Coal, Oil, and Gas brought us the Industrial Revolution. They brought us mass production, factories, automobiles, air flight, warmth in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, and the amazing array of consumer goods that fill our homes and make us comfortable, or at least keep us occupied. It has been the foundation of our economy and our way of life.
But we are now paying a terrible price for all that abundance. The burning of fossil fuels is destroying the biosphere upon which we all depend. It is causing wildfires, not just on our West Coast, but all across the world, even inside the Arctic Circle. Paradoxically, it is bringing us both floods and droughts, both heat domes and the polar vortex.
Once fertile farmland in Africa, and in Central America has turned to desert. Millions of people who worked those farms have become climate migrants. In coastal areas, rising sea levels have flooded people’s homes and driven them off their lands too. So, one consequence of the climate crisis is large scale human migration, as people are forced out of their homelands and desperately search for refuge elsewhere. These patterns of upheaval will continue and intensify.
We will see conflicts over water shortages, and serious blows to our food supply. We have lost many animal and plant species and will continue to lose more.
Who is to blame for this growing catastrophe? We all share some guilt. But the principal blame lies with the producers who make enormous fortunes: a hundred multinational fossil-fuel corporations across the world that mine and drill and market and sell these products so that, when used on the scale they’re used today,
they destroy the planet’s capacity to maintain itself as a habitable place. Meanwhile, people who have contributed little or nothing at all to the crisis are facing massive suffering, loss, and death.
We have a very short window of time, less than ten years, to turn the situation around and prevent the worst kind of climate apocalypse. But the fossil fuel industry has no intention of stopping its drilling, and extraction of the fuels that enrich them. We even subsidize this industry by giving them several tens of billions of tax breaks every year. Their enormous influence in Washington DC is such that they dictate policy and have control over the votes of many members of Congress.
To solve the problem, we must break the enormous political power of the fossil fuel industry.
We must build a massive deployment of wind and solar energy all across the county, and insist that it be a core part of President Biden’s new infrastructure bill. We must modernize our electric grid, adapt it to accommodate wind and solar, and require that by 2030, all electricity carried by the grid must be sourced from renewable energy only.
For our own sakes, and for the sakes of our children and grandchildren, please join us to fight back. Or join one of the many dedicated groups that are fighting to stop the construction of new oil and gas pipelines like Line #3 in Minnesota and Line #5 in Michigan.
Send an email to President Biden and to Senators Durbin and Duckworth and to your member of Congress. Tell them to demand 100% renewable energy on our grid by 2030.