23 June 2011: Gore in Rolling Stone: "Power Concedes Nothing without a Demand"
I have completed my reading of Al Gore's essay "Climate of Denial," published online yesterday and on sale in hard copy tomorrow by Rolling Stone--the ironic outgrowth of fishing for a blog topic last week.
At that time, in what turned out to be a psychic development, I idly wondered what Al Gore thought of the progress we'd made since his famous challenge in July 2008, which was, in a phrase, "to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage in ten years."
I was pretty sure that he was bitterly disappointed. I emailed his office and asked them about this and the response was that an answer was imminent but that I should keep my mouth and blog quiet until this week.
Yesterday Gore affirmed his disappointment in no uncertain terms, without reference to his 2008 challenge, but blaming power and greed before focusing in more specifically on points where Obama's response so far has fallen far short of adequate.
Using the weather extremes that have plagued the globe in the last year to bolster his point about the damage already wrought by global warming, Gore enumerated the tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, wild fires, and more as symptoms of rapidly metastatizing global warming.
All these have come about not by coincidence, nor due to cyclical variations, but because of our rampant abuse of the environment. Fully 85 percent of our energy sources contain hydrocarbons that are destroying our ecosystem.
Hydrocarbons are dispensed at gargantuan profits to a microscopic but extremely powerful and hugely wealthy, greedy percentage of the population, and hence this loathsome, ignorant bloc is doing all that it can to maintain this proportion if not increase it.
They are casting aside reason, the enlightened spring of our civilization, in favor of blind greed. Those ideals they profess in church on Sundays are being ravaged all seven days of the week.
Is this old news?
I searched the word "hope" throughout his document and found it twice, but in neither context did it offer us the hope that his 2008 challenge did.
Instead, the anchor word was "choice." We can choose to speak truth to power unrelentingly and creatively at the grassroots level. Progress has been made in several categories of renewable energy, including solar and wind power, photovoltaic cells, geothermal power, and sustainable forestry and agriculture.
We can choose to force aside that 500-ton leviathan, the market for oil, natural gas, and other pollutants, and reallocate our finances and motivations in a direction that will rescue our society from "ecological curses" that will last for millennia, infinitely and miserably sustainable themselves.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand," Gore advised, quoting the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
And how can the force of our demand divert the economy from lethal to adjuvant supply?
Gore spelled out the steps, all up to us: