Archive for July 21st, 2014

Sea Blue Sea

by lizard

The best band in Missoula, IMHO, is the Whizpops. After listening to their album, Sea Blue Sea, for approximately the 748th time, I’m convinced kids in Missoula are some of the luckiest kids around. The album is a brilliant saunter through the sea with dolphins, sea turtles and manatees. I just got my kids headphones for a long car trip we’re getting ready to take, and earlier this evening my three year old sat in a chair and listened to the whole album, singing along.

For me, the Whizpops are a much needed contrast to the destructive forces driving the songs I’m working on. The oceanic theme of Sea Blue Sea sparks my kids’ imagination, offering them a positive vision of the element that sustains life on this planet: water. The lyrical ingenuity and diversity of music styles incorporated make it a kids album parents won’t hate with a fiery passion.

But as I listen to this wonderful music, I can’t help thinking about what humans are doing to this planet. For example, Fukushima.

I try to avoid reading about Fukushima. It’s far enough away that I’m still trying to pretend I’m not directly affected. But there is no avoiding smoke in the Missoula valley. Last week’s choke-fest comes courtesy of Oregon and Washington burning, like this funnel of fire that destroyed around 100 homes.

Smoke isn’t good business. It annoys tourists. I’m saying this because I hope at some point the Missoulian editorial board will realize how threatening their shilling for the Keystone pipeline is. For a quick reminder, here is last year’s op-ed urging pipeline approval. Here is one example of the densely deceitful reasoning put forth by the business-oriented paper of record for Missoula:

However, it’s a good bet that the majority of Montanans are in favor of the project. Certainly Montana’s entire congressional delegation is on board. They understand that the pipeline project will create thousands of new, good-paying jobs and prefer that the U.S. get its oil from its close neighbor and ally, Canada. They note that TransCanada has agreed to a strict set of conditions designed to avoid any environmental damage. Besides, the State Department has concluded that the project carries no significant risk of environmental harm – or of an increased rate of greenhouse gas emissions, given that development of Canada’s tar sands is expected to happen with or without the new pipeline.

In his weekly column, George Ochenski goes after Democrats for their complicity in the war against the environment:

For many years now the Democrats have been largely identified with protection of the environment, a core ideology that not only produces large numbers of voters and campaign contributions, but is also essential to the continuation of life on earth. Today’s Democrats, however, are now almost indistinguishable from Republicans in their lust for fossil fuels, their new-found love of deforestation, and a twisted approach to endangered species restoration.

Let’s start with the Obama administration, which has just announced that it will open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil exploration after decades of such activities being banned under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

It’s no great secret that the U.S. is currently producing enormous amounts of oil and gas thanks to nationwide fracking. Led by the Bakken boom, we are producing so much petroleum that the long-standing ban on crude oil exports is being challenged, while massive LNG (liquid natural gas) terminals are built to export natural gas worldwide. All this exploration, pollution and extraction is for corporate profit, not energy independence.

We have no idea what the long-term effects of the wide-spread fracking operations will have on surface and groundwater pollution to earthquake frequency and distribution. We’re already seeing some of the impacts, but until the environmental consequences of stuffing huge amounts of toxic chemicals under high pressure into our underlying geologic strata are “proven beyond a doubt” our politicians give extractive industries the benefit of the doubt.

The depressing reality is this: there is no political will to face the harsh reality of what we are doing to this planet. Politicians can posture and pundits can pander and newspapers can shill all they want. None of that will matter when the full scope of exceeding the earth’s carrying capacity is finally realized.

And by then it will be too late.

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