We are living in relentless times. The sheer amount and depth of the problems that humanity has created and are now facing is, at moments, absolutely overwhelming. We are assaulted on every side with stories which outrage and sadden us beyond words, beyond belief, utterly beyond reason. Insanity, it would appear, has taken firm grip of our collective and stubbornly refuses to let go.
Being a sensitive human, I have to be very careful as to how much news of the world I ingest, otherwise I can quickly become overcome with negativity and sorrow. This morning I read some articles posted in Yes! magazine online which have inflamed me. The first was reporting on the latest brutality by the Israeli government as they have sent U.S. made warplanes to assassinate a Hamas leader and destroy key parts of Gaza’s barely-functional infrastructure. The article states,
Israeli military and political leaders have long made clear that regular military attacks to “cleanse” Palestinian territories is part of their long-term strategic plan (the term was used by Israeli soldiers to describe their role in the Israeli assault on Gaza from 2008 to 2009). It is an interesting historical parallel that this escalation—which almost certainly portends a longer-term and even more lethal Israeli assault—takes place almost exactly four years after the last major Israeli war on Gaza that left 1,400 Gazans dead in 2008 to 2009.
This is primarily about Netanyanu shoring up the right-wing of his base. And once again it is Palestinians, this time Gazans, who will pay the price. The question that remains is whether the U.S.-assured impunity that Israel’s leadership has so long counted on will continue, or whether there will be enough pressure on the Obama administration and Congress so that this time, the U.S. will finally be forced to allow the international community to hold Israel accountable for this latest round of violations of international law. (read the full article here, http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/gaza-airstrikes-netanyahu-attempts-appease-israel-hardliners?utm_source=wkly20121116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=titleBennis)
The second article I read concerns the very real threat of oil drilling in the Arctic. It is written by Kumi Naidoo, who is the current leader of Greenpeace, and he describes the situation as follows:
Global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is already driving climate change and extreme weather events. From drought in South Africa to severe flooding in the Philippines to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our planet is sending us warnings that could not be clearer. And the Arctic ice is melting, reaching a record summer low this year.
Scientists see that as evidence that the climate is changing faster than anyone predicted. Big Oil sees it as an opportunity to exploit. International oil companies are hesitating over Arctic drilling because they see the huge technical risks of operating in such an extreme environment, but they also see the massive level of public opposition. Shell put its Alaska drilling program on hold for 2012 after part of its spill response equipment was damaged. International attention on the Arctic helped force this decision, because Shell knew that millions of people were watching their every move.
This battle requires us to value hope and science above pessimism and the relentless greed of Big Oil. While Greenpeace will continue to fight in boardrooms, gas stations, and on the ocean itself, we are part of a broader movement that needs your creativity, ideas, and energy.
You don’t have to climb an oil platform to help. You already know what to do—bike to work or use public transportation, and pressure your local politicians to adopt policies that curb the use of fossil fuels and support renewable energy. Protecting the Arctic is one of the environmental battles that will define humanity’s approach to climate change. Do we allow billionaire corporations to decide for us, or do we draw a line in the ice and say “enough”? (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-would-nature-do/greenpeaces-kumi-naidoo-time-to-stand-against-big-oil-in-the-arctic?utm_source=wkly20121116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=titleNaidoo)
After reading this article, I went to the Greenpeace website www.savethearctic.org for more information. Here is what I found there:
There are seven billion of us on our planet. Each and every one of us is affected by the health of the Arctic: by reflecting the sun’s rays off its ice, the Arctic shapes our weather patterns and the food we grow and eat.
But the Arctic is the frontline of our warming climate – heating up twice as fast as anywhere else. It’s also the frontline of the oil industry – one of the dirty, dead fuels responsible for the melting in the first place.
By stopping the new oil rush in the Arctic we are creating the conditions for a radical change in how we power our lives, accelerating the clean energy revolution that will fuel the future for our children.
We know we’re going up against the most powerful countries and companies in the world.
But together we have something stronger than any country’s military or any company’s budget. Our shared concern for the planet we leave our children transcends all the borders that divide us and makes us – together – the most powerful force today.
That is why we’re taking your name – and millions of others – to the North Pole with a Flag for the Future designed by the youth of the world. It will show that our shared vision of a green, peaceful, healthy planet depends on an Arctic protected by us all.
But the flag is only a symbol. We’ll be taking your voice to every political leader in the world to ask them where they stand on the Arctic. One by one, as our movement gathers momentum, we’ll turn towards the United Nations, where we’ll demand a global deal to protect the Arctic.
30 years ago we launched a similar campaign to protect the Antarctic. Nobody thought we would succeed, but we did, and we created a world park around the South Pole.
Now the Arctic is calling.
No country owns the Arctic. It is, in Naidoo’s words, the refrigerator of the earth, and regulates weather patterns across the earth. It is a fragile environment, home of some of the last pristine wilderness on the planet. Think for a moment of what the effects will be if the oil companies bring their oil rigs and equipment up to the top of the world and begin drilling for yet more oil so they can continue to create yet more billions of dollars for themselves in profits. The insanity and greed of this plan is beyond words, it is unspeakable in its intention of pure destruction of all that humanity holds dearest. I ask all of you, dear Readers, how can we allow them to destroy the last free and clean place on Earth?
Look around you this very day, no matter what area of the earth you are living in. Is your lifestyle, and the community in which you live, worth destroying some of the most beautiful, untouched nature left on Earth? Isn’t it FINALLY time to stand up to Shell, Exxon, British Petroleum and all the rest, and simply say, “No Thanks, we are through with this kind of life. We are choosing a new way to live, which is no longer dependent on fossil fuels, we will no longer support your greed and hunger for destruction.” The technology exists right now in the world to move beyond fossil fuels and use free energy instead. It is not a myth, it is REAL. And we, The People, have the power to say No More. Think how much money those guys would lose if the majority (say over 50%) of Americans stopped using their cars for even ONE DAY in America. ONE DAY, 24 hours. Suddenly over 150 million people would not be driving. There is no doubt they would notice.
It is far too easy to feel powerless in this world. To feel afraid. To feel that the problems are too overwhelming, I am too small, it is too much, and there is nothing I can do. So I will just climb back into my bed and pull the sheets over my head, and go to sleep and drink myself into a stupor and zone out with mindless entertainment of every sort, and try to forget all the problems. Many of us have done exactly this for far too long. The results of this sort of non-action are everywhere to be seen. It is high time for the majority of the western world to wake up, get out of their beds, turn off their mindless entertainments, and start shouting. We need to make a big big noise, big enough to be heard over the roaring of the oil companies’ monstrous equipment. Together, The People are far greater and far stronger than the beings who have been abusing their position of power all these long years.
Dear Readers, I encourage every single one of you to think about it today. Look at the website, read up on the Arctic, find out for yourselves, get angry, talk with your friends and neighbors, educate them, and stop driving your cars at least one day a week. Do anything, but for the Earth’s sake, Do SOMETHING. It is time.
- Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo: Time to Stand Against Big Oil in the Arctic (yesmagazine.org)
- Drilling for oil in the Arctic: the risks are too great for companies to take on (guardian.co.uk)
- Climate change causing rapid reduction in sea ice: An ice free Arctic summer by 2016? (indybay.org)
- ‘Planetary Emergency’: New Data Elevates Climate Change Alarm (prn.fm)
- Rebuffing Shell, Judge Affirms Greenpeace’s Right to Protest (commondreams.org)
- Arctic ice shrinks 18% in a year, sounding climate change alarm bells (guardian.co.uk)
- Arctic sea ice melts to lowest recorded level (abc.net.au)