we reuse weapons and the left over is of considerably shorter half life and much less volume, we may be able to deal.  Of course, economics then mean that its not worth building the plants for a 20 or 30 year stop gap.

      •  What you justify is abdication. (11+ / 0-)

        You can make tough decisions "tolerable" enough that no progress is made.  Or that regression is the result, as in the instance of more offshore drilling.

        In the face of opposition, if you want to improve things -- and in this case our survival depends upon it -- you have to push against that opposition or outmaneuver it.  And giving away one's bargaining chips (how cynical it sounds to me to say offshore drilling should be a bargaining chip) at the outset of the debate is not pushing against the opposition or outmaneuvering it.  It's merely ensconcing toleration of a deteriorating status quo.

        I also think you underestimate the public's ability to envision and embrace change.  They did, after all, elect this President to bring just that.

        •  I don't think this was ever a bargaining chip (8+ / 0-)

          Who is there to bargain with? We know what the opposition will do, they've proven they only have one play in their book.

          I don't think this was a concession to Republicans, I think it was a concession to the American people's expectations. I don't know if it will work--again, I wouldn't have done it--but I think this was likely done to pre-emptively calm people down about, say, the much tougher fuel efficiency standard the EPA just announced.

          I mean, look at these two decisions side by side:

          On the one hand, fuel standards went from, what, 25.5 mpg to 35.5 mpg? And (I'm just doing this from memory for illustrative purposes, please don't take these as "lies" if I'm off) lets say 20%ish of our oil consumption goes to passenger vehicles. That means that, eventually, demand for oil should drop off by about 5% because of new efficiencies. 5% is a pretty big deal.

          Compare that to the offshore drilling announcement: If there is ever any new extraction based on it, it likely won't be for 20 years. And that's a pretty big if, given that most offshore leases don't get used as is. And if, in 20 years, we're still worried about this issue, we're probably in an awful lot of trouble anyway.

          So I think, in the scheme of things, the fuel efficiency announcement is a much bigger deal, even if it's far more boring. But because of the first announcement, people now have it in their heads that Obama's going to try everything he can to fix our energy situation. And I think that probably makes them more likely to follow his lead.

          Now, I don't know that I expect that to work. But my guess is that that's the plan--to appear to be the reasonable one, not an extremist who's going to wreck the economy by going green--not some kind of ploy to gain Republican support.

          •  You may be right -- I don't know... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greengemini, thethinveil

            ...what the motivation of the offshore drilling announcement was.

            If it wasn't a bargaining chip, it makes less sense to me.  The people would have gladly gone along with tougher fuel economy standards.  It means savings at the pump for them, after all, with no effort on their part, and fuel economy standards have undergone improvements in the past with no revolutions in the streets.  No concessions to the people were necessary.  So I can only surmise that it's another concession to corporations or to the opposition party -- that is, unless I were to consider that this administration actually wants to pepper the East Coast with oil rigs.  Such a captivity to corporate interests would be a darker story.

            •  That was just one example. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mmacdDE, pacotrey, dance you monster
              I've mentioned this before talking about healthcare, but there is a large core of people in this country who are skeptical of anything that seems "one-sided". About a third of people in the country refuse to identify with either political party, even though most of them consistently vote one way or another. Why? Because there is an idea floating out there that you should be "fair", that good ideas can come from either side, that you shouldn't get caught up in political game-playing and ignore half the country so that your side can "win".

              There's a positive and negative side to that attitude, I think. But it's partly that attitude that got so many independents to vote for Obama in '08, because they saw him as someone who was interested in governing the country in the best way, not someone who was going to just do whatever his party wanted.

              And I think this decision--bad decision that it was--was for them. Because even if half of those people agree this is a bad idea, even if they would be happy for more fuel efficiency, even if they agree on cap and trade--If people who think like that see Obama as a politician who is only doing what the left wants, they'll resist him.

              Most people are low-info voters, and most low-info voters think about politics in broad arcs. Conservatives, liberals, centrists. Extremists and reasonable people. Obama can survive being labeled a liberal, but he can't survive being labeled an extremist, because extremists won't get votes from independents.

              •  Meh, saving the planet isn't "extreme." (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greengemini, Johnny Q, thethinveil

                Everyone recycles these days, without thinking it's some evil plot of extremists.  

                With the bully pulpit, with formidable oratorical skills, Obama could have come out and said -- instead of Drill, baby, drill -- that there is an existential threat that we face, and we need to address it now, that it's not a matter of right vs. left, and shouldn't be a matter of corporations vs. environmentalists, but one of right vs. wrong, survival of our and other species vs. self-induced extermination.

                It wouldn't have been a cheerful speech, anymore than the doctor telling us to quit smoking is cheerful, but the logic and sensibleness of it would have been apparent and in most instances grudgingly accepted.  Americans are strong that way.  I wish the Administration would acknowledge and use that strength.

            •  Those tougher CAFE standards (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mochajava13, dance you monster

              only help you if you buy a new car.

              For the majority of people who never buy a new car, or who can't afford to ever buy a brand new car, they don't do diddly squat for years and years.

              EVENTUALLY, yes, those old clunkers will become antiques and be in Jay Leno's garage rather than on the road. But not tomorrow, and not next year, and probably not for another 10-20 yrs.

          •  i find your comment zbbrox cogent. (0+ / 0-)

            i don't think this was a bargaining chip as much as a preemptive strike. it feels to me much like "we don't need big health insurance reform just give us tort reform".

            if you know that your opposition is going to say "we don't need comprehensive energy reform, we just need to drill up more oil" then you can preempt them by saying...ok, go explore over there for more oil. in the mean time we can work on alternatives. saves a ton of debate time, makes you look reasonable and keeps you from looking like you caved if you gave into it later.

            opening up the leases should not be costly. they could bring in some lease dollars that may be part of the plan to pay for alternatives. the explore part is on the oil companies. the environmental standards laws are in place. the oil, if found, will likely be expensive and so help alternatives look smarter.

            i cringed when i saw the drilling headlines, but the more i think on it, i am not too scared by this one. i am more concerned by talk of more nuclear power plants. hate em.

            "There are no bad architectural styles, well except the boring ones." F.LL.W.

            by pdx kirk on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 04:59:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Do people just read subject lines (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee
          And then respond?

          I'm not underestimating people at all, I'm saying they need to be on board FIRST or at least CONCURRENTLY.

          Obama's election was a progressive reaction to Bush 2. If McCain had been elected and didn't start the Iraq war or fuck up Katrina (just go with me here), Obama wouldn't have even tried in 2008. It wasn't some grand inprovoked awakening.

          On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close. -1, -1.59

          by Liberaltarianish on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:55:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I take your depressing assessment to apply (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thethinveil

        to the realities of our current political system. If that system could be made to act wisely, do you think that there are actions that could be taken now that would make a telling difference in our futures? Or are we so far gone down the wrong road that all we can do is look for shelter.

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

        by hestal on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:14:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not a scientist, I don't really know. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE
          My instinct is to say that some combination of actions could probably stave off total disaster--where there's a will, there's a way and all--and the biggest problem is the lack of will.

          And, hell, I can't entirely blame people for the lack of will. It's a tough thing to be asked to entirely change your lifestyle--and, really, we should reorganize this entire country--for a threat with no face. Especially when we're worrying about our jobs. Especially with an insane element telling you its not real--which is, of course, exactly what we'd like to believe.

          I mean, how many of us have given up driving, or moved closer to the city, or installed solar panels? These are difficult, expensive things to do, at least in the short-term. This is going to be tough.

      •  Local change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbbrox

        is the only way to get the majority of Americans involved.  We should work with developers and local communities to build homes in urban centers that people will want to live in.  We should make life in the suburbs unattractive.  I know people who would love to live in lively city centers with reasonably priced housing.  Think New York City but not the exorbitant housing costs.  Unfortunately, many cities don't have that so many people have to live in the suburbs.  We should also encourage lots of green spaces in city centers along with farmer's markets.  

        •  Where do you propose (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mochajava13

          we get the space to build these homes in urban centers?

          And why do you think that everybody needs to move to the cities?

          I would rather have some of those companies move outside the cities, since it's not really necessary to be IN the city for most companies these days.

          There's no reason there can't be industry and jobs in the suburbs, or even smaller towns/cities, along with local schools, shops and even malls. Add a local mass transit service, and you might not even need to drive much.

          •  That's the reason we need more people in cities. (0+ / 0-)

            Not necessarily huge cities, but spaces that have city centers with localized populations. Because if companies move outside the cities, then their employees need to drive to them. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to build mass transit to industrial parks housing a half dozen big companies that will only use a rail line for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. We need to fight sprawl.

            •  I agree we need to fight sprawl (0+ / 0-)

              but you're only going to beat it when housing is cheap and plentiful and it's easy to move.

              Right now it's not.

              You also have a situation that didn't exist in the 50s - dual career families.

              My husband works literally across the street. I work an hour away. So where should we live? In town (which we do), or in the middle of nowhere, which would make my commute shorter BUT would mean we need to drive even to get a quart of milk or a paper.

              That's NOW. We've been in our house 25 yrs, and there were times when both of us were close, and times when both of us were an hour away.

              I've known people who were in that same situation. Lots of them. 50 yrs ago, there would have been no problem - they would have moved, because there would be only ONE person working full time, and it would have been pretty easy to sell one house and buy another.

              Now? Not so easy, and not such a simple choice.

              •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eric Nelson

                It's tough to make those kinds of decisions. But that's why we need to incentivize them. If more businesses were focused on city centers, people would run into that issue less as there'd be a greater chance that both jobs would either be in one city or, failing that, in two cities connected by mass transit.

                My wife and I used to live in the suburbs and one of us would drive an hour off to one industrial park in a suburb to the north while the other drove off an hour to another industrial park to the south. We decided enough was enough, moved to the city and ditched our cars. We were lucky in that we didn't have kids and we managed to work out the whole "work" thing, I don't mean to suggest everyone can do it. But we can make those kinds of decisions easier for people by trying to refocus ourselves on central planning and getting houses and businesses in centralized areas.

      •  How about when people get their checks from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbbrox

        Cap & Dividend?

        This can get most Americans on board with fighting climate change, possibly even some of the many sincere populists on the Right.

        Turkana's right, imho....Now's the Time!

      •  The diarist clarifies a vision (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David R

        that crystalizes what will make for a better world.  The unfortunate thing is that reality has to effect us all in a way that makes us cry out "HELP!" before we realize its truth.

      •  Some people can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbbrox
        Most can't.  But leadership is what we need.  And I'm coming to the conclusion, as I set out at length in the front page story on mining waste, thast Obama really doesn't get environmental issues.  He isw an urban guy who doesn't really appreciate the  spiritual, beauty, wholeness or heritage aspects of environmental issues and neiother do any of his inner circle.  Michelle seems the closest, but she is urban too.

        So while I think Obama sees that there is a scientific consensus on global climate change, he doesn't feel the urgency of losing what we have.

        Your new Democratic Party: Billions for the bankster boys and not one dime for abortions. Even if it's your dime.

        by Mimikatz on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:29:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the flipside of that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbbrox, Johnny Q

        would be making inaction as intolerable as necessary. as we get closer to the point of no return, i suspect we'll start seeing people doing that, one way or the other.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:44:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's certainly been done before (0+ / 0-)

        What has happened to us, that people are no longer as "smart" about the environment, as Richard Nixon was in the 1970s?

      •  And climate change news keeps getting worse, (7+ / 0-)

        not better, as it becomes increasingly obvious that the worst case predictions about the speed and depth of the problem are closer to the truth than the optimistic ones.

        I.e., out pitiful cognitive, emotional, and political evolution is increasingly outmatched by the staggering enormity of this hammer that's about to come down on us, and it sure is effing hard not to feel like there's -- politically, collectively, given the anti-scientific, head-in-the-sand orientation of much of the electorate -- little we can do about it.

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

        by Vtdblue on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:20:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, and yelling at people won't help. Sadly. (4+ / 0-)

          Be easier if it would.

          That said, the case for carbon free energy is overdetermined. In other words, things like geothermal HVAC for schools and hybrid school buses and Lake Michigan offshore wind farms make sense even if global warming is a hoax (which it isn't).

          Therefore, sell these programs for other reasons, while knowing we are also helping with climate.

          •  Yep, lots that can be done, for sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wide eyed lib

            ... to make life better and cheaper locally/nationally, even if the rest of the world is spinning into enviro disaster.

            People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

            by Vtdblue on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:31:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why HVAC Just For Schools? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bill White, Vtdblue

            Why not for the whole city?

            That's what China is doing at its 2 "geothermal cities." Europe is getting into the act.  The U.S. not so much.

            When most "environmentalists" cry about global warming, they mostly push marginal intermittent energy and ignore the big ones that readily available.  They are even attacked.

            Thanks for the mention.  I don't mean to be critical.  I am rather grateful.

            Best,  Terry

            •  Schools are low hanging fruit for geothermal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Vtdblue

              since they often have large fields that can allow more horizontal installation.

              But yes, a massive nationwide deployment of geothermal HVAC would employ plenty of construction workers and signficantly decrease our use of carbon based fuels.

      •  No, this is not a question of evolution... (6+ / 0-)

        ...but of priorities and determination.  The powers that be are not making long-term sustainability the priority it needs to be.  We're too busy rearranging deck chairs to make the ride more comfortable.

        There's too much evidence that we are capable of considerable "evolution": we survived the Great Depression, we retool for wars, we embrace the computer age in only a few years.  Those became priorities for us, from the regular Joes and Janes to the halls of power.  Will climate change become a priority of equal measure?

        •  They are making the ride more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mochajava13

          profitable for the squid on humanities face. They are dinosaurs in the form of Crisis Capitalists and they own the government and the information. Common good is seen as wealth creation and competition. All our politics and our culture is geared toward consumption and fake ginned up fear, generated for one purpose power and money. Community seems like the best solution as imho the 'leaders' or government is the main problem. They have no interest in informing or educating or even using the power given them by the populist. They are too busy feathering the mine shafts they will retreat to or so arrogant that they believe that nature can be subdued by a hostile takeover.  

    •  The economy as we know it can't survive climate (17+ / 0-)

      change without innovation.

      We used to be the party of innovating and investing in alternatives - we used to talk about adapting and the great things that a new industrial/tech boom in the energy sector could promise.

      But never mind.

    •  It's too late... (6+ / 0-)

      There is already more carbon in the atmosphere than there has been in over 50 million years.  I think we should resolve ourselves on the survival of the species in a new physical reality.  Unless we can figure out a way to efficiently extract carbon in an artificial way, it really doesn't matter.  All of that carbon that the earth worked so hard to put into the ground millions of years ago is going right back into the atmosphere.

      To the WH: "It's your job to f*ck-up power; it's Fox's job to f*ck-up truth.' - Jon Stewart

      by RichM on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:23:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, but we are. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, Turkana, freesia

      None of the world's political, economic, and military powers are even close to addressing climate change in anything close to a responsible manner.

    •  almost recc'd (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      This is well-written and I agree with a lot of it. Except for one key point: there will be another time. It may not be in our lifetimes, but it will come. Not to say we shouldn't try to seize the moment. Of course we should, but apocalyptic thinking on the right and left is equally ignorant of history.

      Ein Mißverständnis ist es, und wir gehen daran zugrunde.

      by jd in nyc on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:02:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apocalyptic thinking is mostly a right wing MSM (0+ / 0-)

        tactic, which unfortunately is also the bulk of MSM. Corporate ownership & all

        apocalyptic thinking on the right and left is equally ignorant of history.

          Apocalyptic tactics or promotion with calculated clear headed thinking may be the only choice to combat the disparity in the MSM of progressive climate concerns.

          Once a balance of truthful & factual perspectives is acheived throughout the MSM, and issues of global environmental pollutions of all kinds is forefront as a rule, the need to employ advertizing "scare tactics" will calm down, and logical concrete steps will begin to happen...

          ..It wil be "popular" 1/2 snark for teh word  popular ..sadly.

