The Crisis Is Here, Now What Are We Going To Do About It?

by lizard

Add the term Derecho—also known as a “Land Hurricane”—into our expanding vocabulary for discussing the effects of global climate change. For some reason, after hearing about the massive storm that traveled 700 miles in 12 hours, the acronym FUBAR comes to mind.

Which brings us to Rio.

Rio+20 came and went a week ago, and like most expected, it produced nothing substantive to address the suicide pact late-stage capitalism offers the world’s people.

David Suziki—father of Severn Suziki (who addressed the original summit in Rio 20 years ago)—summed up the sad spectacle on Democracy Now!:

Chris Hedges has a new piece up at Truthdig, called Time to Get Crazy, and it’s worth reading as we approach the bang and sizzle of July 4th. Here’s a cheery selection:

Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality. Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth. Karl Marx was correct when he called unregulated capitalism “a machine for demolishing limits.” This failure to impose limits cannibalizes natural resources and human communities. This time, the difference is that when we go the whole planet will go with us. Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.

ExxonMobil, BP and the coal and natural gas companies—like the colonial buffalo hunters who left thousands of carcasses rotting in the sun after stripping away the hides, and in some cases carrying away only the tongues—will never impose rational limits on themselves. They will exploit, like the hustlers before them who eliminated the animals that sustained the native peoples of the Great Plains, until there is nothing left to exploit. Collective suicide is never factored into quarterly profit reports. Forget all those virtuous words they taught you in school about our system of government. The real words to describe American power are “plunder,” “fraud,” “criminality,” “deceit,” “murder” and “repression.”

There is plenty of cause for preaching doom and gloom, but that message produces paralysis. It’s important to remember that there continues to be grassroots momentum building to shift our collective thinking and actions toward a saner existence.

The unlimited growth demanded by unrestrained Capitalism is an insane, ultimately self-destructive model that will destroy the earth’s capacity to sustain human life.

Though The Hour is Late, those working toward a Great Transition are trying to describe how a majority of our Big Problems are related to climate change. From the link:

Today’s pressing global issues such as poverty, war, hunger, pollution, mass unemployment, species extinction, and deteriorating public health are directly related to the forces and misguided policies that propel global warming. As we begin to make the Great Transition to alternative energy, energy conservation, infrastructure retrofitting, mass transportation, organic agriculture, recycling and composting of biomass, and reforestation we will also be well on our way to solving all or most of the world’s most pressing problems. As the soil and food chain is revitalized through organic soil management, as animal husbandry and rotational grazing replace CAFOs, public health will be improved. As forests and wetlands are preserved, as mass reforestation takes place, GHG emissions will fall and soil and biomass sequestration will increase. As small organic farms and ranches proliferate, rural poverty and pollution will decrease. Biodiversity will be enhanced, species extinction will slow. Hundreds of millions of rural and urban green jobs will lift the majority of the world’s population out of poverty, while at the same time a green and solar-based economy will eliminate the need for resource wars, such as the current conflicts in the Middle East.

Here in Montana we’re in for a tough fight. Our talented and popular Governor can talk all he wants on progressive news shows about the SCOTUS decision to flood Montana’s little democracy boat with corporate speech, because that’s part of his schtick, and it works. Here’s a clip of Brian talking energy, including an idea he’s cinched up his bolo tie to stump for in the past—“clean coal”:

But talk is cheap (like the price per ton of Otter Creek coal, right Gov?), and actions speak louder than words.

In an economic depression, like the one we’re currently experiencing, the demand for jobs drowns out everything else, which is understandable.

But we aren’t facing just a jobs crisis, we are facing a catastrophic climate change crisis, and the demand should be for collective action to prepare ourselves for what that will mean.


  1. scary when you and this interested party wake up thinking the same things. first, this post then your post appeared in my blogroll.

    great post, liz

    • lizard19

      scary?

      anyway, thank you for that link. I especially like what he says about being changed by having kids.

  2. Pogo Possum

    A bit of history and science might be helpful here.

    A “Derecho” is not a new weather phenomena. It is a normal event, occurs in at least three different forms, happens around the world, has been called many names over the years and has been recorded for hundreds of years around the globe. I remember listening to weather reports in the 1950’s and 1960’s describing identical weather events that used different names for what some people now call Derechos.

    “Etymology – Derecho comes from the Spanish word for “straight”.[4] The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877.”

