We bathe in oil. We drink it. We clothe ourselves in it, line our homes with it, feed it to our babies and animals and plants, baptize ourselves in it like water. We suck the earth dry of its dinosaur marrow.
That much is true. What is less certain is how much our atmosphere will change as a result of our 450-year-long binge. I applaud the president's stance yesterday, his resolve to do what he has the executive privilege to do and the Supreme Court mandated, however little what he is able to do may matter in the face of looming apocalypse. The challenge is that even his first stab at the 40 percent of electricity emissions--which is huge, don't get me wrong--but doesn't count fracking or meat or cars--not to mention Walmart or airplanes or agriculture--is nowhere near enough.
What he deserves the most respect for is his affirmation of this quest as a moral one. He is doing what he as one man can--and although he may be the most powerful American alive, although only perhaps--it's about time for us to realize that we live not in a democracy but in a corporate oligarchy and that our real leaders are CEOs and Chairmen of Boards--and his call to us is to do the same, to do the best we can as singular people. For me, yesterday, that meant calling my bank. Perhaps moved by Obama's announcement that he would pursue an executive oil strategy, giving up on a bipartisan one, I finally called my mutual fund company and initiated divestment.
On NPR, a coalworker called to protest, angry, saying: Of course I care about my children's future--I have two boys and I'd do anything for them! But I have to feed them first!
Feed them, yes. But what would you feed them--dust?