        Racism is used by the leadership to distract from the real culprits

        by Eric Nelson on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:35:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Promoting the idea of drilling" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emboyo

      Obama is not promoting the idea, he is dangling a carrot to help push climate legislation through.

      Health care reform seemed like a no brainer.  Who doesn't hate health insurance companies?  Who hasn't seen their costs double in the last 10 years?  Yet the push back against ANY reform was colossal.

      Similarly, everyone knows that global warming is real.  (Or they did until our new President got in and something was going to be done about it.)  The push back since Obama was elected has been similarly vitriolic.

      I think people underestimate the strength of the forces against change and are too dismissive of the realities of the politics necessary make ANY change happen.    

      "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

      by nyseer on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:17:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you understand the moral issue here? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Turkana, drgonzoo

        Dangling a carrot of more drilling to promote clean energy is morally wrong.

        Further, this action has demonstrated to the American people, far louder than any speech can, that we can continue our oily ways and we can drill our way out of a crisis.

        You mention political so-called benefits.  So far, two Conservadem senators have indicated that this action makes them more likely to support, but five prior yes vote Progdem sen's have indicated that their votes are now in question.  That's a net loss of three votes, not a benefit.

        Finally broke down, joined the twittering classes: RL_Miller

        by RLMiller on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:36:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Strongly disagree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citicenx, Deoliver47, Eric Nelson

          I will take Obamas morals, smarts, patience and ability to get something positive done in the long run over any president I've seen in my lifetime.  (going back to JFK)

          As someone linked to yesterday-

          Obama preempts the other side's most resonant arguments, which forces them to come up with more and more extreme claims in order to differentiate themselves. In the end, he occupies the reasonable middle ground and his opponents are Palinized.
          ...At the same time, the policy is a tailored, measured version of what the Republicans have urged -- so, yes, the headline is, 'Obama Allows New Offshore Drilling/Presses For Energy Independence,' but at the same time, California/Oregon/Washington where opposition is strongest isn't included, and there are environmentally-friendly changes to Alaska leasing policy announced at the same time.

          He is outsmarting the other side and has the ability to demonstrate it every time he speaks.  And I hope you are watching the town hall right now, because he addressed this in a very intelligent, coherent way.

          "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

          by nyseer on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:47:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Turkana, drgonzoo
            1.  You mentioned the politics, I provided facts (and can supply links if asked) to show that your belief in the political upside is not founded in facts, you responded that you trust him.  Okay.  That's your prerogative.  
            1.  and you're not responding to the moral dimension at all other than by noting your trust in Obama.

            Finally broke down, joined the twittering classes: RL_Miller

            by RLMiller on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:06:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Facts being what? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              citicenx

              That he lost 3 votes?  They haven't voted yet.  It ain't a fact yet.  Dozens of dems signed a letter they would vote no on hcr if it didn't have the public option.  They ended up voting yes.  That is a fact.

              Your morals argument wouldn't hold up in any negotiating/compromise situation.  Dangling a carrot was my words, not his.  Maybe that description doesn't work for you.  If you think ANY drilling is morally indefensible, then you are part of the minority that doesn't agree with Obama or me and there's not much that can be said.  We'd go in circles forever.

              "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

              by nyseer on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:23:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's a political football (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nyseer

          I really doubt that there are any economically viable offshore projects left in the US, so its not really a big issue.  But if it does get Republican votes for a real climate bill, and not a half-assed measure, I think it's worth it.  The real problem is that it appears that any measures that would actually reduce carbon emissions are preemptively being taken off the table before negotiations even start.  I've heard this song before.

          Now if a discovery along the lines of the Tupi field were to be made, there wouldn't even be a debate.  The economic pressure to drill would simply be too vast.  But I really don't believe there are any such fields left in this country.

          "Competent statisticians will be the front line troops in our war for survival..." George Box, 1976

          by aztecraingod on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:20:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I thought our moment came on the first (0+ / 0-)

      Earth Day back in 1970. It didn't. Then I thought it had arrived when Jimmy Carter gave us his Solar Power Initiative. Guess not. We have seen the corporate push-back over and over. Our best game-plan is to do what we can to starve the beast. Cut down on our oil consumption If we do, why would oil companies even think about drilling in new areas. And how is the reality of super-tankers criss-crossing the oceans with millions of gallons of crude in this age of terrorism a more environmentally sound solution than allowing Obama's political theater to play out? Since the oil companies aren't drilling in the hundreds of thousands of acres available to them now, why would they bother with any new areas?

      Hey Palin, How's that Dopey Derangey thing working out for you?

      by kitebro on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:23:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On Hope, and Change (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "No" moment was Dec 2000 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mochajava13, Johnny Q

      There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said "no." Somehow, we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.

      IIRC, 12 Dec 2000 when SCOTUS stopped the FL recount and declared Dumbya the winner....

      .... When Democrats in power did NOTHING to protest the elevation of the cretin who was so obviously unqualified to be prez, when it was already known that he was too selfish and stupid to be anything other than the worst disaster to ever be elevated to the status of prez.

      That moment had been preceded by the "presidential debates" of 2000 when Media Idiots had declared the painfully stupid Dumbya the "winner."  When I journaled those debates, the one that stuck out was when Dumbya said he wouldn't do any 'nation building.'  I said if he were elected he'd (1) invade Iraq to finish his daddy's war, (2) that this country would go into a recession.... and added (3) that I didn't see how/why anyone would vote for someone who was so obviously stupid.  My jaw dropped after the "debates" when Media Idiots declared Dumbya the "winner."  In the back of my mind came the suspicion that people would vote the way the Media Idiots (and pundits) had intimated we should vote, but Dumbya's stupidity was so painfully obvious that I hoped saner voter choices would apply.

      Everyone's forgotten now, but those first few months of Dumbya's residency were fraught with polls that showed how dissatisfied the American voters were with the stupid little cretin.  Then came the downward spiral with Dumbya's triumphant elevation to demigod status after 9/11 when he got his opening to invade Iraq on false premises.  It was screamingly obvious to me that he was over-reacting to a horrendous criminal event..., in spite of Media Idiocy that went along with the idea that a massive military action was the proper response to what a few rag-tag criminals had done (and couldn't be convicted for because they died with their victims).  The utter stupidity of it all and the meek acquiescence of our Congress Critters to unravel our Constitution and let this egotistical little shite of a "president" and his co-conspirator, "VP" Dickie has always appalled me.

      Then in a close "election" in '04, Kerry meekly went the way of Gore's meek acquiescence.  I was crushed.  I knew Kerry wasn't the ideal, but anything was better than Dumbya.

      And the downward spiral continued and extra powers never granted in the Constitution for the executive branch were claimed, the majority of our Congress Critters refused to impeach or start investigations into the lies and war crimes of Dumbya, Dickie, and their criminal cohorts, passively not rocking the boat and maintaining the status quo in spite of the overwhelming numbers of people who were screaming for the Democrats to lead (only one tried, and he was cut down left and right by snide comments, including here on DKos) ... and I notice our current president has not issued an executive order to give up those illegal dictatorial powers and he has, in fact, continued to claim presidents can order wiretapping without a warrant if "ter'rism" is involved and his DoJ has gone along with protecting Dumbya and Dickie's asses for past crimes... and the corporatization of America is increasing with the "health care/insurance reform" which will give insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations huge windfall profits in the future because we are now being forced to buy their crappy insurance.  Munitions, oil, and mercenary corporations got their profits under Dumbya and Dickie, then the banks during the transition (approved by the Dems, no less, who helped that whole thing along by lifting the regulations in one of the last pieces of legislation passed when Clinton was prez).

      So, the downward spiral continues and everyone passively goes along with it.  I forsee nothing good coming of this whole thing and I think it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better.  I won't see the ultimate end because I'm old and the accelerating downward spiral won't hit rock bottom until after I'm dead, but without a strong leader to swim against the flood of apathy, there is nothing to stop the US from going into a corporate dictatorship in the future... which will lead to further dismantling the Constitution, Bill of Rights, all the treaties we signed that are incorporated into our Constitution.

      We could turn this ship of state around if we had a leader strong enough to at least sign on to the World Court and who would turn Dumbya and Dickie and their cohorts over to The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes and perjury, but I really do not believe we have anyone strong enough to swim against the current who can accomplish all that, and Obama has already stated he wants to look forward, not backward, so he doesn't want any resolution to the worst criminal era in our government's history.  He'll just go along with whatever the corporations want, which is what our Congress Critters are passing for laws now.

      Cui bono?  No one in Lamestream Media is asking who benefits... because they are also a corporate entity and they have their own agenda and one day they will want more concessions for larger media mergers and power over our ("free") air waves.

      Yeah.  Those are some of the reasons I'm ashamed and embarrassed to be an American.  I never thought I'd live to see this day, and it's how I've been feeling for ten years now....

      They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

      by NonnyO on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:48:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure, but it is not what it seems... (0+ / 0-)

      Something rotten is "pretending and acting" here with the purpose of deceiving...but it won't succeed...

      It never does...

    •  A future crisis in the abstract seems much less (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      threatening than the more immediate specter of losing a job. Our oversized monkey brains aren't structured to respond to future threats in the abstract. Its vital that we find a way to overcome this limitation in our perceptions.

      "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:21:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Diarist analogy FAIL. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burlydee, citicenx

      How do you reconcile this statement in your diary:

      The Denmark of Hamlet is awash with intrigue and conspiracy.

      With this:

      Promoting the idea of drilling for more oil is exactly the wrong message. It cannot be justified as a political maneuver, because the politics demands the blunt truth.

      Everyone wants a cleaner, greener country and government, but when you have to be internally inconsistent in your logic just so you can bash President Obama when you don't have the full picture, then I've gotta point that out.  

      The President who speaks "the blunt truth" all the time in the "Denmark of Hamlet" we call Washington, D.C., which is "awash in intrigue," gets his knees chopped off.  I guess whatever he does, there'll be complainers....

      "Obama, Obama, I love ya, Obama; you're only November away" -- cute ginger kid

      by Tortmaster on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:21:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you bothered to listen to or read his (0+ / 0-)

      position on drilling?

    •  THIS IS THE PARADOX OF CAPITALISM... (0+ / 0-)

      Once you open the box, you can't let the spooks back in....

      Capitalism, at it's very core, depends on the exploitation and mass consumption of resources....

      Guess what? If Obama doesn't stimulate the economy, Democrats don't get RE-ELECTED, and the Republicans are back in POWER again.....

      Now which is worse? Controlled, regulated, off-shore drilling, or the REPUBLICANS BACK IN POWER?

      It's really not Hamlet or Godot that we are talking about here, but more like the choices betwee Satan and God in Milton's Paradise Lost, that we should be referencing.

      Until we change our values and turn towards the Earth (as our Native American brethren continuosly counseled us, but we wouldn't listen) as our Mother and Protector, we will always be in this bind.

      As Lame Deer stated long ago, "You can keep each foot in a separate canoe travelling down the river, but sooner or later, you must decide"....

      Until we decide, as a people, the right way to live on this planet, we will always be in the wrong canoe.

  •  Sane, responsible leadership might have (34+ / 0-)

    worked. But any proposal to fix the economy and ecology of the planet is going to require Americans to give up what they see as their "god given right" to use, and consume without limits.

    Has anyone noticed the "Invisible Hand of the Free Market" is still giving us the bird?

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:02:59 AM PDT

  •  I'll admit to a "sucky" attitude (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, Turkana, DWG, zbbrox

    on this subject of change. At this point, I'm just glad these issues are even being addressed now in a more serious vein.  There wasn't a chance of that happening with a republican president.

    Maybe it's a function of my being part of the Boomer generation. :-/

    When will we ever learn that PROFIT cannot be a part of the equation when endangering people's lives adds to a company's bottom line?--Earicicle

    by billlaurelMD on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:04:15 AM PDT

  •  In my humble opinion, dear friend, (24+ / 0-)

    this is the best diary you have ever written. Wow.

    Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:05:32 AM PDT

  •  It's not just climate change, either (13+ / 0-)

    Oh how many missed opportunities will we have to reflect on in November?

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:06:54 AM PDT

  •  Actually Godot appears in a way. (14+ / 0-)

    He sends a messenger who apologizes for his not showing up and tells them to come back tomorrow. It's kind of like "groundhog day. "

  •  Excellent diary (6+ / 0-)

    You pulled together what might otherwise be disconnected thoughts in a very lovely way.  

    I agree with you; Obama seems to have the gift of leadership.  May it bear the fruit that we all hope it does.  

    Hill? What hill? No one said there was going to be a hill . . . . Was there a sign?

    by Jersey Jon on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:09:58 AM PDT

  •  You Liberals just want to take away (10+ / 0-)

    my Golf expeditions to Arizona.

    You want to turn the beautiful grassy fields into a sandpit.

    Global Warming is a HOAX!!!

    That's why I'm a proud Tea Party Patriot.

    You want to change the world and take away my Freedoms.

    I like the way things are. Don't you dare challenge my comfortable view of the world.

    Baby's on fire And all the laughing boys are bitching, Waiting for photos, Oh the plot is so bewitching-- Brian Eno

    by jethrock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:11:15 AM PDT

  •  Immediate Rec for the Rosenkrantz reference (15+ / 0-)

    I love that movie.

    You are so right. The world can NOT place economic growth over the environment, we can NOT refuse to change our habits. We only get one chance to do the right thing and find an alternative to fossil fuels. The time IS now

    FULL DISCLOSURE - I'm a paid employee of PeanutButterPAC, a progressive, Kossack founded PAC.

    by MinistryOfTruth on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:12:09 AM PDT

  •  Eloquent and on-target in more than... (20+ / 0-)

    ...one way. As usual.

    I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:12:42 AM PDT

  •  I trust not in our abilites to agree on anything (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, Turkana, jhecht

    that's not in our short term interests. We will capture and consume the last blue fin tuna. We will turn the worlds oceans into a floating garbage dump. We will set free the carbon lock up for tens of millions of years. We get one shot at this experiment and its outcome is irreversable. What is one to do?

    Personally, I will work against my own economic self interests. I support legislation and legislators who are more progressive than this site.

    At the same time, I buy stock where I think I can make a profit. If it's a coal stock, I buy that. If it's a defense stock, I buy that. If it's a bank, I buy that. The trick is in knowing when to sell. Why do I do this? I want my grand-daughter to have a shot at the life I have enjoyed.

    What we learn from History: History repeats itself. History never repeats itself. Histories lessons are always ignored.

    by Hector Gonzalez on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:13:43 AM PDT

    •  those stocks (5+ / 0-)

      will not give her that shot if the environment has been destroyed. i invest in some stocks, but never socially irresponsible ones.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:21:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might think your hands are clean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson
        But the whole concept and mind set of the stock market is socially irresponsible. The impossible to meet mantra of constant growth creates an environment of profits before people. It doesn't matter whether you're investing in an oil company, defense contractor, little tech company, or a green start up; when push comes to shove they are going to put what they see as their obligation to shareholders ahead of any other obligation. This why I never let my politics interfere with my investing. Once your toes are in the mud you might as well just dive in.

        "This sucks" - anonymous

        by jhecht on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:59:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are correct. There is no economic theory (0+ / 0-)

          (of which I am aware) that postulates shrinkage. All economics, seemingly starts with growth as a postulate. Not just population growth but demand growth.

          Here's the kicker for Turkana above. The human race does not face extinction due to environmental catastrophe. The well off and those that provide goods and services to the well off may not be able to enjoy pollution free seas, lakes, rivers, air, land, etc. There may be no tuna left or elephants or Rhino's. But the human race and it's favorite animals and feedstocks will be around barring asteroid strike or nuclear winter. It will be true then as it is today, it'll be better to be well off rather than one of the huddled masses. That's what i want for my grand-daughter.

          Having said that, I will still say that I will work against the very companies in which I invest. I do this 'cause I'd like my grand-daughter and her progeny to enjoy a world that does have blue fin tuna and rhino's etc.