    “. . . Derechos in North America form predominantly from May to August, peaking in frequency during the latter part of June into July. During this time of year, derechos are mostly found in the Midwestern United States in order of frequency over the Upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes region including southern Canada and Ohio Valley. During mid-summer when a hot and muggy airmass covers the north-central US they will often develop further north into Manitoba or Northwestern Ontario, sometimes well north of the US-Canadian border. North Dakota, Minnesota and upper Michigan are also vulnerable to derecho storms when such conditions are in place. They often occur along stationary fronts on the northern periphery of where the most intense heat and humidity bubble is occurring. Late-year derechos are confined to Texas and the Deep South, although a late-summer derecho struck upper parts of the New York State area after midnight on 7 September 1998.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derecho

    • lizard19

      I didn’t say it was a new weather phenomenon, but thanks for the info.

      • Pogo Possum

        My point is that to throw out a naturally reoccuring weather event and link it to Global Warming is a bit of a stretch. It’s normal weather. It is not about arguing in support of or against global warming. It is about an honest presentation of information.

        • A natural event occurring at more rapid intervals that coincides to more many more square miles of ag land, collapsed forests, and pavement every year looks related to me, peepee.

        • lizard19

          the conditions needed for this weather event, from the link I provided in the post:

          “Meteorologists with the Washington Post say derechos get their power from hot, humid weather. That’s exactly what was going on when the storms blossomed above regions setting heat records or getting awfully close to them.”

          now of course one weather event doesn’t prove anything, just like 90 degrees in Chicago in March doesn’t prove anything, but if you want to be a denier (not saying you do) then I’d be eager to hear about why we shouldn’t be concerned about climate change.

          • Pogo Possum

            And snow is caused by cold humid conditions but an above average snow storm in the midwest doesn’t disprove global warming as some anti global warming people try to claim.

            If you want to lay out a thousand years of weather data to prove or disprove an increase or decrease of Derechos then have at it. I have seen both sides have at it and they often interpret the information differently. I read one fellow who went back 40 years to show there were more of these weather events in the 1980’s than in the recent 10 years (declining num ber of Derechos) but I don’t accept that.

            And then there is Larry Kurtz. “pee pee” Larry? Really????? You have to resort to 7th grade name calling to prove your point? This isn’t the MtCowGirl site. (eye roll)

            • lizard19

              maybe weather is being reported with more hype these days as part of the liberal media conspiracy, I dunno.

              and maybe the ice caps aren’t really melting faster, and maybe the methane that could be released won’t be as bad as the scientific canaries peeping death songs from the coal mine say.

              maybe oil really is infinite, and unlimited growth is possible.

              or maybe there are limits, and hard lessons our kids will have to learn to survive.

              • Pogo Possum

                And the point is, Liz, the fact that a naturally reocurring Derecho occured does not prove (nor disprove) global warming. It is just unscientifically cherry picking your weather events to prove your point.

              • lizard19

                I did not state this phenomenon was new, and I am not offering it up as proof of global warming.

                tell me honestly, Pogo, had you heard of a Derecho before it made news?

                also, not like it matters, but you never answered my question: why should we not be concerned about global climate change?

              • Pogo Possum

                “Add the term Derecho. . . . . . for discussing the effects of global climate change.”

                “I am not offering it up as proof of global warming.”

                Yeah…….I see now where you had me confused

                And before I forget, I think you have the right to be concerned about anything you think is important.

            • Pogo Possum

              Opps……I almost forgot. Yes, I have heard the word derecho before though it has been quite a few decades and was probably before you were born. You can learn a lot when you share an apartment complex with a fellow who is the nightly TV weather man.

              I learned the difference between Hoar Frost and Rime, and learned a lot of other colorful weather related words too like Foehn Winds, Fujita Scale, Chinooks and (my favorite) The Arctic Screamer. I also grew up in a place where the weather literally tried to kill you on a regular basis and even experienced one of your derechos decades ago (before you were born) though we usually called them either severe wind storms or severe thunderstorms and on occasion down bursts.

              Enjoy the 4th of July Holiday, Liz, and be safe.

              • lizard19

                thanks Pogo, back at ya!

  3. BC increasing its carbon tax:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/bc-to-raise-carbon-tax-price-of-gasoline-july-1/article4374532/?cmpid=rss1

  4. Big Johansson

    I blame Cheney.

