Writer George Monbiot has posted to the BBC one of the most beautiful web presentations I have seen. I enjoyed his essay, but am disappointed that, as is often true of writers celebrating the beauty of nature, he offers no pathway to the solutions (such as rewilding) he would like to see. That is the hard part. Naturalists and environmentalists have an idea of what our world should look like, but what is the step by step process of getting there? Help from our politicians?
Notice that most Democrats survive American legislative elections by raising campaign money from the very corporations that are destroying the planet. Only a minority of them are interested in issues of poverty, social justice, and the environment. In the trillion dollar budget passed by Congress before its holiday recess Democrats agreed with Republicans to lift the already weak restrictions placed on banks by the Dodd-Frank legislation. Also, they made it easier for employers to renege on pension benefit plans. Meanwhile, Republicans actively work against issues of poverty, social justice, and the environment—and they now have large majorities in both houses of Congress.
Another example of the insanity: the Senate Democrat’s report condemning the use torture by the CIA has been blunted by the right wing argument that the use of torture does not make us look bad, only documenting it. How do you fight this attitude?
I was recently shocked to learn that The Nature Conservancy makes a significant amount of money through oil and gas extraction on a large tract of land it was supposed to have preserved. The Environmental Defense Fund actively supports fracking for natural gas. The Sierra Club supported natural gas drilling for awhile but has come back to its senses. How many environmentalists know that those first two environmental organizations have sold their souls to the carbon industry? (The Nature Conservancy’s CEO has a compensation package of above $600,000. I suppose for him the environmental movement is a success.)
I hope that many people will read the Monbiot essay but consciousness raising has not stopped mass extinctions of wildlife and mass exploitation of impoverished peoples here and abroad. So what concrete steps can we follow to take political control back from the corporations who have bought off most of our politicians? If anyone has the answer I will run it as a guest essay.
<Unnamed lake, Wheeler Wilderness, New Mexico June 16, 2014, dlw photo>