          As far as I know, there are no "green" funds that out-perform the market.

          What we learn from History: History repeats itself. History never repeats itself. Histories lessons are always ignored.

          by Hector Gonzalez on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:38:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  who exactly do you have in mind for the standin (6+ / 0-)

    role of Guildenstern?  who are you threatening to have exceuted?  or is the mixed metaphor too much for my brain this lovely Good Friday morning. Are we crucifying President Obama again?

    he climbs on and off that cross so many times a week he must be getting dizzy!!!

    It amazes me in the blog world how nothing that was ever said, written or thought is too significant or insignificant to compare to him favourably or unfavourably.

  •  I don't disagree with your (15+ / 0-)

    analysis of the problems. However, I must admit to profound skepticism that any industrial nations will be willing to make the kind of fundamental changes in their economies and infrastructure to do anything significant about it.

  •  Bush (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Turkana, JesseCW

    Sane, responsible leaders would have talked about the necessity of great collective sacrifice,

    Bush did. He told everybody to go shopping.

    (Other than that, good diary.)

    ;)

    "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

    by catnip on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:15:37 AM PDT

  •  Did anyone ever believe (4+ / 0-)
    the truth of Cassandra's prophecies?

    Truth works when people are ready to hear it.  Ever tell an alcoholic about the truth of their life choices? That destruction was sure to follow?  Did it work simply because it was the truth?

    Obama might gets the votes he needs if he holds Congress hostage with the military.  Otherwise the votes won't be there in the Senate.  That's truth.  Will it change your mind about what you think he should do?   Will it change the outcome of the Senate vote if he does do what you think he should do?

    Do you think any appeal about the destruction of mankind and the planet will get through to the Republicans and blue dogs, people who deny evolution let alone climate change?

    I am willing to write letters to Congress people, sign petitions, send money to candidates, etc. and have done so.  I speak out to friends and relatives and business acquaintances who are deniers or just have their head buried in the sand.

    But if we have a handful of years to change radically, let me tell you, we aren't going to make it. If that change has to happen all in the next couple of months, we're doomed. Its a shame, the planet is a pretty place.   But I won't miss a lot of the people who live here, I am truly coming to hate them for what they are doing.  I don't think its fair to hang all this on Obama's shoulders.  I don't think any one human can lead that well.

    Now if you have a plan for an organized mass movement of supporters to activate, I am all ears.  I don't know how to activate such a force.

    •  he needs to rally the public (8+ / 0-)

      he needs to go over congress's collective head.

      and oddly enough, i was once tasked with telling a good friend that she was an alcoholic. her roommates asked me. she's been sober for more than a quarter century.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:24:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  because you were that persuasive (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        or she was ready to hear the truth, or she hit bottom some time after that and got ready to hear the truth.

        I have an uncle that had liver failure from alcohol, spent five weeks in intensive care, barely recovered, and stopped drinking at 45 years old, and have been sober 30 plus years because he was ready to believe his own body, not because someone told him.

        He can go over congress' collective head.  For how many years before he turns around 60% of the population, overcomes every network news cast?  Overcomes the whole anti-science religious right?  If you think they are shrill now, you think its heated now, just let him put the match to the tinder.  How much more money and power do the corporations have now?

        He can't do that and survive without a mass behind him to start with.  All the activists here tell us neophyte activists what to do.   Because he needs help.  Instead of blaming him for not making himself a literal target more than he already has, lets help him know he's not alone.   Give me the plan.  You're sure, you think you have the answer.  Lay it out there in your next diary tomorrow.  I'll send money, show up, whatever.  

        •  he has to lead (7+ / 0-)

          it was the leader in her head that heard me, and began to take action. but she wouldn't have begun that process had her roommates and i not decided to give her the message she didn't want to hear.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:45:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's not our leader... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Nelson

            he's our employee.

            --Shannon

            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:56:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I still thnk (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hyperstation, wabird, Eric Nelson

            you are taking the easy way out here.

            He, ie, somebody other than me, needs to lead.   He's said all the right words about need to change, he just hasn't trumpeted the fear card.  Is that what you want him to do?   Because then I think you need to address the reaction to that, you want long term thinking, then start doing the analysis beyond shouting do something.  

            Believe me, I am on the side of do something big now.  I have been for several years.  But I know how ineffective my words have been with people I know.  I live in a red state, the people I talk to are the people standing in the way.  They don't believe or won't believe, hate black people to boot, and think God has the ultimate plan and they don't need to act, and in fact, some are cheering on the end of the world.    

            I have friends who are environmentally concerned but tell me not to send them the diaries with the ice melt numbers, the species dying off per year, the stories of islands going underwater.  "I just can't hear that"  It scares them away instead of into action.  I happen to think Obama is smart enough to know what he's up against and he doesn't think he can move them.   And when we address this as 'he', then I think 'he' is right.

            We need to be much more visible and forceful.  He can lead if there is something to lead.  I don't see much for him to lead here.  I see outrage but no movement.  Do we need 250,000 letters from Dkos?  Do we need to have the multiple site bloggers ask FDL and HuffPo and MoveOn to join the same?  And not just against the drilling, but for coming out and telling the truth to the people about climate change.  Tell him we expect him to defend the science, defend the conclusions, show the NASA pictures, tell people the truth.

          •  My similar attempt with my brother (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Nelson

            backfired.  He was a serious alcohol addict at age 16.  One night when he was 23, I had a talk with him, and asked him to seek help for his alcoholism.  He killed himself around 3am that night.  Left a note.  Said he was a burden on the family, something I did not in any way suggest to him.  Just the fact that I was worried about him worried him.

            There is a readiness factor.  But we don't at this juncture have the luxury of dallying while we figure out if the public is ready.  We must wake them up.

            Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

            by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:06:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am very sorry about your brother (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eric Nelson

              addictions and mental illness issues, depression, they offer no easy or simple solutions.

              As for the truth to the public, I agree with you, we not 'Obama' must be the solution,  we need him to do his part, but its only a part.

            •   Off topic:Rec'd for proper term used for alcohol (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              keeplaughing

              addiction

              serious alcohol addict

                "alcoholism" the label: swamped with too much  innuendo. medical use appropriate time saver only

                 Sorry about your brother keeplaughing. That's a tough one

              Racism is used by the leadership to distract from the real culprits

              by Eric Nelson on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 03:14:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You speak truth, but... (0+ / 0-)

          that does not mean that Obama should give up.  

          Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

          by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is no plan, that's part of the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga

      When we rely on others to do the political hard work for us, then we doom ourselves.

      That we allowed it to come down to the wire, if we believe the premise, then we have to ask why it is that we let it get to this point in the first place. Were we really just waiting for the right POTUS?

      No urgency there.

      "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

      by sebastianguy99 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:42:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well if the collective we (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        failed, why do we think one lone hero warrior can save us all?   Talk about mythological archetypes that play into right wing thinking.  

        The collective we, not the him, need to get off our asses.   I have done more in the last two years than the previous fifty something, but I can do more.  I'm just not sure how to.  

  •  FWIW Egler Was Paraphrasing JBS Haldane Who Said (9+ / 0-)

    "The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose."

    I love that quote.

  •  Great diary. And Rosencrantz And Guildenstern (7+ / 0-)

    is one of my favs :)

    Immanentizing the eschaton is a *good* thing.

    by jabuhrer on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:18:42 AM PDT

  •  Finally... (11+ / 0-)

    Thank you. I can't take another otherwise-smart person blathering about the genius of this political move. Blunt truth indeed.

  •  what are are you doing to lead? (6+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishgrease, Southside, TooFolkGR, jfromga, zenox, Deep Texan
    Hidden by:
    badger

    you obviously don't like the off-shore announcement, even though there is a legitimate argument for why it was done: linky.

    But what are YOU doing to fill this leadership void on issues of the environment?  Or is this "unprecedented, and possibly existential, threat" not big enough to more than blog about?

    Getting tired of people saying "it's not good enough" without proposing how to make it better.

    The bear and the rabbit will never agree on how dangerous a dog is.

    by fromer on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:20:23 AM PDT

  •  the environment has been designated a hippie (15+ / 0-)

    issue and put on the back burner, even though if or when it collapses, everything else becomes moot.

    It cannot be justified as a political maneuver, because the politics demands the blunt truth.

    unfortunately, this is exactly how it's being spun on both sides.

    It's truly a blessing to have total freaking idiots as your enemy. ~Rachel Maddow

    by oblios arrow on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:21:12 AM PDT

  •  lovelock (7+ / 0-)

    says it's too late; the moment's passed.

    The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change.

    [H]e said that while the earth's future was utterly uncertain, mankind was not aware it had "pulled the trigger" on global warming as it built its civilizations.

    "We're not really guilty. We didn't deliberately set out to heat the world."

    Prof Lovelock does not pull his punches on the politicians and scientists who are set to gain from the idea that we can predict climate change and save the planet ourselves.

    At the age of 90, Prof Lovelock is resigned to his own fate and the fate of the planet. Whether the planet saves itself or not, he argues, all we can do is to "enjoy life while you can".

  •  I had an argument with a denier a few months ago. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidnora, snstara, Turkana, gulfgal98

    He essentially argued that we just don't know. I argued that action needs to be taken regardless, because if there is even a small chance of cataclysm, we need to act. And the chance is larger than small.

    You don't buy fire insurance assuming that your house will burn. You buy it assuming it might.

    It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

    by MBNYC on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:25:21 AM PDT

  •  If Palin were President, or McCain.... (4+ / 0-)

    And they opened, say twice the area that Obama opened, there would still be very little actual drilling going on. I work in the industry (natural gas) and have for 32 years. The offshore areas opened, for the most part (vastly) are very very tough to drill and VERY expensive to drill. As a rule, companies won't even sink a test hole there unless seismic and/or magnetic/gravitational surveys indicate a huge reservoir. HUGE!

    With no exceptions I'm aware of, these reservoirs are of the non-huge variety. They're not going to get investors and partners, and even huge energy concerns don't do this shit unless they can share the risk.

    What I'm saying is that, not only is this whole thing political, it has always been political. Republicans didn't advocate drilling baby drilling because oil companies were chomping at the bit to do any actual drilling. They advocated drilling baby drilling to get votes.

    Now that vote well has become a dry hole.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:26:35 AM PDT

    •  it's the messaging (8+ / 0-)

      it's the wrong message.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:29:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you really believe there will be no drilling (5+ / 0-)

      in the northern coasts of Alaska... as well as more drilling in the Gulf... not to mention the east coast.

      No offense... but you are delusional.

      Furthermore... We don't know who is going to be in the White House in 2012. I guarantee you if any current potential Republican candidate did become President...  Once the moratorium is abolished they would not enforce environmental protections in any acceptable way.

      Baby's on fire And all the laughing boys are bitching, Waiting for photos, Oh the plot is so bewitching-- Brian Eno

      by jethrock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:36:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't say there would be no drilling. (0+ / 0-)

        I said very little.

        And I'm correct.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that it would have very little economic (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishgrease, texasmom, JesseCW

          benefit except to the private companies who successfully discovered large reservoirs. Nor would it be enough to wean ourselves off foreign oil. As you know most of the oil from Alaska goes to China anyway. And you must know how the oil and commodities markets work... so I won't get into the argument of  what would be discovered staying in America.

          Yet the environmental risk and irreversible damage far outweighs any potential benefit.

          Baby's on fire And all the laughing boys are bitching, Waiting for photos, Oh the plot is so bewitching-- Brian Eno

          by jethrock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:49:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. This will not increase our oil supply (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burlydee, envwq, emboyo, jethrock

            one drop. Nor will it lower prices or reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. It's one great big goddam political play. I'm just saying it's a good one. Maybe a brilliant one.

            Yet the environmental risk and irreversible damage far outweighs any potential benefit.

            Here's where we disagree. Most of upper Alaskan offshore was,

            1. Already open to oil exploration
            1. Closed by means other than the parts of the moritorium Obama lifted, and still closed
            1. Fully impossible to drill

            Same with the Gulf. Obama increased the reasonably drillable area off Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico by a few percent. So there, unless you're an absolutist, your statement regarding environmental risk and irreversible damage just isn't true when confined only to Obama's action. Now, Obama did open large areas of the Atlantic. I'm saying there won't be much drilling there, and I really believe that there won't be any, none, zero, actual production. Overwhelmingly, most environmental risk comes from production and transportation. Not drilling. If you see someone building a coastal oil terminal, scream bloody murder. There's yer disaster waiting to happen. You'll be screaming, hoever, at State or County or City governments there. Not Obama.

            Now. The potential benefit. Obama's been in office for a little over a year. Recently, he closed a very big and environmentally nasty loophole that energy companies were driving rigs through out here in the American West. This is huge. As I told Turkana, it's at least 10 environmental steps forward for the 1 or 2 steps back (if that) represented by the Obama offshore action.

            Democrats are much better for the environment than are Republicans. Obama just took one of the wheels off the GOP wagon and chucked it into the ocean. Taking everything as a whole, it was a good move.

            It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

            by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:27:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You make an intelligent and valid argument. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fishgrease, texasmom

              And I hope you're correct.

              However I am not convinced that this was either necessary... nor beneficial.

              It was definitely a political move, not one based on sound policy. I would maybe be more comfortable with the decision if the Administration didn't announce that cap-and-trade was dead on the exact same day.

              They put all their chips on the table upfront. Between now and passage I don't see how the bill gets better from here... but it could certainly get worse.

              Baby's on fire And all the laughing boys are bitching, Waiting for photos, Oh the plot is so bewitching-- Brian Eno

              by jethrock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:19:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're keeping an open mind. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                texasmom, jethrock

                I can't ask for more than that. And I'll add that you may also be more correct than I am, even in the grand scheme.

                Big wheels are turning and we can but see little swatches of them.

                It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

                by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:23:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Also.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jethrock

                Obama is doing a lot with strokes of his pen that don't require congressional approval. It's all quiet stuff, but it's stuff that's absolutely destroying the business models of some very very bad polluters.

                It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

                by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:26:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I agree on the cap and trade stuff, too! (0+ / 0-)

                Ridiculous! Most of that is about Democrats from coal states.

                Who should be told to shut the fuck up and vote for cap and trade.

                And not a weak cap and trade or a delayed cap and trade. Coal is filthy, dangerous stuff. We have to use it right now, but we should be paying for its eventual removal from our grid, now. Right now.

                It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

                by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:17:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The factors and definitions will change (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, mochajava13, Johnny Q

      The definition of "huge" will change as the size of the resources shrink.  The definition of "expensive" will change as the price of oil rises.

      The argument that the energy companies aren't really going to drill makes absolutely no sense.  If that were true, then why don't we open everything to offshore drilling?

      •  Because "WE" isn't the federal government. (0+ / 0-)

        States, Counties, Cities and Tribes control most of America's drillable coastline.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:30:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A number of things to consider (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishgrease
        1. A limited number of deepwater rigs is already contracted years into the future. It's not a business you can just jump into. Rig building is a risky enterprise because demand will be governed by unknown oil prices many years in the future.  Liability costs are very  high for equipment subject to the extreme conditions (pressure and temp) of deepwater drilling.
        1. The cost to drill can reach $100 million per well. Last year, the Gulf of Mexico success rate was about 17 percent. Depending on location, it can take up to 10 years from discovery of deepwater oil to actual production and sales.  A long time to reach first return on investment.
        1. Even majors drill on credit.  We know loan rates are high - remember the 10 year delay before sales?  Investors have to consider the cost/risk/time vs. possible returns.

        I would expect exploration companies to buy offshore leases when bidding is opened up in the new areas, but I don't think drilling in new areas will be starting anytime soon.

        Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

        by texasmom on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:36:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary. (6+ / 0-)

    I know, when I see the damn things growing off the coasts, I'll think, oh djeez our species sucks.  And I know that my concern then will be for the inevitable spills and crap that go with such devices.

    But I had mixed feelings, reading about the thing.  Because I kind of wonder -- are the oil platforms and fields in the places we kill people wholesale, um, environmentally friendly?  Will we use less oil from there because of it, or in the interests of conservation and not frying the planet?  Or is it more about, don't fuck up my view?  