    He conjured up Katrina.

    • lizard19

      you know I’m inclined to see Dick Cheney as being almost human considering he loves his gay daughter, who recently got married.

      that said, IMHO his presence in politics has not been a positive one. when you conservatives decry the executive powers of Obama, please give Darth Cheney a polite golf clap.

  5. Turner

    Global warming shouldn’t be controversial anymore. It’s a fact. Deniers have a short-sighted agenda which amounts to a murder-suicide pact with the rest of us.

  6. Most weather reporters refuse to link climate change to record heat, extended drought, and high winds driving wildfires. A big thanks to the Big-5 oil companies for that.

    The news coverage always seems to include the timber industry’s most pernicious propaganda line: “The forests need to be “thinned” (newspeak for industrial logging), but the poor, cash-strapped FS never seems to have enough money.” A big thanks go out to our friends in the logging industry. Fear = perpetual $$$$$!

    • Rob Kailey

      Let’s disregard, for a moment, that your comment makes no sense. Weren’t you the one arguing just some weeks ago that the American timber industry can’t make any money and that’s why it’s stupid to support or believe them? Why yes, yes you were. Yet here you are arguing that they will make big bank ($$$$$) off of fear? So which is it, Steve? Can they make money or not?

      You argue “no”, you argue “yes”. Which is it?

    • The Ash Creek Fire in Montana has cleared at least 200,000 acres: much of the blaze’s intensity is due to dense Ponderosa pine stands. Environmental groups sued to stop logging on much of the mal-named Custer National Forest after the Forest Service sought to take too many old-growth trees that are critical habitat for raptors and key to forest sustainability.

      Only a few thousand acres were scheduled for the reduction of ladder fuels which would have had little impact in controlling the wildfire in that part of Montana.

      Conservationists have long argued that roads built into forest lands disrupt wildlife migration patterns and often cause frivolous wheeled human incursions onto ground recovering from mechanical log harvests.

      In 2008, the Boeing Company, in cooperation with SkyHook International, teamed to build the JHL-40:

      “The neutrally buoyant feature allows SkyHook to safely carry payloads unmatched by any rotorcraft in existence today. The JHL-40 is environmentally acceptable because it mitigates the impact of building new roadways in remote areas, and Skyhook is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of the industrial projects it supports.”

      Now, Popular Science tells readers:

      “Some kids wanted to be firefighters,” Igor Pasternak says. “I always thought about blimps.” Pasternak is wearing a T-shirt that says Ballast Control Matters, which pretty much sums up that problem. But if the Aeroscraft prototype works and Pasternak completes plans to build an 800-foot model, he will advance the capacity of airborne transportation to 500 tons, delivered anywhere.”

      Ponderosa pine clearly provides a rich source of fuel: preserve old growth, kill the youngest pine, and convert it to fuel to power lighter-than-airships.

      • Matthew Koehler

        RE: Ash Creek Fire

        http://ncfp.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/summertime-blame-game-ritual-ash-creek-fire-and-the-beaver-creek-logging-project/

        • Does that mean we agree on something, Matt?

          • Rob Kailey

            Whether one actually agrees with Kohler or not (and in this case, I do) is a very small matter if that one can’t actually change anything for the better. In the case of Beaver Creek, Malloy ruled largely in favor of the AWR, and huzzah for them. ‘didn’t protect anything, did it?

            • Benji

              As if you have a fuckin clue what AWR was trying to protect.

  7. Big Johansson

    Finally, we know why mother nature is upset.

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The gas-drilling process known as “fracking” will be authorized in North Carolina now that the General Assembly has overridden Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of a bill that sets rules and regulations for the form of shale gas production.

    The House voted late Monday night 72-47 in favor of overriding her veto. The margin was just enough to meet the 60-percent majority required for overrides. Senators voted 29-13 earlier in the day.
    Perdue issued the veto Sunday, saying she objected to the bill based on environmental and other concerns.
    The measure directs a state panel and other agencies to develop rules and regulations for the process to drill and collect the natural gas by October 2014. The Legislature would have to sign off at a later date before actual permits could be issued.

    Read more: http://newsok.com/nc-fracking-bill-becomes-law-with-veto-override/article/feed/400139#ixzz1zap42Ig7

    • lizard19

      what if it’s your well water?

      • Big Johansson

        Disproven.

