Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Choice

The Choice

by C.A. Matthews

I attended the Green Party US Annual National Meeting this past weekend. Once again we convened together online to hear what our fellow Greens and others have to say about the state of our nation and our planet. I have to admit that I quite enjoy online conventions. They’re cheaper and easier to attend, and you don’t have to dress up—or at all—if you don’t want to. Given a choice, I’d be happier attending online conventions from now on. This is probably going to be possible even with next year’s Presidential Nominating Convention, as I understand they’re planning a “hybrid convention” with both in-person and online components. Sounds good to me.

But some things in life don’t offer you a choice. You’re stuck with what you’re given, like it or not.

I’m one of those persons who’ll fight against anyone who tells me that I’m stuck with voting for only a “red” or “blue” candidate. Unless “red” means they’re a socialist, I’ll politely decline. And if “blue” means I’m supposed to hold my nose and “vote for the lesser evil,” then no thanks. I’m quite happy voting for the greater good by supporting the Green candidate who follows our Four Pillars of “people, planet and peace not (corporations’) profits.” 

My ability to vote for the candidate of my choice is important to me, as I hope it is to others as well. That’s why I’m volunteering to help out with the 2024 ballot access initiative throughout the US, so voters will have the opportunity to vote Green and not feel stuck voting for one of the “lesser evils.” The more choices Americans have at the ballot box, the better outcomes (I hope) we can expect for our country.

But some things in life don’t offer you a choice. You’re stuck with what you’re given, like it or not.

I repeat that line because that was essentially the theme behind this year’s Green Party keynote address given by NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus. Peter didn’t give us a choice when he stated quite plainly that Earth is in big trouble, and human beings have caused this big trouble, and we might already be at the point of no return even if we act now. Peter isn’t seeing any nation on the planet taking any real actions to address the climate emergency. He told us, “Don’t lose hope—but don’t have false hope” either. 

That was not a thought I wanted to hear. It takes away our choice to do something to rectify this dire climate crisis situation, but Peter is right. We don’t have a choice today because we have chosen foolishly in the past. We have voted for the “lesser evil” too many times and have received evil in abundance by electing politicians firmly under the control of Big Oil.

Worse yet, even with all the signs and warnings from planetary scientists, we continue to act foolishly by supporting and increasing our dependency on fossil fuels. There is no excuse for our behavior. Americans have had choices and have repeatedly chosen the wrong path. The “global boiling” we’ve witnessed this summer in the oceans full of blanched coral reefs, on land with the hottest temperature ever recorded at 136 degrees F., and in the massive forest fires continually burning in Canada that have blanketed most of the eastern half of the US with smoke particulates, killing thousands though respiratory failure, demonstrates that, when given a choice about our leadership, we choose the wrong leaders.

And look where our wrong choices have gotten us—we’ve put our planet and its inhabitants, including the fish, birds, animals, insects and plant-life at risk of total extinction. I hope buying that gas-guzzling SUV and taking all those air flights and Princess cruises to dump sewage water in the Caribbean were worth it. It hasn’t been for the Earth.

Peter stated that he feels rage particularly at the sheer stupidity of our society. He noted that all the seemingly positive talk politicians make about becoming “Net Zero by 2050!” is dangerously misinformed. There’s no way we will be able to sequester all the carbon already let lose in our atmosphere. Our children twenty years from now won’t be able to to use this mythological “carbon capture” technology, even if it does exist by then.  

Why? Well, it’s simply because they’ll have their hands full of dealing with all the constant flooding, massive heatwaves, ocean level rise, increasingly destructive tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis creating billions of climate refugees worldwide. When will they have the time and energy to create this magical tech?

Even worse, if we want to even lessen the impacts these disasters will have on our children in the future, we’d need to start now doing what needs to be done. We’d have to kick the fossil fuels addiction yesterday. That means giving up the family car. That means not flying or yachting about the planet constantly. That means no more disposable water bottles and fast-food wrappers. How easy is that going to be? 

Are you willing to give up your creature comforts so your grandchildren can have a livable planet to live on in the coming decades?
Americans—well, all human beings really—love to have choices. But some things in life don’t offer you a choice. You’re stuck with what you’re given, like it or not. We’ve hurt Mother Earth. Badly, perhaps fatally. It’s time to repent and change our ways, drastically change our polluting ways. Or else we’ll be as dead as Mother Earth will be.

Peter made a good point that the tiny number of climate activists currently protesting, shouting at, and standing up to the fossil fuel industries isn’t going to make them shut down. The corporations are protected by governments with big armies and deep pockets. The planet is calling out for planetary leadership that puts Earth first before corporations’ profits.