    We've killed an awful lot of people, in the interests of keeping military power in the gulf.  I've seen more outcry about the oil drilling than about those dead brown folks.  I do get that these are separate issues, that environmental awareness does not translate, necessarily, into worry about the excess population, as it were (I'm there myself, some days).  

    But, but...as national policy, as a measure of our moral depth and the nature of our outrage, I can't help but weigh it against the wars in progress.  And though I agree with your very well written diary for the most part, I wonder if it is better to put the ugly consequences of our actions right up close and personal, where we can see them out our windows, framed against sunsets.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:27:04 AM PDT

  •  I am really surprised (10+ / 0-)

    People seem to have this unshaken faith that there will always be a tomorrow and actions have no real lasting consequences. Even those who are aware that climate change is real often have the unmistakable view that humans will adapt and survive to whatever happens even if millions or a few billion die as a consequence. Even relatively superficial understanding of biology indicates that no species is invulnerable.

    When it comes to environmental change, not only are we screwing up the atmosphere with carbon gas emissions and acidifying the oceans in the process. We also disrupting the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles with our injudicious use of manufactured fertilizers. We are exhausting the world's water supply (water use is increasing four times the rate of population growth, mostly due to water consumed in fossil fuels exploitation. We are deforesting old growth and fragile rain forests to grow crops (including biofuels), raise livestock, and develop. We have lost species in the past 50 years than during the entire course of human history. All of these things threaten our ecosystem. Only a fool would dare believe that the carrying capacity of this planet for humans is infinite and our actions cannot possibly create an environment inhospitable to the very survival of our species.

    I find it amazing and amusing (in a sick cynical way) that people worry about the very possibility of economic changes while taking their very existence for granted.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:28:53 AM PDT

  •  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the actual situation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, Southside, zenox, Deep Texan

    is they are doing a study to figure out exactly how much oil and gas are actually down there, right? Or, were new drilling contracts actually offered?

    Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

    by bkamr on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:30:02 AM PDT

    •  again (11+ / 0-)

      the larger problem is the messaging. this is not a time even to be discussing drilling more oil. this is a time to be explaining why we have to move beyond oil, while doing absolutely everything we can to make that happen.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:32:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand that. But, if I were going to begin (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini

        the energy debate in this idiotically toxic political environment, I'd begin by getting the toxic Drill Baby, Drill argument derailed, with a nice, "Yes, and that is a solution that we are absolutely, posulutely, agressively studying, BUT we also need to aggressively pursue alternative energies for national security reasons and to create millions of JOBS..."  

        I'm not saying that's what they are doing, but it should be one of the take aways after the HCR debacle last summer.  

        Afterall, distraction rather than reason is what works with tantruming toddlers.

        Otherwise, I am with you all the way on the climate disaster we are indeed facing, and the strategic directions we need to be going in.  I'm just doubting that a rational tactical approach would work on this issue anymore than it did for HCR.  I'm hoping the WH learned a few tactical lessons with healthcare going into the finance and energy debates.

        Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

        by bkamr on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:43:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  via Public Agenda (4+ / 0-)

        What the Public Knows about Energy

        Nearly 4 in 10 Americans (39 percent) cannot name a fossil fuel. Even more can’t name a renewable energy source. More than half of the public (56 percent) says incorrectly that nuclear energy contributes to global warming. About one-third of the public (31 percent) says that solar energy contributes to global warming.

        [...]

        Some of these knowledge gaps also affect questions of dependence on foreign oil and the likelihood of finding more domestic supply. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent)say most of the United States’ imported oil comes from the Middle East (10 percent say they don’t know). In fact, the percentage of oil imported from the Persian Gulf is closer to 16 percent. Almost all of the respondents say the United States has more than 5 percent of the world’s oil; in fact, the figure is more like 2.5 percent. 1

        This knowledge gap impacts the public’s divided view on whether drilling offshore and in Alaska would mean we wouldn’t need to import oil (44 percent say yes, 43 percent say no). While many energy experts support more domestic drilling, very few think increased production alone would replace the oil imported by the United States, which adds up to 60 percent of total consumption. 2

        All this suggests that one of the challenges in moving the public along the Energy Learning Curve™ is basic knowledge. Without certain facts, the public can’t judge what’s realistic and what’s not, and that’s bound to hamper constructive decision making.

        (has embedded links to the data)

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:14:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know that the whole country seems to be on (0+ / 0-)

          a major campaign against teachers and our schools, but I'd like to share what I think is some good news that is relevant to your point.

          We wanted to give our 7th graders an additional 6 week class in science, and we decided that we make it a physical science course about energy since we thought THAT will be one of the the major challenge they will be facing.

          For the last two years, I've taught the class to over 800 students.  My students understand the energy cycle and energy in all its forms.  We do a research project on all the fossil fuel reserves in the world verses consumption, and they reach the conclusion that we must shift to using renewables.  We study the renewable energy possibilities, and we watch an Inconvenient Truth.  

          Our goal is to give our students a good foundation, so they will be better prepared to participate in this crucial discussion.

          Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

          by bkamr on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:36:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You are right, the pitchfork crowd is wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burlydee

      The likelihood that oil and gas exploration companies that already have tens of thousands of these leases that they are not exploiting are now going to go crazy (and spend significant money) and drill baby drill because Obama gave them more licenses is slim to none except in the minds of the Obama haters.

      Plus, these licenses do not give them the right to drill for production just exploration, which they aren't doing with the other thousands of such licenses they have. If they actually find something thru exploration, they have to then get the right to drill from the government.

      Its a political move, give up nothing get rid of a talking point just before the summer driving season. Not too complicated, no 4 dimensional chess, hell this isn't even chess, more like Shoots and Ladders or Candyland.

      •  Likelihood: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Turkana

        What's the likelihood that the price of petroleum increases in the near future?

        What's the likelihood that the oil companies will find it profitable to drill in what were once unprofitable locations in the near future?

        What's the likelihood that by lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling, this administration has opened the door for future administrations to take advantage?

        Your argument depends on a couple things: the price of oil being static (it is not) and the political climate never changing (it most certainly will). Other than that, your grammar and syntax are ok. C-

      •  Obama's game (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mochajava13, bkamr

        I'm glad to see someone suggest a different game to explain the President's actions. I was getting pretty tired of multidimensional chess. I think it's Chutes and Ladders, though, not Shoots and Ladders. Were you thinking, he shoots, he scores, maybe? Basketball is one of his games, surely. And I'm pretty sure he's playing the banker in a game of Monopoly while the nation is losing a round of Careers. I'm not really as cynical as that sounds, though: at least this President, unlike the last one, has got a Clue.

        You don't have to live in a fantasy world to write science fiction, although it seems to work for Orson Scott Card.

        by mswaine on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Egler rips off Haldane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    The Egler quote (from 1977) is a rather clear paraphrase (or plagiarism) of a well known quote by J.B.S. Haldane (in 1927).

    Haldane:
    Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

    Eddington ripoff:
    The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

    Source here.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll stand for anything.

    by Keith Pickering on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:30:23 AM PDT

    •  OK but.. (0+ / 0-)
      since queer has been given a negative connotation in our society I can see why the change. (I'm not saying being gay is negative, I'm saying referring to something as gay or queer usually is taken as a slur on gays which is inappropriate.)

      We're all one heartbeat away from Forever. kasandra.us

      by KS Rose on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:51:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Queer is a proud label of choice for many!

        There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

        by srkp23 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:20:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, (0+ / 0-)

          But Holocaust refugee Stoppard recognized that while some may live in a near existential void, the world around them does not.

          ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

          by Seldom Seen on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:47:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I Agree To The Extent That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    350 or death

    Decreasing our dependence on foreign oil is not any sort of an end-all be-all solution.  And I agree that in and of itself it is not a significant piece of fixing the actual problem.

    But I also know that if we did decrease our dependence on foreign oil, we would free up more money to do what needs to be done.

    Because ultimately this isn't about oil and drilling.  It's about money and sacrifice.  The transportation infrastructure do not currently exist to make the oil addiction disappear, and we don't have the money to pay for either of them either.  This administration is breaking records on alternative energy spending, mass transit grants, etc.  But it's not enough.  If it's ever going to be enough, the money has to come from somewhere.

    I suppose I'm an apologist, but this is what I have always believed... with or without Barack Obama.  Before I had heard his name.  We know the cost of changing nothing: It's extinction.  We also know people don't care about the long term prospects of extinction nearly as much as they care about money, convenience, and pleasure.  So to save this world from itself, we're going to have to pay for it, we're going to have to make it as easy as possible, and in some instances we're even going to have to make people enjoy it.

    Man it sucks that we're up against that.  It seems completely impossible.

    But we are.

    We just are.

  •  Again, it's obviously about the almighty dollar, (6+ / 0-)

    Protect the wealth of those who brung ya to the dance.  Somehow I don't think those advocating for drilling are doing it for humanitarian reasons.  

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:32:07 AM PDT

  •  talk about a "ticking time bomb" (8+ / 0-)

    this be it.

    excellent piece, turkana.

    Weird heroes and mold-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of "the rat race" is not yet final...." ~HST

    by Lady Libertine on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:32:14 AM PDT

  •  Hey, but it's really good politics .... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, Turkana, codairem, JesseCW, jethrock

    isn't it?  I mean if Obama can use his mini drill-baby-drill proposal to nail the Republicans, then so what if it's bad for the environment.  He gets to score a few points.  Right?

    Or at least that's how some folks justify his abject failure to defend the environment.  Negotiate down in advance - just like health care reform - except this time you're negotiating away the earth, not just the American people's right to health insurance.  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:32:15 AM PDT

  •  What if... (6+ / 0-)

    What if we wake up one day and realize that the environmental threat is a predictable consequence of our industrial growth?

    What if propping up multinational corporations endangers the climate of the entire world?

    What if someday it dawns on us that coastal pollution of China is a butterfly wing directing the gulf stream over the USA?

    What if we finally decide that pollution, even if called "cost of doing business," is self-destructive and produces no useful commerce – and that dumping on a third world nation is just as evil?

    What if it is finally realized that pollution and climate change is always destructive to the economy?

    What if all corporate spending is paid for through the deceitful and evil process of passing the economic costs of industrialization on to future generations?

    What if we finally see that poor environmental conditions always undermine personal liberty for quality of health?

    What if the American people woke up and understood that the official reasons for environmental disasters are almost always based on lies and promoted by bottom line of corporations in order to serve special interests of their shareholders?

    What if we as a nation came to realize that the quest for prosperity begins with a clean land, from sea to shining sea?

    What if Obama has no intention of fighting climate change?

    What if the American people learn the truth: that our environmental policy has nothing to do with national general welfare and that it never changes from one administration to the next?

    What if climate change deniers and EPA deregulation is a racket serving the special interests?

    What if Christianity actually teaches to be caretakers of the land and not destruction of the earth for corporate gain?

    What happens if my concerns are completely unfounded – nothing!

    What happens if my concerns are justified and ignored – nothing good!

  •  Great Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, jethrock, 350 or death

    The sustance matters.  Process is not everything....

  •  My right-wing father (8+ / 0-)

    who is becoming more and more like SNL's "Grumpy Old Man" the older he gets, is essentially the type that Obama seems to think he is "reaching out across the aisle to" with this plan.  But Dad says, "He's still pandering to Nancy Pelosi and not drilling off California!"

    BTW, with regard to this "we need him" this and "we need him" that which you recite about Obama.  No we don't.  We are free people, full and equal citizens.  We can choose the path of laziness and irresponsibility and abdicate our roles, duties and privileges to holders of office.  But when we abdicate our responsibilities as citizens, we have no claim to assert our rights when the holders of high office harness the yoke of tyranny around our necks.

    We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Poitier

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:39:38 AM PDT

  •  Pres Carter valued symbolism over substance too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jlukes, drache
    I was but a highschooler then, but even as a youngster I was aware of President Carter's numerous, continuous fully-sincere efforts to use the bully pulpit to publicise any number of symbolic acts.

    His administration was beaten purple, methphocically speaking, in the brutal world of national.international politics.  I mean, he was just flat-out ineffective.

    This oil announcement is Not Much in real terms. If alternate technologies advance rapidly, these leases will probably never see a drill.  If they do not advance, the drilling will take place regardless of who is POTUS.

    And no, the "symbolism" of tuis announcement is not going to to alter the pace of technological development either up or down.  Reference the Carter Adminstration.  The Obama Administration is already proving orders of magnitude more effective in their strategies.

    •  Caarter was ineffective (9+ / 0-)

      Except for galvanizing that whole peace between Israel and Egypt thingy.

      Except for standing up for women's health and reproductive rights

      Carter increased jobs year over year EVERY year he was President. While Reagan lost jobs.

      Sorry but you've bought the Right-wing myth that they have created about St. Ronnie while demonizing Carter.

      Baby's on fire And all the laughing boys are bitching, Waiting for photos, Oh the plot is so bewitching-- Brian Eno

      by jethrock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Baloney (6+ / 0-)

      Carter, and the context of the times, like gas lines and skyrocketing heating oil prices, engaged a significant portion of the country in looking for and implementing energy saving measures.

      Although I can find references to potential CO2-related problems as far back as the late 1960s, the first definitive study on CO2 in the atmosphere was completed in 1979, near the end of Carter's term, and the more definitive scientific foundation was established even later than that. Nobody at the time was dealing with problems whose existence was barely recognized.

      There was certainly pushback and criticism with respect to Carter's energy policies but IMO there were a lot more positive results that arose out of, in part, his initiatives.

      How is Obama engaging the country to come together to solve this problem? By his decision to allow more offshore drilling he's gone beyond symbolic failure to actually encouraging and perpetuating environmental damage. That's not a failure you can pin on Carter.

      For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

      by badger on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

        Missed points on DKos are about as rare as hydrogen nucleii on Jupiter but this one really takes the cake.  I "pinned" noting Obama did on Pres. Carter. I simply prefer a President who undertakes hard tasks over a President who goes to the symbolism well over and over again, hoping some good will come from the symbolic act. This is not interpertation. President Carter would appear on TV to publicise these acts of self-described symbolism

        In tems of hard numbers this announcement has added zero wells to the global total. It might never add one, ever. To allow oneself to get obsessed over this symbolic issue is to take one's eyes off the big picture.

  •  Respectfully disagree on some points. (4+ / 0-)

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but Obama's ability to lead, teach and orate are not able to sway the Republican politicians.

    He gave some amazingly eloquent speeches about HCR. No republicans voted for it, and some Democrats voted against it. He can sway us, sway voters. But Republicans make a career out of voting AGAINST the interests of their constituents while still maintaining their support.

    More needs to be done, clearly. Lifting the drilling ban is bad, clearly. I still believe it a necessary evil to secure votes from conservadems to move climate / environmental legislation forward.

    I wish such was not the case, I'd much rather goes full out instead of concessions and waffling, but I don't think the political climate would allow such a bill to pass. And any climate bill getting defeated would be a massive blow to the administration and would have a devastating effect on the midterm elections.

    Obama is held to higher scrutiny and a much higher standard than any past president, and he gets such little help from the Democrats that it's pathetic.

    After the victory on HCR (small though it is, imperfect though the bill is), he should definitely be more confident and more forceful, but not to the level that I see most people asking for on this site.

    I wish it were otherwise, but I just don't believe it is.

    •  This comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheBlaz, Eric Nelson

      is the most useful way to discuss this issue.  Respectfully.  

      Thanks.  You make some excellent points.  

      My own feeling, and I emphasize "feeling" because I recognize that there is much in the realm of possible politics that I don't know, my feeling is that the president, whom I support and respect,  needs to do more to educate the American people about the climate crisis and how we need to take the long view here.  

      Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

      by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:28:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good comment (0+ / 0-)

      but disagree.  I think that Obama is shooting himself in the foot by trying to be bi-partisan.  Obama's trying to open minded, and willing to shift his positions in order to negotiate a final deal.  Unfortunately, he starts his PR messages with a shift in position, which makes him appear as if he has few firm positions that he will actually try to take a stand on.  Obama is losing supporters because he seems to care far more about Republican votes than he does about representing liberal ideals.  

      Opening up off shore drilling is not something that was necessary, politically.  Just like with single payer, he could have started negotiations with a much stronger position.  He's already given a concession without being asked to do so.  

  •  It's Not Dithering, It's Sensible Moderation (7+ / 0-)

    Besides, humanity isn't threatened, only civilization is.

    A leadership that's been wargaming survival of global nuclear war will easily survive indefinite climate change.

    In a nation with two rightwing parties, reality has a looney leftist bias.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:41:57 AM PDT

  •  Eloquent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, ActivistGuy

    But slightly disagree.  With peak oil, securing our energy supply is not trivial.  Especially since dealing with most of the effects of climate change are going to require more energy, not less.  And the solutions to both, along with fixing the economy, happen to be the same thing.

    Unfortunately for us, the ultimate difference between doing nothing, the Repub way, and penny-ante stuff, the Dem way, isn't going to be noticeable ten years from now.

  •  Obama has made better educated calculations than (5+ / 0-)

    most of us.  

    The information set he has is the best.    

    He played chess with Bubba and wife and won.  

    Obama is  fully conscious.

    Why then is he acting so stupidly?

    •  He's trained as a lawyer (3+ / 0-)

      If he had better scientific training he would see the scope and urgency of the problem.

      He doesn't.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:07:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He got a good math/science grounding at Punahou (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Turkana, FishOutofWater

        I'm sure he has a good enough grasp of the problems.  Besides, his science advisors are top notch.  

        The defining issue is how he sees th endgame playing out.   He is playing the hand he is dealt, taking few chances, using risk analysis as any good businessman would do.  Not a lot of creativity or risk taking in his strateegeree.

        It may not be enough.  There may be a need for creative risk taking.  There may be a need for a giant paradigm shift.  

        I think that is what is needed.  But, I sit here in my jammies, the most pressing activity today is washing the dog, and Obama's schedule is just a little different.
        So for the meantime he has my dubious support and growling objections.  

        We will see.

      •  Repectfully disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Turkana

        I think he's got the scope and the urgency of the problem.  The problem is that he is a politician, with a lot on his plate, and he will be up for re-election before the climate crisis hits.  He had to stabilize the economy (ok, really, stabilize the banks and slow down the crash), deal with two wars, and decided to tackle health care before the environment.  I think his priorities are screwed up, and he should have dealt with the environment first, but oh, well.

  •  Our very way of life is in danger, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, keeplaughing, Eric Nelson

    if we don't get more oil.
    Hmmm.

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:47:00 AM PDT

    •  Brilliantly stated. What we need (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, BigAlinWashSt, Eric Nelson

      of course is to discard our gluttonous way of life for something more sustainable.

      But how do you deliver that message without alienating about 80% of voters?  What good would it do us to hand over all political power to climate deniers, which is what would result?

      I have no answers, save to pressure the one person I know for sure is smarter than I am.  Obama.

      Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

      by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:31:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Logged in so I could rec (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, StepLeftStepForward

    Your best I've ever read, and that's saying something.

    "We have met the enemy, and he is not us."

    by 2laneIA on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:50:18 AM PDT

  •  this is why environmentalism is not a niche issue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, mochajava13, aliasalias, JesseCW

    as has been implied by some of this site...it's integral to democratic strategy. the oil drilling decision clearly undermines democrats for november. It deflates the base, will never please the sociopaths on the right, and independents knew that it wouldn't really lower the price of gas anyway.

    the thing about the environment is that when it goes sour, everybody notices because everybody lives in it. You can't just pretend it doesn't exist like some impoverished girl who needs an abortion because of her abusive boyfriend. It was 80 degrees in Minneapolis yesterday, april 1st. Should have been 49.  One day doesn't prove a rule, but boy, has it gotten people's attention around here - that and the first snow-free March in 130 years.

    •  Record breaking climate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      is getting people's attention.  Problem is that not everyone is connecting it to global warming.  Rhode Island just had the worst flooding in 200 years, and we got swamped in Mass.  This winter, in New England anyways, was fairly mild.  

  •  All of this is true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, Turkana, JesseCW

    President Obama has rare and unique political skills. The man can flat out lead. He can teach. He can convince. He can use both intellect and charisma to move people's minds, hearts, and souls. We desperately need him to be using those skills to do the job the Bush Administration abdicated. He is immensely popular, in much of the world, and he can, if he chooses, lead the world. We desperately need his leadership on climate change. The world desperately needs his leadership. We need him to explain that we must move beyond fossil fuels as expeditiously as is possible. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Manhattan Project urgency. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Marshall Plan intensity.

    But it has become clear that he has decided to use all of his gifts and skills for another purpose entirely.  He has decided to appease and pacify and to give people a false sense of security.

    He has decided that getting elected and making history was his true goal and that all of the things he campaigned on are not so important after all.

    He has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the left.

    Unless he comes to his senses pretty soon (and I'm not sure he ever had the kind of senses we thought he had) we are going to need to find another leader who is able and willing and has the courage to do what has to be done.  Frankly, I'm not even sure if that leader is going to come from this country since I'm not sure our system will allow it right now.  And even if such a leader might rise up, I'm not sure the people will be willing to trust again so soon after being betrayed and lied to.

    But, in the meantime, yes, we have to do everything we can to urge him to stand up and lead.  While there is still a chance of it, and however much he might brush off the left, we have to keep trying.  This is something that I wish our so called allies on the left would realize.  Enabling and rationalizing only makes things worse.

  •  Then we're doomed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, zenox

    If this is true ...

    This is a moment in our collective history when we must say "yes" to courage and sacrifice and paradigmatic change. Somehow, we are missing it. There will be no next time.

    ... we're doomed. Americans, and even less Chinese and Indians, simply will not make that decision in 2010.

  •  I have always felt that... (4+ / 0-)

    ...this president would be either a ground-breaker like FDR, or a Gorbachev, able to competently manage the long decay.

    Obama is definitely a Gorbachev.

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:59:06 AM PDT

  •  Really well turned, T. Thanks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:59:39 AM PDT

  •  yes, nature, and the cosmos, are more complex (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    than our 'human' brain can comprehend, perhaps because we ate from the tree of knowledge, and missed the tree of wisdom.  heh heh heh

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:04:30 AM PDT

  •  Most excellent Turkana. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, Turkana

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Save the Internet!

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:06:38 AM PDT

  •  Give specifics! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    Part of the problem is that there appears to be little to no information for a person to get which explains what is going to happen in their particular life. Statements of extinction level climate changes just don't do it. If it is as bad as is claimed, then people need to see something like this:

    1. All your light bulbs need to be changed to CFL's by Dec 31st 2010. Inspectors will enter your premises by Jan 31st 2011 to assure compliance. Failure to change your bilbs will result in fines and or jail time.
    1. If you have more than one Internal Combustion powered vehicle, you must deliver all vehicles over one to designated collection yards by June 30th 2011. Failure to do so will result in forcible confiscation, fines and or jail time.
    1. Your monthly electric consumption must be cut by 20% by Sep 15th 2011. Failure to do so will result in fines and or jail time.

    And so on. You get the idea. Until the reality of individual sacrifice is made clear, it is just a game.

    •  put a means test on #2, give a 100% tax credit (0+ / 0-)

      for energy re-fit for homes with homeowners whose income falls below X on #3 and I would support this admittedly draconian measure

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:54:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly the wrong approach (0+ / 0-)

      Coercive approaches that make one's everyday life difficult (owning cars, for instance) generate opposition from people whose self-interest, however vain, is threatened.  And such people tend to rationalize their self-interest via selective use of facts -- i.e., denialism.  And they vote.  What you propose might work in North Korea or even China, but has no realistic place at the table in the United States.

      The practical approach has to recognize and align interests.  Higher CAFE standards for cars (announced this week) are one small step.  Higher taxes on energy, including carbon taxes, are really needed, though "cap and trade" is a sort of wimply approach to hide them.  Such taxes would give an economic incentive to do the right thing, and the revenue could be offset via lower personal income taxes (at the low end of the scale -- raise the personal deduction, so almost everyone benefits).

  •  The problem, as I see it is exemplified... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    ...by something I heard a colleague say:

    "I don't give a shit what happens after I'm dead."

    Of course, if we wait until after this piece human waste is dead, it will be too late.

  •  nice diary. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    God is good. If it isn't good. It isn't God.

    by publicv on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:11:18 AM PDT

  •  Yes, it is clear (0+ / 0-)

    It is not clear that we, as a species, can survive the consequences of climate change.

    Climate change is serious, but please read the actual research...

    The science doesn't say this.

  •  I feel your pain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    But I have become a hopeless pessimist on climate change. I never expected anything meaningful to be done, so I'm not really disappointed because to me disappointment implies some surprise as well.

  •  The last thing in the world the government wants (6+ / 0-)

    is for us to realize that our way of life is based on non-renewable resources and western civilization will be coming to an end and another way of life will have to be developed whether we like it or not.  But Wall Street will keep that quiet for as long as there is a drop of oil or a lump of coal because the oligarchs still expect to come out on top. I don't think they will, but that is why there is hardly a blip in our governance as we face the last few decades of massive oil use.   It really think this is what the war on terror is about, getting things in place to control the then rioting, starving population in the USA.

    2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

    by Silverbird on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:13:29 AM PDT

    •  Bingo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, Turkana

      You are, in my estimation, correct. It is all about elites and their ultimate comfort and maintenance. They can and will retreat into private security guarded bunker-compounds when everything hits the fan. In the meantime, they will do all in their power to soak up every last scrap of stray wealth they can get their hands on.

      I believe it quite possible there is a class of eugenicists in the elites that has always been fascinated by breeding the ultimate superman and they were quite open about it pre-WW2. Since Hitler gave such thinking a black eye they've had to go underground with it but that doesn't mean they don't relish doing exactly this (breeding the "superman") and the approaching mega catastrophes may provide the great die off of "surplus" populations they require to implement the great plan.

      Wild and murderous thinking is nothing new amongst Plutocrats. Hell, I may very well be underestimating what they're planning.

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:43:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    This diary is not only beautifully written, but is also poetic in a tragic sense.  I agree with many others here that this might just be your best diary ever and that is saying a lot because your diaries are all outstanding.

    Your points are so on target.  I fear that President Obama has tragically missed a major turning point the battle against climate change in exchange for political expediency.

    I posted on another diary earlier today that the only way we will ever wean ourselves off heavy dependency upon fossil fuels will be when we are forced to. This could have been at the least a symbolic beginning of that change.  It was my hope that the Obama Administration would show leadership in this area.  Yesterday was terribly disappointing and may mark a tragically lost opportunity.

    Thank you again for such a beautifully written diary!  Heartily tipped and recommended!

    "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:16:12 AM PDT

  •  Best DKos Diary Ever. Most important one, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    The coda from Guildenstern is just so darn appropriate. Bravo.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:18:02 AM PDT

  •  6 billion people and all of us hungry-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, DeepLooker

    especially those in the "developing" nations that want a share in the good life we've enjoyed so richly in this country for the last hundred years at the expense of the rest of the planet. It scares me to think of all those bodies crammed onto a world heaving with exhaustion. The seas, dying, the deserts, growing. The recent whirlwind of sand in China was just one instance of the alarming encroachment of humanity into what was once green and good.

    "I should have been a pair of ragged claws.." T.S. Eliot

    by collardgreens on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:19:20 AM PDT

  •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, mochajava13
    I don't support the drilling plan.

    That said, pressure must be applied while not shirking our duty (yes, duty) to support and vote for Dem members of the House in 2010.

    Why? Because this is probably the 1st time in US history where the minority party is so crazed and dangerous that their taking of the House of Representatives WILL, not "may", but WILL result in the impeachment of the President.

    I think any Liberal or Progressive, whether of the FDL or Kos strata has to admit that the GOP will impeach Obama over anything, no matter how irresponsible.

    If you want change, appreciate and contemplate how much better things will be with Obama being tried in the Senate over bowing to a Saudi, the Stimulus bill, or something else absurd.

    Vote, and work for change.

    "Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner"

    by Darnell From LA on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:20:44 AM PDT

    •  They're just filthy hypocrites enough to do it (0+ / 0-)

      So much for all the screams and wails about how any attempt to impeach Bush the Dumber would just be "political payback" for impeaching Clinton.

      They need to be whacked over the head with their own hypocrisy until they admit it.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:34:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They may impeach him (0+ / 0-)

      but there is NO basis for any trial to actually go through.  The need charges and a trial.  The impeachment trial will need to go to the Supreme Court.   As much as I dislike this Court, I don't see them voting to impeach him.   While there are some things that Obama's done that may qualify for charges, they are all things that were done under Bush, and that would open a can of worms.  Not to mention start a nationwide race riot.  LA burned because of the Rodney King trial, do you really think cities won't go up in arms if Obama is impeached?

  •  I saw a car with a No-Offshore Oil Drilling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, DeepLooker

    bumper sticker on it yesterday.

    Americans have no clue how their own behavior is connected to the destruction of the climate.

    If you are against oil-drilling, sell your car and get a bike.

    Irony deficiency is a major problem in the USA.

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:21:21 AM PDT

    •  Irony deficiency is also a problem in this diary (0+ / 0-)

      The writer says:

      Nature is not only more complex than we think. It is more complex than we can think.

      And at teh same time the writer says:

      There will be no next time.

      FAIL.

    •  How do I take my elderly mother (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soccergrandmom, DeepLooker

      to her doctor appointments on a bike?  How do I get to work when there is no mass transit to get me there and it is too far to bike?  How do parents haul their children around with a bike?

      Does this mean that I have no right to be against off-shore drilling?  That's ridiculous.  I use electricity but that doesn't mean I have no right to be opposed to coal powered plants and mountaintop destruction for cheap coal.

      I suppport mass transit, I support higher taxes on gasoline.  I support higher fuel standard mandates.  I support tax payer funded research into alternative fuels, etc.

      In the meantime, I have to drive and there is no irony deficiency in that.

      Many Americans do realize how their behavior is connected to the destruction of the planet and are doing what they can.

      Making ridiculous either/or pronouncements and ridiculing people does nothing to further the cause of environmentalism or the prospects of the Democratic Party as it just angers people and runs them off.  

      •  Car dependency is a national problem (0+ / 0-)

        And it is direcly tied to our obesity epidemic as well.

        I'm sorry you live someplace not well-served by transit. And thanks for your advocacy. For rural areas, cars may always be a necessity. And cars may always be needed for handicapped people.

        But for most urban dwellers, we have choices.
        To see a car with a "No-Offshore Drilling" bumper sticker parked directly above an underground regional transit hub, struck me as just slightly clueless.

        "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

        by greendem on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:07:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  For some reason I think back to the response (0+ / 0-)

    JFK gave in a press conference to one of those "what are you doing about...?" questions and he replied, "well, clearly, not nearly enough." The press laughed at the President's wry smile.

    But I think that's the problem. There is no consensus, even if the President were to pull out all the stops and exert all of his abilities, to undertake more than token efforts. We act like this is 1970 and we still have decades of slow action that will solve the problem. I do not see the backing in the country for the action needed.

    And I wonder if that is what is behind the President's recent announcement to allow more oil and gas exploration. If he is going to shift the consensus from a mixture of fatalism (me) and outright denial (a big plurality) to one where action is seen to be necessary and urgent, then starting off by disarming his opponents as much as possible may be a good place to start.

    •  I believe strongly that the decision last (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anne Elk

      week was multi-layered and very political.  One of the most important consequences has been to immediatly SHIFT the focus of debate to the need for alternative energy, which many people prefer to put on the back burner until the recession is over and things get better.

      people should spend more time listening to what the President is actually saying about his decisions and less in what the pundits are saying he is saying or what he means and what the blog swarms think or feel in their emotional responses.