        • False

          • Craig Moore

            Sorry to interfere, but BiggyJo is correct: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/02/16/3741872/ut-study-finds-no-direct-link.html#storylink=cpy

            Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to groundwater contamination, according to a study by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas at Austin.

            The study, released at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, British Columbia, found that many problems ascribed to fracking actually have other causes, such as “casing failures or poor cement jobs.”

            University researchers also determined that many reports of contamination are the result of above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater from shale-gas drilling, rather than the fracking process.

            “Our goal was to provide policymakers a foundation for developing sensible regulations that ensure responsible shale-gas development,” said Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the study. “What we’ve tried to do is separate fact from fiction.”

            • Excuse me? I got to “according to the Energy Institute of the University of Texas” and really didn’t bother to read anything more.

              EPA….University of Texas…

              Who has financial motivation that impeded impartiality?

  8. Rob,

    The subsidies make logging in Montana profitable. The FS launders the money, takes their cut. The FS always looks for ways to increase budget. You work? You pay taxes? You pay for subsidies, and pay for the loss of wildlife habitat, water quantity and quality, fisheries, etc. Heck of a deal. Hope that helps clear up any confusion.

    • Rob Kailey

      Not really, because your contradiction still stands, and taxes don’t seem to work the way you think they do.

      The largest portion of the FS budget in both equipment and personnel is fire fighting. That budget is already almost spent, and we’re only at July 4th, facing down the driest 3 months of the Rocky Mountain climate. Anything that reduces the necessary funds for fire is a net good to the tax-payer. I’d hardly call that ‘laundering money’.

      Another question concerning the old growth Ponderosa Pines that Larry Kurtz mentions above: how good are they for habitat or water quality now that they’ve burned? They will be in the future, of that I have no doubt. But to reforest the region in native Ponderosa? That will take up to a thousand years. And another question: the several hundreds of homes that have burned in Colorado, Utah and Montana; weren’t they human habitat? It’s too easy to smuggly laugh at those who’ve built houses in the woods. But, entire suburbs burned in Colorado Springs. Depending on the drama level, one could claim the same about Helena and the Corral Fire. The fire complex on the Crow reservation has wiped out communities. That’s human habitat. I don’t know about you, but yes, I’m more than happy to protect that with my tax dollars. So, while you claim that the timber industry is just scaring people for profit, I’d point out that message will fall on the deaf ears of those who actually did have something to be afraid of.

      Have a great Independence Day, Steve.

  9. Rob,

    Logging miles from the nearest home (now called thinning) doesn’t work the way it’s sold to unsuspecting homeowners and taxpayers. Clearing 160′ around homes does work. Metal roofs work. Logging a million acres is a huge waste – not savings -of $$$$$.

    Excerpt from 2013 proposed Wildland Fire Management Overview pps. 9-1 through 9-3.

    The FY 2013 President’s Budget proposes $1,971,394,000 for Wildland Fire Management (WFM), a program decrease of $3,073,000 below the FY 2012 Enacted level.

    Structural changes that affect funding comparisons are also occurring in this program in FY 2013,
    including approximately $76 million in Hazardous Fuels funds moving to the Integrated Resource
    Restoration program in the National Forest System appropriation to fund fuels reduction outside the
    Wildland Urban Interface. In addition, the Forest Health budget line items for Federal and Cooperative
    Lands are being consolidated under the State and Private Forestry appropriation, so that funding is no
    longer in the WFM program.

    The 10-year average of suppression costs is fully funded. Suppression funding will come from both the regular suppression account and the FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund account, which, when
    combined, total $931,000,000. The two-tier system of Suppression and FLAME requires the Secretary of
    Agriculture to authorize expenditure of funds from the FLAME account.

    The funding will allow the Forest Service to reduce fuels on approximately 1,000,000 acres of national forest and adjacent lands within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), with Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) identifying areas to be treated. —-

    In hope you and yours enjoy the 4th of July holiday too.

  10. while everyone haggles over details we (meaning everyone) are collectively hurtling down the road with the radio blasting toward an ecological cliff at 85 mph …… all the climate scientists are astonished that even their dire predictions are being exceeded in all the parameters, but in the case of the polar ice caps, their most pessimistic projections are being exceeded exponentially!

    does any of this data make any difference? not really. People don’t care and those that do one way or another have neutralized science into a tower of babel. must really suck to be a scientist these days.




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