In the US, we ‘ll need the power of executive branch to ban fracking, end pipeline construction project and stop the disinformation coming from the Big Oil CEOs according to Peter. The president should declare a climate emergency and get our economy on a “war footing” like we did during World War 2, but instead it would be fighting to save our planet and its people.

Peter confessed that he didn’t trust either of the “red” or “blue” teams to be up to the task. He recommended Americans work to enact Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in order to give an alternative (or “third”) party US presidential candidate a chance of gaining the presidency who is willing to take on Big Oil and do what needs to be done. 

Okay, now that is a choice and an action I can get behind. What do you think?

Peter emphasized that disinformation (or what I’d call “propaganda”) aimed at the working class has made these workers vote against their best interests for decades. The Green Party isn’t widely known as being pro-worker, even though its platform is clearly pro-worker with its support of universal health care and the rights of workers to strike. A “Green-Labor alliance” needs to form. The labor movement, working hard to organize the proletariat in order to enact a general strike, and the environmental movement, working to save our world from further ecological disaster through acts of civil disobedience against Big Oil and others, must come together to take on the “rich sociopaths” destroying our planet.

These rich sociopaths, whose private jets and yachts burning fossil fuels cause a large portion of the carbon building up in our atmosphere, have never been held accountable for their actions under our present system of government. Why? They simply bribe the politicians (through their lobbyists with big briefcases full of cash), as well as gifting jobs and trips to the politicians after they leave office. 
If both environmentalists and laborers don’t take them on then what will our children say about us in the year 2040 or 2050? That we cared more about placating the polluting status quo than we cared about our planet and their very lives?

In the end, we all have a choice to make. It is a difficult choice, but we must make it. We will all live with the consequences of that choice, for better or worse. Peter Kalmus says we should never give up. The hour is late, but we must rise up together to save all that we can. Nothing is more important. Our children deserve our best efforts.

Which choice will you make?


Peter Kalmus:

“Biden’s refusal to declare a climate emergency and his eagerness to push new pipelines and new drilling — at an even faster pace than Trump — goes against science, goes against common sense, goes against life on Earth.”

--from Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency. And he must do so now

Related Articles and Interesting Links:

Keynote address from Peter Kalmus https://youtu.be/Subt87Vsp9E

Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency. And he must do so now https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jul/27/joe-biden-climate-emergency-peter-kalmus

Polluters Rely On Old Rhetoric To Block Clean Energy Future

The climate movement has a recruiting and retention problem – here’s how we fix it  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/08/climate-movement-recruitment-retention-problem/

There Are Enough Resources In The World To Fulfill Human Needs

US/France threaten intervention in resource-rich Niger: Fears of war in West Africa  https://geopoliticaleconomy.substack.com/p/us-france-intervention-niger-west-africa

SCOTT RITTER: The Atomic Executioner’s Lament

Decades later, the US government called Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘nuclear tests’ https://www.nationofchange.org/2023/08/03/decades-later-the-us-government-called-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-nuclear-tests/

Commemorating Hiroshima And Nagasaki Bombings

Military.com Op-Ed Calls for Military Draft

How to Ignore 4.5 Million Deaths

'Will Literally Change Lives': Massachusetts Legislature Approves Universal Free School Meals https://www.commondreams.org/news/will-literally-change-lives-massachusetts-legislature-approves-universal-free-school-meals

Patrick Lawrence: Reading the Mess the Democrats Have Made

Report Details 'Shocking Pattern' of Abuse by US Agents at Mexico Border https://www.commondreams.org/news/migrant-abuse

The Forever War’s Forever Legacy https://scheerpost.com/2023/08/03/the-forever-wars-forever-legacy/

Deep State? Or American Mafia? https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/p/deep-state-or-american-mafia

Judge Orders DOI to Move on Rule for Tribes Reapplying for Federal Recognition https://truthout.org/articles/judges-orders-doi-to-move-on-rule-for-tribes-reapplying-for-federal-recognition/

Another 165 million people join more than one billion in poverty as cost of government debt servicing soars

UPS-Teamsters: The Strike That Wasn't, The Tentative Agreement, Union Leadership and The Upcoming Vote | How Did We Miss That? https://indienewsnetwork.substack.com/p/ups-teamsters-the-strike-that-wasnt

Wage Gains at UPS Have Amazon Workers Demanding More

Headlines and front lines: How US news coverage of wars in Yemen and Ukraine reveals a bias in recording civilian harm https://theconversation.com/headlines-and-front-lines-how-us-news-coverage-of-wars-in-yemen-and-ukraine-reveals-a-bias-in-recording-civilian-harm-209652


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