      Part, maybe the key part of any President's leadership responsibilities are to persuade the electorate to re-think their entrenched and selfish positions to re-focus on the greater good for all mankind, not just their own backyards and personal pocket book issues.

    •  How did he disarm his opponents? (5+ / 0-)

      He's implementing their policies.

      •  May I point out (0+ / 0-)

        that, even if the most radical environmental policy imaginable were enacted today, demand for gas would still increase in the USA for quite a while. Do you want to get rid of coal-fired plants? I think probably you do. Then increased natural gas is one component of a transitional plan. Zero sum thinking gets you precisely nothing.  

        •  That has nothing to do (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme, snstara, Turkana

          with the question I asked.  I'm not a zero sum thinker.  I can reason and compromise and I understand nuance quite well.

          Back to the question:

          How did he disarm his opponents?

          He's implementing their policies.

          •  He has disarmed his opponents (0+ / 0-)

            by appearing - appearing - to adopt their drilling policies. But let me point out the nuance here. Approving exploration doesn't create a single oil well. In fact, as many people have observed, even the existing leases have not been exploited. The President has taken careful aim at a GOP balloon and shot it down. I think he was up to his usual skill level by depriving them of a fake issue that even they know is beside the point. But perhaps that's just too subtle a maneuver for some on the left to handle.

  •  Turkana, great job. Action call? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snstara, Turkana

    Some of my favs, have letters suggestions and other actions:

    http://www.greenpeace.org/...

    http://www.nrdc.org/...

    http://wildearthguardians.org/

    www.dailykos.com/.../-Green-Diary-RescueOpen-Thread

    www.yesweSTILLcan.org

    by divineorder on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:23:02 AM PDT

  •  In an infinite universe there's always another (0+ / 0-)

    next time right around the corner.

    Krusty the Klown Brand Irate Emoticons (tm) So You Can Express the Hate You Didn't Know You Had!

    by brentbent on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:23:10 AM PDT

  •  more complex then you can think, but you know for (0+ / 0-)

    certain there is no next time?  Quite the contradiction.

  •  I m not sanguine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Turkana, mochajava13

    about how this is going to end. It may be that we are helpless to stop this onrushing calamity in the face of our own inborn human nature, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try.

    We don't yet know what we might be able to achieve if we do try. We know where we'll end up if we don't: Easter Island.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:26:29 AM PDT

  •  In World War II we spent huge sums and (5+ / 0-)

    restructured the economy during the war to combat the huge threat we faced. Now that we face a threat far greater than Hitler, almost nothing is being done. We have to treat climate change like a war.

    •  Hey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, Michael91

      Wait a second there, bub. What you suggest might just cost our Plutocrat class some money if their Oil Co. stocks tank because of you do-gooders!

      Jesus H. Christ! Get with the program and deal with what our real priorities are!

      We have the bestest Plutocrats in the whole wide world, God bless 'em. Let's not cause them any apprehension, ok?

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:32:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the world will not pay attention until casualties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Michael91

      on the scale of WW2 become the daily body count.

      •  I'm afraid so (0+ / 0-)

        But we should be doing everything we can to change public perception, and saying that more drilling is fine doesn't help. I hope you're wrong.

        •  having seen first hand how little attention (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fhcec, burlydee

          America and the world paid to the rise of Hitler in the 1930's I am cynical enough to believe I am nto wrong. I am optimistic though about the human need to survive and endless creativity to believe that we shall adapt.

          I also know that America cannot return to the excesses of the past but whether or not she can control the burgeoning growth of other nations remains to be seen.

          I guess I subscribe to the Gaia theory of self regulation and feel that the planet will deal with the problem for humanity, probably by making us extinct. Might not be the worst thing that can happen.

          As I type I am listening to President Obama on CSPAN addressing all these problems and get really pissed off when people don't listen to what he says and get their direction from emotional responses to the sky is falling . It may be falling, and he is doing a terrific job of trying to make us listen. Too bad so many are still only talking to themselves.

          I am becoming more and more disenchanted with blog debate I am afraid.

          •  I too grow weary of counterproductive rants... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soccergrandmom, zenox

            If we invested half the time we spend here in strategizing about how to change, and the other half away from the computer organizing, we might have a chance to make such huge changes.

            However, cash is so much more fungible than time. Thanks to SCOTUS,  corporations with the most cash have more than their thumbs on the scale of public opinion.

            Critique without realistic alternatives is spitting into the wind.

    •  taxes to redirect spending (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      Denmark has something close to a 100% tax on the price of automobiles. Government uses the tax money to support the transition to biomass, wind and solar power generation and away from fossil fuels.

      One Danish island's residents got together and invested in wind and were off the grid within 10 years. Those with cars had very small plug ins, most rode bikes in an extremely windy and rainy environment.

      Where else would the capital for this transition come from? Can you imagine a majority in either house approving such a change? Can you imagine corporations in this country making those investments?

      What's the strategic path from here (fossil fuel dependent) to there (powered fully by renewables)? In the real world of US politics, that is, where President Obama encountered a seditious conspiracy campaigning blatantly for his Waterloo over relatively minor health sector reforms (even tho' the victory was a BFD)?

  •  now this is what a diary should look like n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, Turkana, keeplaughing

    New improved bipartisanship! Now comes in a convenient suppository!!! -unbozo

    by Unbozo on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:33:43 AM PDT

  •  People (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, keeplaughing

    A couple of thoughts:

    a) Unfortunately people as a whole rarely undertake "selfish" actions for any length of time, so asking people to change their behavior is all but pointless. The real key is providing them with a more attractive alternative - not an easy task by any stretch - that they then take on as their own new behavior.

    Environmentally this is really tough. It is a bit like finding a more attractive thing to tempt people at an all you eat ice cream bar.

    b) 12,000 years ago there was about a mile of ice on top of my house (or at least where I live now). We forget that we live in one of the most benign climatic periods in the world's history, yet we have expanded to sue almost every corner. Any change, whether man made or not is going to cause a mess - as we have left no margin for safety, no cushion to absorb any adversity.

    We really need to get population under control - NOW. All this pussy footing around is making a darker tomorrow even more likely. We need to aim for zero population growth and then maybe a long term number around 1-2 billion (tops). Without population control any attempt to reduce green house gasses is just pissing on a forest fire.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:34:40 AM PDT

    •  America does not exist in isolation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      keeplaughing

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      Currently America produces 2% of the worlds oil and uses 20%. If only one third of China's growing population start to drive a car, hybrid or not, she will leave America in the dust. India, China and all developing nations need for oil is growing exponentially with their population.

      Drill baby drill is the least of the problem.  This is  a planetary problem and Americas entire elecotrate needs to start undertsanding it.

      •  Yet China is the only country with a (0+ / 0-)

        pro-active population control model in place.  The rest of us do nothing except bash China for their efforts, screaming about "freedom to".  The heck with the rights of the rest of us to be "free from" the selfish decisions of previous generations.  

        I shudder every time I see these young pregnant christian girls come into my store, with their 8 other kids in tow.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  Spend a day in the vitamin dept of your local health food store, and you'll see them.  They don't have health care, so they come to us.  They start churning out babies at age 15 or so, because birth control is un-christian.  It makes us all sick.

        Seldom do we see any alternatives to the Chinese system offered.  

        Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

        by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:21:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  fewer and fewer bikes in china (0+ / 0-)

        every trip I see more cars and motorbikes

    •  Agree that it must be permissible to discuss (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taonow, keeplaughing

      population! This is one of the bad decisions made during the 80s and 90s, that it was politically incorrect to openly discuss the population piece.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of your finest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    pieces of writing I have read.

    Thanks.

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing!

    by LaughingPlanet on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:36:56 AM PDT

  •  The time is now for all of us to act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    We need better leadership. But we also need to take our own responsibility. I outline an action we all can take to remake American energy infrastructure in Going Beyond Earth Hour. Alone it isn't enough, but it is necessary. I go further. I have no car (it's easy in NYC) and offset carbon use beyond my usage to be, in theory, carbon negative. But the bare minimum we need to do is to select green energy options on our energy bills.

  •  Good question just now to Obama in NC, at (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snstara, Turkana, keeplaughing

    a lithium ion battery manufacturing company, about his offshore drilling announcement yesterday. Questioner from the audience asks why, because won't it syphon off investment in renewable tech? (followed by another good question, what will it take to get more hybrids than gas only vehicles on the road?)

    President seems a bit defensive about his pro nuclear, yes to offshore drilling stance.

    Environmentalists who support this President and worked very hard to get him elected should continue to push back on these questionable decisions while applauding the good ones.

    We have the right and the responsibility to do this!

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:42:21 AM PDT

  •  Obama as community organizer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, mochajava13, Catskill Julie

    President Obama has rare and unique political skills. The man can flat out lead. He can teach. He can convince. He can use both intellect and charisma to move people's minds, hearts, and souls.

    He has the skills, yet doesn't use them until the very end, as we saw with HRC. He is still the community organizer seeking consensus among stake holders so that each leaves partially satisfied. This isn't the leadership skill we need now as the glaciers melt. He knows the issues, yet still aims to split the difference.

    We desperately need him to be using those skills to do the job the Bush Administration abdicated. He is immensely popular, in much of the world, and he can, if he chooses, lead the world.

    Obama has the wrong leadership model. Instead of community organizer, he should look at the football coach model. He should be watching Remember the Titans, not Any Given Sunday.

    Elizabeth Warren: My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.

    by mrobinson on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:44:53 AM PDT

  •  My heart sings to see this (4+ / 0-)

    when the cloud cover clears and the "mountain is out." Now that the glaciers everywhere are melting, I see a gleaming white mountain that I may never see again when the glaciers leave and Mt. Rainier looks like Mt. St. Helens after the the eruption left it a black shadow on the horizon.

    Elizabeth Warren: My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.

    by mrobinson on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:54:14 AM PDT

  •  How much are we willing to pay...? (5+ / 0-)

    This also gives tacit approval to these rapists to continue business as usual. Disgust is an understatement...

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Ch

    by PrometheusUnbound on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:55:53 AM PDT

  •  and if nothing gets done make sure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, OhioNatureMom

    you live at least 250+ feet above current sea level.

  •  This diary represents exactly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Turkana

    the right approach for pressuring elected officials to work harder at finding ways to incorporate higher principles into policies that must also respond to political realities.  

    The political reality is that we all want gas and we don't want to pay more for it and most Americans(ignorant, unfortunately) think that opening areas for oil exploration will result in lower gas prices.  

    The higher principle is avoiding the death of our planet.  Oil exploration works against that principle in soooo many ways, too numerous to list.

    The trick for Obama is to somehow connect the dots between a lowering of day-to-day transportation costs for consumers and preserving the life-supporting qualities of our planet, and to do it in such a way that it gets into the lame media unfiltered.  No small feat, but we must pressure him to do it.  If anyone can, it's Obama.    

    Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

    by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:58:56 AM PDT

  •  This is the conversation (12+ / 0-)

    that we should be having on the front page above all others. This one in the comments about how we're going to change the conversation and get people moving forward at this moment, it's the only moment we have, regardless of those that may or may not come in the future.

    This is the conversation we should be having as a nation, at the watercooler, on the teevee, over the fence. Not "is Obama good or not?" Not "is his offshore oil drilling gambit smart or dumb?"

    And we need to be doing far more than that: Action and sacrifice are decades overdue.

    But how are we going to get everyone talking about this and acting in some dramatic ways even if Obama does fail to seize the moment? We should expect that to happen. Failure is likely. I'd still rather go down swinging than look my sons in the eyes at the end of my life and say "Here ya go, I had fun. It's not as fun now, but get what you can out of it."

    I'd rather not be viewed during my brief posterity as just another spectator in the coliseum.

    (-8.38, -8.00) Did I make my savings throw?

    by hyperstation on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 09:59:23 AM PDT

  •  What do we need to sacrifice? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keeplaughing, greengemini

    I really don't know.

    We didn't say Wealth Care, we said Health Care.

    by relentless on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:02:46 AM PDT

    •  This is an excellent question - and the answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, 350 or death

      might well be that we have to accept paying more for our cars and other energy needs in the short term, in order to reap cost and ecological benefits in the long run.  

      Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

      by keeplaughing on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:09:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh ok (0+ / 0-)

        You mean get more fuel efficient cars.  

        We reinsulated here and there in our house and found that there were two registers that were vented from the fireplace that were allowing cold air in the winter and hot in the summer.  It wasn't noticible until we quit using our fireplace.  Then it showed up because of icy cold air.

        We went from using a vented fireplace where we burned wood to a pellet stove. That is bound to be better ecologically than heating with wood, but I wonder where pellet stoves stand as far as hurting the earth?  

        Our electrical reading is about $95 this past month for an all electrical house.  Something is working.

        We didn't say Wealth Care, we said Health Care.

        by relentless on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:53:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was going to quarrel with "existential threat" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, mochajava13, greengemini

    on the basis that bad as things may become, I strongly doubt humans face extinction over this.

    But on second thought,  I've long argued that the real fear is the secondary and tertiary effects of a rapidly warmed climate - displacement of hundreds of millions who live less than two meters above sea level (myself included,) loss of fresh water resources, shifts in and probably overall decline of arable land - all of which will almost inevitably lead to resource wars.  

    So I've decided "existential threat" is not too shrill after all, if one thinks in terms of the extinction of society as we know it, not of the human species.

    Now other species is another story - we're in the midst of an historic extinction event already, and it's going to get worse.  It's amazing to me how little attention that fact gets.

    He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

    by jrooth on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:02:47 AM PDT

  •  Sharing a quotation from Stoppard (0+ / 0-)

    The truth is always a compound of two half- truths, and you never reach it, because there is always something more to say.

    Isn't this the fact? lol!! It is impossible to disagree with what you are saying here, Turkana, and yet...the following leaves lots of room for debate...

    Meeting our energy needs is relatively trivial. Liberating ourselves from foreign sources of oil is even more trivial. Creating some jobs in an obsolete industry is an almost embarrassing rationale. Attempting to score cheap political points with an unappeasable right wing would be laughable if it weren't so sad[All implied attacks on Obama].All of it misses the point. So does a tweak of fuel efficiency standards, when we should be doing everything humanly possible to break our addiction to that fuel.

    Really? How?

    Plus, I see nowehere in your diary explaining what YOU think should be done other than

    we must say "yes" to courage and sacrifice and paradigmatic change.

    ...and

    We need him to explain that we must move beyond fossil fuels as expeditiously as is possible. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Manhattan Project urgency. We need him to explain that this is a moment for Marshall Plan intensity

    .

    Again...how do you suppose Obama does that?

    In addition, if I didn't know that you are one of the most popular diarists here I would be wondering what's with all these "apocalyptic" Tea Party/Glenn Beck type code words sprinkled here and there?

    For example, starting with the title of your diary:

    "This Is The Moment. There Won't Be Another."

    "Waiting for Godot" (We all know what this one is about)

    "Doomed"

    "Anyone that pays attention to the science understands that humanity now faces an unprecedented, and possibly existential, threat" (Sorry but you know that's B.S.'Cause the earth went through umpteen climatical cycles of destruction, before)

    "migration of deadly diseases, massive extinctions and a host of other disasters certainly await."

    "Desperate people do desperate things. Desperate governments do desperate things. The world is brimming with all manner of deadly weaponry."

    "The world is in crisis, and its leaders are dithering. This is the basis for much of the outrage at President Obama's announcement about offshore oil drilling"

    (Er, copying Cheney here?)

    "the paradigm shift that is needed in our economy and our very way of life. (That following 9/11 is a bit strange)

    "this is a moment for Manhattan Project urgency"

    "this is a moment for Marshall Plan intensity" (Militias would like to hear this)

    "It cannot be justified as a political maneuver, because the politics demands the blunt truth." (a bit contradiction here? and since when the politics demanded teh blunt truth?)

    "It is not clear that we, as a species, can survive the consequences of climate change"

    "to address this impending crisis"

    "We don't have time to waste."

    "Execution"

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! The end is here and there will be no next time!!!!!

     title=

    What are you trying to accomplish with this diary, Turkana?

    Make us think, or go bonkers with fear and mistrust?

    Really.....

  •  Beautiful diary Turkana (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, Turkana

    probably the best I've read here. It is absurd to fight politically for victories that that only reinforces the myths that are destroying the earth. Our misplaced fears and obsession with trying to defeat the small % of flat earther's and pig ignorant through political action that is controlled by the real villains of the piece. We cede reality and call those that speak the truth the enemy of the good, as though it is inevitable that we must continue to feed the squid on humanities face. It's putting the cart before the horse, for it does not matter which brand D or R you buy they both are going to rot your teeth and tell you this is better then or good.

    People say that 'Americans are unable to handle it because of life styles or false beliefs. There is nothing we can do because the ignorant minority is not capable of grasping what is barreling down the road with 'fierce urgency' right now. I disagree with those that say people can not handle this. It's the institutions that profit from this who maintain via politics and information a gasp on the absurd  narrative of markets,  crisis capitalism and global dominance.

    It is an existential crisis and we are players when we support the very entities and the myths they create that we must accept their destruction. Or what? Their threats and bogeymen pale in comparison to the stark reality that they call economics or politically possible or worse the good. Godot will not come. We are the 'change' we are waiting for and we cannot believe the messengers they send out posing as the good and distracting us with winning or unity with the entities that are creating our demise. Teabagger's and terrorist's are the least of our problems and the absurdity of misplacing this much effort to empower a false reality is even more absurd. Meanwhile 'Drill Baby Drill' or else the oil companies or thew teabaggers will take control. What a con.                          

  •  so your alternative (8+ / 0-)

    to a political solution is what exactly? Do you really think that Obama can give another fine speech and explain to the coal and oil industries, and the massively mis-informed and ignorant American voters that we need to radically stop using oil and coal?

    I admire the spirit of your diary, especially the idea that nature is more complex than we can think. The same is true of reality. The truth is that the rest of the world is better educated than America on this issue, but, as you point out, the world is brimming with dangerous weapons and dangerous people, and dangerous culture. A Kumbaya moment is just not going to do it.

    What I admire about Obama, and especially on this issue, is that he is a consummate pragmatist. He understands what you, pardon me, no offence meant, do not. That courage and sacrifice and making a charismatic stand are not always enough. Sometimes Machiavelli is better than Ghandhi.

    In the case of our exploited planet, the situation is beyond a "teachable moment". Interests are entrenched, not just in the powerful corporate bodies, but in the very lives of every person living.

    Have you ever looked at a graph of population growth on the planet earth? It is quite sobering to realize that the massive expansion of human populations takes place in direct proportion to the rise of advanced production of food and distribution. Most of humanity, sadly, exists because of the oil and energy infrastructure.

    When you talk about a paradigm shift in energy production, understand that you are also talking about the sustenance of tens of millions of people. So, while I agree entirely that the habitability of planet earth is what is at stake, I also know that the price we might pay for saving the planet would be a cataclysm of human death of unprecedented scope.

    That is a reality that is unthinkable for not only a politician, but also for most people. So when we talk about this issue, we have to understand that we are playing a very, very dangerous game, and there are very few good options.

    The safest bet would be to cease the oil/coal economy in its tracks, and return to a sustainable agrarian culture immediately. The result would of course be massive death. The very rich would survive, and most likely become the new lords of a feudal system. Ironically, this vision, which is most likely to save our planet, is an ideal of the far right.

    The course we choose, and the one that Obama is clearly choosing, is a more measured, and more dangerous one. We have to assume that the planet can withstand our period of transition, and that education and information can transform our culture. That's the bet we're making. If it pays off, we might survive.

    This is the reality of the situation. I personally reject the kind of naive opinion that sacrifices a strategic, long term vision, for some kind of gratifying declaration of The Truth.

    Do you not remember Jimmy Carter's moment of truth? Carter decided to "do the right thing" and abruptly change course. The market punished him, and we went into a tailspin that provided us with Reagan->Bush->Bush, and took us ten steps back on this most important of issues.

    Now Obama has stepped forward with a real strategy, and the most clear intellectual message discipline on this subject that we have ever seen at this level of our political scene. Look for example at the bio of Energy Secretary Stephen Chiu if you doubt the "inner reality" of the Obama administration on this issue.

    Are you really willing to go to war against the Obama administration, now that the real plan is underway, ignoring the clear message that he has broadcast all along, and that he continues to broadcast on this subject: the respect for science, the recognition that rapid change is needed, the promise of that change, and the call for support and action towards that end?

    This diary does us an injustice for not providing a more comprehensive view of this issue, and for neglecting a blueprint for how we will be able to build a sustainable human world, in favor of a political "moment of opposition". For shame, the naivete is overwhelming.

    Climate Change? Try Overpopulation.

    by Green Bean on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:23:01 AM PDT

    •  Pretty great comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Green Bean

      The length of your comment was a little daunting and I didn't give much thought to it at first, but as I read, I realized that you really do know what you are talking about.

      I do agree that the WH's pragmatic and honorable approach is very much what is needed.  I understand the fear of not wanting to steer the environmental movement off a cliff and run the risk of losing it all.

      However, there is a deeper sense of urgency at this point in time and we as a people need to develop a different relationship with our environment and energy consumption.

      And the President can and should lead on this.

    •  The reality is this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      We can, and should, switch our energy use patterns, including what our sources of energy are.  Gas and coal are not the only energy sources, yet they are currently the cheapest ones.  I say currently, because they are finite resources and if we have to resort to creating oil in a lab (which probably could be done), it'll be too expensive to do so.  We have the capability to switch over to other forms of energy, but refuse to do so because of various monetary and political costs.  The costs appear to be insurmountable because we are living in an extreme capitalist society, one that refuses to pool together our resources to fix this very real threat.  We will suffer for this short-sightedness.

      The issue is not a gas/coal or nothing issue.  We have other options, ones that we adamantly refuse to use or develop because to do so would cost too much money.  I say BS to that.  We have the know how, the resources, and the ability to do switch; yet we are not doing this because of money.  IE: this won't generate a lot of money for a few individuals.  So, screw it.  Tax the wealthiest Americans at a higher rate, and if they leave, confiscate their money.  Scientists and engineers are not among the richest in the nation, and won't be the ones leaving.  Create something like the Manhattan project/highway development programs, which will get people back to work.  This won't happen because there is no political will to tax the wealthy at a higher rate, and such rhetoric sounds revolutionary.  And so, because of a quest for a profitable enterprise and a refusal to go down a path that costs more money, we will continue on our current path.

    •  When people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sardonyx

      start talking to me of their 'self sustaining 3 acre plots' of land, I ask what they think of Norman Borlaug.  Many of those self- sufficiency folks have never heard of him.

      It's through increasing the nutritive value of various crops that he has been credited with saving 1billion lives.

      Stopping in our tracks and moving back to pre-internal combustion engine technology to fuel the economies to sustain the current population on Earth would definitely mean a massive human die-off.

      Nobody likes to think of that side of their "I want my environmental pony now" arguments.

      Great, excellent comment Green Bean.  Glad I saw it through top comments, it needs to be read.

  •  Well written! Talking about leadership... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    I was struck by how Sarkozy characterized Obama as a leader. The cognitive dissonance was that he had built a good relation with GWB, and has indeed moved France slightly rightwards in its governance and policies. So his alignment with GWB was understandable. Also his frequent vacations in US, when he could have gone anywhere else in the world, showed he was probably trying to reinvigorate France's relationship with US, and possibly EU and NATO as well.

    But his praise for Obama was unconditional. And to me, it sounded a little backhanded slap for GWB, specially when he took it upon himself to say how well Obama listens, and how Obama has the trust of all the European leaders. If you read between the lines, he was saying all leaders around the world knew GWB was just a stupid fratboy, and are relieved he is cutting brush (whatever!) in some corner of Texas!

    The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past - Milan Kundera

    by Suvro on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:24:46 AM PDT

  •  Vision to see what is needed is lacking in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, FishOutofWater, CupofTea

    the WH .. we've got millions of unemployed people, a nation that is energy intensive, and fuel sits at our feet.

    Put people to work harvesting and processing what nature provides in waste plant materials. Build the machinery to convert the starches and oils into ethanol and bio-diesel. [Not corn or other foodstuffs: weeds. Weeds like kudzu, cattails, hemp, purple strife all can be converted into alcohol or oil.]

    If the WH offered tax breaks and purchasing incentives to the non-food using ethanol and bio-diesel producers it should help to:

    1. Employ millions of Americans.
    1. Reduce carbon pollution [the plants will eventually expire their carbon into the atmosphere anywhere, why not burn it].
    1. Improve our trade deficit, national security and reduce reliance on foreign oil/gas.

    Instead, I see the Obama WH embracing more of the same: tens of billions for nuclear, 'clean coal' [what ever the hell that is] and "drill baby drill". The ethanol and bio-diesel industries are thrown table scraps while the giants are still given obscene subsidies and loan guarantees.

    Why is that?

    •  Actually, I think it's because the president is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk

      an industrialist. (1) He's not interested in helping the "red states." The biggest benefactors of promoting an agrarian industry like hemp production would probably help the South the most. (2) Nuclear plants, on the other hand, can be built in blue states and produce jobs for his constituents. I know that sounds cynical, but . . .
      (3) Ultimately, I think he's an industrialist/corporatist, whereas our country should go back to its roots before it's too late--a primarily agrarian society, supplemented by, like you say, machinery to convert agricultural products into useful biofuels, etc.

      "[K]now that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -Barack Obama

      by Battle4Seattle on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:40:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perscription for doom. (6+ / 0-)

    I believe there is a way out of this, but in a lot of ways the current environmental movement is going about this all wrong.

    Predictions of gloom and doom will rapidly become self-fuffilling prophecies.

    I'm at work so don't have a lot of time, but switching our efforts from 95% telling people "You're going to need to cut your energy usage massively" and 5% trying to find ways that they won't have to do that to the other way around would be a good start.

    Any solution that expects people to do more than avoid stupid energy use (making sure you turn your lights off when you leave the room) or not to use up every drop of oil and coal is a solution that ignores human nature, and thus is a solution that is doomed to failure before it starts.

    And you can call me crazy, a hopless optomist, tell me I have my head buried in the sand all you like (Just don't call me a denier. Global warming is real and man made, which is why it drives me crazy when I see so much time and effort wasted on solutions that don't have a prayer of working)but I firmly believe that if we approach this the right way, this is an entirely solveable problem, and we can solve it in a way that takes human nature into account.

    Indeed, we must solve it in a way that takes human nature into account, as no other solutions will work.

    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

    by Whimsical on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:28:27 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whimsical

      We have to do something that fits within human nature.  What drives me bonkers is that there are ways to do this, but it involves diverting money from one pool (likely the military or private for-profit enterprises) to another (something like a green army corp of engineers).  For some reason, people are attached to their money.

      We need to do the obvious thing and tie this to job creation and growth.  It also has to be done through a government agency, since developing new technologies are rarely profitable when they first begin.

      •  Yeah, but we need to control the messaging too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mochajava13

        Once we stop going "You're going to have to cut your energy usage massively, forever" and instead can say (and back up)

        "Well, you're going to have to cut your energy use somewhat for a while, but once this takes off you'll be able to go back to using just as much energy as you were before, and it'll be cleaner, better for the planet, and hell, may even be cheaper", you'll see support for green initatives go through the roof.

        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

        by Whimsical on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 03:30:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lovely diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    I can't agree with you more.  (Although I'm not sure about the world leader bit...)

    I've got to be one of the President's strongest supporters, having known him in Chicago for a brief period of time.  And even I am not sure how to move him on this.

    All I can say is that we absolutely must do more to build a strong movement from the bottom up.  So many people are ready to act on behalf of the environment.  Now is indeed the time.  

  •  Agree...and... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    ...wonderfully written, Turkana.

    Reporter: Is there any way to overtake Fox News? Shari Anne Brill: Smarter people need to be having more kids.

    by Newton Snookers on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:33:07 AM PDT

  •  THIS IS THE PARADOX OF CAPITALISM.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, Turkana, greengemini

    Once you open the box, you can't let the spooks back in....

    Capitalism, at it's very core, depends on the exploitation and mass consumption of resources....

    Guess what? If Obama doesn't stimulate the economy, Democrats don't get RE-ELECTED, and the Republicans are back in POWER again.....

    Now which is worse? Controlled, regulated, off-shore drilling, or the REPUBLICANS BACK IN POWER?

    It's really not Hamlet or Godot that we are talking about here, but more like the choices betwee Satan and God in Milton's Paradise Lost, that we should be referencing.

    Until we change our values and turn towards the Earth (as our Native American brethren continuosly counseled us, but we wouldn't listen) as our Mother and Protector, we will always be in this bind.

    As Lame Deer stated long ago, "You can keep each foot in a separate canoe travelling down the river, but sooner or later, you must decide"....

    Until we decide, as a people, the right way to live on this planet, we will always be in the wrong canoe.

    •  And if there is no god? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, Battle4Seattle

      what then? I would suppose you'd have to make the best of it with Satan (not that he'd exist either LOL).

      this is a great quote and something our President should heed because he is the one with a foot in each canoe:

      As Lame Deer stated long ago, "You can keep each foot in a separate canoe travelling down the river, but sooner or later, you must decide"....

      Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

      by valadon on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:40:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, Turkana, coelomate, 350 or death

    Nature is not only more complex than we think. It is more complex than we can think.

    If religion had not taken over the world and impeded scientific exploration humanity would be eons ahead.

    The ancient Greeks from Plato to the Antikythera mechanism had started understanding the world.

    There is nothing that the human ming cannot understand, but there is plenty of fear in human nature to prevent the mind from doing so.

    •  I don't disagree with the diarist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, aliasalias

      but I do think you've made a cogent point and nothing could be more true in our own country at the present time and during the bush dark ages, that sound science was subverted for political or religiously inspired political purpose.

      That people find it necessary to perpetuate the myth is almost as disheartening as not allowing the rational it's proper place in our decision making where it concerns things like climate change or even evolution.

      Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

      by valadon on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:26:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please (0+ / 0-)

      that's ignoring the development of math and science in the rest of the world, including the Muslim world.  And ignoring the fact that Greeks were religious.  And the fact that most early scientists in the West were religious.  

      Just because some people do things under the guise of religion, doesn't mean that religion itself is to blame.

  •  Cheap land, good soil, lots of rain in 2100 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    Move there, build yourself a little shack, and start growing food.

  •  Play to people's sense of risk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    People don't always sense risk very well.  For one thing, very low risks in the short term are feared more than very high long-term risks.

    Parents today are totally paranoid about letting kids play outdoors, the way that was normal a generation ago.  Look at the movies of the 1930s, when "Little Rascals" had run of the streets, or the 1950s' "Dennis the Menace".  In the 1960s, even little kids walked to school if it was within walking distance.  Nobody feared letting their second-grader walk alone.  But today in John Walsh's America, absolute paranoia about shachurz makes most parents fear letting their ten-year-old play in a quiet suburban yard without an adult present.  Not because there are more snachurz than before (they're very rare), but because we're overwhelmed with stories about them on TV and even milk bottles (what a horrible idea that was!).

    So if the kid walks to school every day for a year, there may be one chance in ten million that he gets snatched.  If that.  And that's reason enough to have lines of SUVs carrying kids the quarter-mile to a neighborhood school on a sunny day.  The War on Childhood has won, and we've raised a generation of now young adults who don't know how to live without supervision.

    And yet when even the slightest doubt is cast on the near-certain science of global warming, people hang on to that doubt and live by it.  Parents, there is a 90%+ chance that the planet, as we know it, will be snatched away from them.  Shouldn't we worry about this more?

    But instead, OprahVision wastes its time on pro-polio missionary Jenny McCarthy, and the MSM gives equal time to other denialists.  We need to fix the messages that people are getting!

  •  Ever grow bacteria in a Petri dish ? . . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, The Wizard

    it always ends the same way . . . with the bacteria dying in their own toxic waste.

    The earth is a closed system . . . and human cannot control their breeding.

    As Stephen Hawking says . . . humans leave Earth or die.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 10:54:33 AM PDT

  •  Good diary except... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, coelomate

    I don't think Gogo was vapid at all. The two of them played off each other very well.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:08:17 AM PDT

  •  Ignoring reality of the problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UCRJames

    Gallup finds that 48%  of Americans say the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question.

    Rosencrantz: I don't believe in it anyway.
    Guildenstern: What?
    Rosencrantz: England.
    Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?

    Read the rest and cry.

    Those of you who think that any solution to Global Warming can be found without first convincing a majority of the population that GW exist, that is man made, and that it represents a real problem is delusional.

    Obama can't do shit, s-h-i-t ,internationally about Global Warming because every single country in the world knows he is bluffing and whatever treaty he signs wont be worthless as soon as it goes to Congress for ratification.

    •  Will be worthless (0+ / 0-)

      That should be the line.

      Also just one more thing. How useful is the bully pulpit in this issue when the large majority of the denialists hate the guts of the president.

      We are again in the great paradigm of the left: self gratification because we know we are right does not mean we have won shit or advanced an issue worth a cow patty. The right wingers know they are not right, furthermore they know they lie, but are able to manipulate, distort, fear-monger and shame enough people to their side of their issue.

      More Machiaveli and less Becket, I'm sorry to say

    •  PUSH BACK on the President. His administration (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana

      CAN do more to persuade the public and undo the damage done by the Bush administration. He dies not appear willing to. Ken Salazar is a mining guy, e.g.

      PUSH BACK on the WH

      The White House
      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
      Washington, DC 20500

      Comments: 202-456-1111
      Switchboard: 202-456-1414
      FAX: 202-456-2461 , email http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:30:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it seems nature is trying to influence (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, mochajava13, CKendall

      those polls each and every day.

      From Katrina, to the Haiti earthquake, to the fires and floods in California, to the snowfall in the southern states, to the 200-year record rains in R.I., to the worst winter on the East coast in years, to the near extinction of frogs, bees, and bats, to the host of "new" human diseases.

      She must wonder: what else can I do to show people their folly? It must be really frustrating when you face such a stubborn, blind, yet seemingly intelligent lifeform.

      "[K]now that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -Barack Obama

      by Battle4Seattle on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:31:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nonsense life is a collection of moments of (0+ / 0-)

    moments some we meet others we fail at.

    There is no 'final moment' so while this is important you cheapen it with your hyperbole.

    •  no need to be so harsh (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, snstara, Turkana, CKendall

      of course there are a collection of moments in life. The point is to think and to be aware of the possibility of what the prospect of inaction on a very crucial aspect of not only our lives, but the life of this planet might incur.

      Perhaps we might have no moments left to reverse or curb the most devastating effects of our earthly abuse. Or perhaps it is legitimate to ask ourselves at what moment would we act, if not now?

      Wasn't that the purpose of even Gore's fierce urgency of now?

      Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

      by valadon on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:52:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I fail to see what is harsh about my comment (0+ / 0-)

        the diarist has presented this as a do or die moment and in the end it's not.

        Important sure and not one we should ignore but I dislike hyperbole.

        It is sufficient to say that we need to act now, now tomorrow, not next month nor next year and currently not decade.

  •  Excellent diary and argument Turk, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snstara, Turkana, CKendall

    but then I'm a sucker for literary analogies!

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:25:04 AM PDT

  •  Turkana, please update (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, valadon, snstara, Turkana

    with the latest insult reported by mcjoan.

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 11:27:16 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary Turkana. If not now, when? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, snstara, Turkana, CKendall

    President Kennedy, in 1961, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Apollo 11, mission accomplished in 1969.

    Hamlet
    If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.
    King Lear
    Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

  •  none of our politicians take (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, Turkana
    environmental protection seriously.
  •  No one says it better than Daniel Quinn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

    in Ishmael, My Ishmael, and the Story of B.

  •  VIDEO:how to not miss the moment: FOUR.YEARS. GO. (0+ / 0-)

    You're going to be hearing a LOT about this.  Its coming from nowhere & everywhere, simultaneously.

    Its not a new organization; it's is a new goal for EVERY organization.  

    watch the 2 minute video:

    http://www.fouryearsgo.org

    or watch this highly inspiring 20 min video from Lynne Twist:

    http://vimeo.com/...

  •  Very frustrating (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, Turkana, CKendall

    how many here think "nothing can be done," "we've already lost."

    Let's say nothing can be done to stop 2 degrees of warming... then shouldn't we try to stop before 4 degrees?

    Let's say nothing can be done to stay under 4 degrees...

    can't we, MUSTN'T WE, act to be sure we stay under 6 degrees?

    Yes, we can... and yes, we must.

    Uncertainty and a hard task are no excuse for failing to work.

  •  Turkana, you deserve syndication. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, Turkana, mochajava13

    Commentary like yours needs a much larger audience than what can be reached here.

    Through all your faults and all my complaints, I still love you.

    by jayden on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 01:21:18 PM PDT

  •  Whenever I think of climate change... (4+ / 0-)
    ..I'm reminded of the story of Easter Island.  how the island had a vibrant and cultured native population that grew and grew and to feed that growth they harvested the natural resources of the island until the LAST tree had been cut down.

    having no more trees to make boats or stave off errosion the population plummetted from starvation because they could no longer catch the fish needed to feed themselves and resorted to canibalism, etc.

    Someone wrote a diary about this a few years ago trying to explain HOW this could happen.  It did not, they asserted, escape the notice of the island's inabitants that they were chopping down the LAST trees in the LAST forest on the island.

    But like so many things in life, it's just easier to keep doing what you've always done, than to find solutions to problems that haven't happened YET.  

    I do hope we do switch directions before it becomes cataclysmic, but we've already passed the point where we can change directions before it becomes bad.

  •  Two feedback mechanisms... (3+ / 0-)

    The first is that we recognize the threat of global climate change and reduce our emissions... not going so well, but still likely to be significant if not successful.

    The second is that massive loss of life and social structure reduces our emissions of greenhouse gases... becoming more likely to be activated with each passing season that the first feedback does not kick in fully.

  •  agreed, but ... (0+ / 0-)

    this is a great diary. We face a moment when we have to start doing things differently. We need leadership from our guy. C'mon Barack! Start leading! Start educating!

    The world is in crisis, and its leaders are dithering. This is the basis for much of the outrage at President Obama's announcement about offshore oil drilling. Meeting our energy needs is relatively trivial. Liberating ourselves from foreign sources of oil is even more trivial.

    One quibble - I would not call meeting our energy needs or freeing ourselves from foreign sources of oil "trivial." We live in an oil-fueled country. Without enough, hard times may ensue. And it's quite possible that the ample supply and low prices we've enjoyed for so long won't be there anymore.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:06:54 PM PDT

  •  I think America will reduce its carbon (3+ / 0-)

    output to a level consistent with survival of technological civilization sooner or later.

    When the bi-partisan upward transfers of wealth (the bank bailout, HC"R", and climate change legislation implemented to make the wealthy richer instead of as ways to reduce our actual carbon output are examples) to the Richistani are complete, America will become a Third World nation and our consumption as individuals will be forced downward to match.

    What of our political class? They become wealthy expats living in nations which they haven't ruined, with their wealth based on payoffs from the Forbes 400 families and the Fortune 1000 CEOs in exchange for helping them extract the wealth still in the 'unworthy' hands of the middle class to 'more deserving', i.e. superwealthy people.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:12:08 PM PDT

  •   These areas are being opened for exploration, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mochajava13

    exploration is the scientific exercise of trying to know what is out there.  I like how this proposal has been linked with new fuel economy standards and a reintegration of nuclear power;  Like it or not we will need this energy.  On the other hand, despite all the controversy surrounding global warming science, I see  pursuing  green energy technology as a moral issue;  we know of better ways to meet our energy needs and we can certainly afford to do it,  therefore we should do it.  I like the idea of an aggressive new energy policy centered upon renewable sources but unfortunately the political will has been poisened by  vested interests  much like the Health Care Bill , which is also a moral issue.  The common denominator of all Capitalistic ventures is how much money does it cost as opposed to can we in good conscious afford not to do it.
     It is President Obamas duty to present policy agendas and it is our duty to debate the merits,  we get what we vote for and how we act.  

    •  There's controversy about global warming science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, CKendall

      ... like there's controversy over whether tobacco's bad for smokers' health.  And for exactly the same reasons, too.  The industry pays "scientists" to muddy the waters.  That's it, pure and simple.

      Push is gonna come to shove on this.  Our issue, some very few generations hence, are going to curse us for exactly your attitude:

                 Like it or not, we need this energy.

      Short-sighted folly on your part.  Small-minded approach.  Big mistake.

      Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:53:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need this energy (0+ / 0-)

        I agree about scientists muddying the waters to serve a political agenda, part of my point is that the  argument is framed in ways that serves vested interests ie... instilling fears about about the "cost" of cap and trade or the dangers of nuclear energy.  Unless we can re-focus the argument to what is right as opposed to how much it costs were going to lose;  and yes we do need this energy,  try to convince large numbers of people that we should put away our laptops and go back to planting carrots with a dibble stick and see how far you get.  If in a generation or two we do not succeed in looking clearly at our energy issues we will have invited that fate as well.  When was the last time a national energy policy has been set before the American people?  Lets see..  Dick Cheney had those high level secret meetings with the oil company executives as well as Ken Lay from Enron,  And then there was President Carter,  a former nuclear submarine commander, who in the 1980's  initiated our nations first renewable energy policy; he was ridiculed as a result.  Also remember this;  In the year 2000  Mr. Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his laudable efforts in the Middle East, Al Gore and the Democrats didn't say a peep about it during that election year.

  •  Thank you all (5+ / 0-)

    for clicking into this post and making and reading all these comments.  There's a huge diversity of opinion here, and news this week has been mixed and frustrating for many.  But at least this is the conversation we need to be having, and I'm encouraged that it's finally happening.

    Next, we all need to do what we can to get this conversation started among folks who aren't usually into politics and/or the environment.

  •  Humans likely won't disappear as a species... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana, Ellinorianne, CKendall

    ... because this.  But what is likely is a major crash. 90% or 99% or 99.9% wiped because of our collective folly and inability to do the right thing in aggregate.  And that crash won't happen in an instant like a clap of thunder.

    Also:  it won't be happening off in some unspecified future.  It's happening now, while we dither.

    BTW, I got an email re:Earthworks Action earlier today.  Apparently Obama Administration's giving some big favors to the mining industry about dumping their (toxic) waste in mountain-sized piles on public lands.  Perhaps a favor to Harry Reid?   Since he's never seen a big landscape-raping mine he didn't want to facilitate, and all.  (Only speculating on the motive...)

    In addition to opening up vast areas of our coastline to offshore oil drilling, the Obama administration yesterday elected to defend a Bush-era policy that allows unlimited amounts of our nation's treasured public lands to be used as toxic waste dumps for the multinational hardrock mining industry. This decision -- in the form of a response to federal litigation filed by a coalition of conservation and Native American groups -- is completely inconsistent with earlier remarks by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on the importance of updating our federal mineral policies to protect public lands.

    "Increased oil and gas drilling off our coasts, and now unlimited toxic waste dumping on our public lands send the message that profits are more important than water, wildlife and communities," said Lauren Pagel, Policy Director for EARTHWORKS, one of the plaintiffs in the case against the regulations. She continued, "With this move the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, is abandoning clean water and communities in favor of gifts to extractive industries."

    The Bush-era policies allow multinational mining companies unlimited amounts of public land to dump toxic mine waste and tailings from large-scale industrial mining operations. The challenged regulation, first issued in 2003, reinterpreted what is known as the "millsite provision" of the 1872 Mining Law. The 1872 Mining Law currently allows mining companies to take valuable minerals like gold, copper and uranium from public lands for free.
    ...
    (more)

    I fought this kinda crap in the Clinton years.  Fought it in the Bush years.  Guess it has to be fought in the Obama years, too.  Dagnabbit.  Never did really believe hObama's commitment on climate change, even his grasp of the issues.  Even less so when they gave Van Jones the boot.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:43:11 PM PDT

  •  "Climate change" not "global warming": (5+ / 0-)

    One little tip for everyone here who cares about the environment and the planet. Let's call this "climate change" not g.w.

    Very few can deny that the climate is changing, whereas many ignorant folk can easily market the idea that the planet is not warming: "It's cold here, look at all the snow!" etc.

    "[K]now that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -Barack Obama

    by Battle4Seattle on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:53:45 PM PDT

  •  Some here panic (5+ / 0-)

    about too many pootie diaries on April Fool's days.

    Some panic about militias, tea parties and right wing tools.

    I panic about the disappearance of entire species, biodiversity, drinking water and our ability to thrive as a species.

    Thank you for writing this.  I see diaries about the environment on the rec list from time to time from the same amazing diarists, I know it is because their voice is clear, concise and they pick the most alarming topics, they are alarming for good reason.

    But are time is coming where we cannot undo what we've done.  And it's within my life time and I believe that whole-heartedly.

    And there's a lot of science to back up that feeling.

    And we've allowed all the fear mongers, panic people and non scientific interests to push our buttons and spend our energy elsewhere.

    This Country frightens me because just how ignorant we are about our environment and how ecosystems work.  We've become so cut off from the fact that we too, are animals, as a species, we've done the most damage of all.  And as a Country, we've contributed a great deal.

    We are a keystone species.  The American way of life, in large part, is part, a BIG part of the problem.

    And no one wants to say that because, well, it's not politically expedient.

    Tough shit.

    "We just won the great unfinished fight of the 20th century. Now we need to win the fight of the 21st - the battle for our planet. This is our time to do it."

    by Ellinorianne on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:54:00 PM PDT

    •  OOops, are should be our (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turkana, CKendall

      I'm telling you, I get so worked up and so upset that so few people don't get how serious this is.  It's like they've got to have the tides lapping around their feet to think, hm, maybe the ocean is rising?

      For a species with such a big brain, we're pretty fucking stupid at times.

      Carter gets so little credit but he was right over thirty years ago when we should have thought about our dependence on oil.

      Sigh.

      "We just won the great unfinished fight of the 20th century. Now we need to win the fight of the 21st - the battle for our planet. This is our time to do it."

      by Ellinorianne on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 03:03:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  peak oil, climate change, banking - too late (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turkana

      We face peak oil, climate change, and a banking mess. We could fix any one of the three by depending on the other two, but all three are coming apart.

      We've climbed an amazing distance out on this limb, some seven times the population we had before we found the fossil nitrates of the Atacama desert and then later learned to make synthetic biologically available nitrogen. We are going to tumble back down, and the only question is whether there are two billion survivors ... or just two hundred million.

     If we've truly reached a tipping point in Arctic methane release, and I think we may very well have, I would tend to think the lower number, mostly because the nukes will come out before the dieoff is over.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 04:06:19 PM PDT

  •  More apocalyptic wrongness from (0+ / 0-)

    the left.

    Big Oil is sitting on top of a bazillion barrels of untapped fields in the US. They aren't drilling because drilling is costly, takes decades to actually do, and because they aren't especially interested in increasing supply when low supply levels have been so profitable for them

    Obama is calling their bluff, as many have pointed out. This policy will have next to no measurable impact on domestic drilling. Obama understands something you are either unable or unwilling to understand. Yelling at the middle and the right is ineffective. The right doesn't care and the middle is tired of being yelled at by ideologues. Changing course requires patience and tact.

    I am beginning to think you don't care. Achieving actual political results doesn't interest you. It's all about being popular or left wign version of the kool kidz club. Obama is the best thing that has happened to the US left in the post modern era... and you just keep on pissing on him.

    This is a big fucking deal.

    by Han Shot First on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 04:41:35 PM PDT

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