By Craig Wolfe – Chapter Communications Director
I am sure we all remember the Cold War. After we got over the nonsense of telling school kids to “duck and cover,” we can all agree that nuclear war was a pretty terrifying prospect. Almost impossible to imagine… the leaders of our nations were only a stalemate and a button away from devastating life of the Planet. Sadly, we are now in a new, lethargic and terrifying prospect… a slow planetary bake in which we may well experience the same catastrophic result, but one that will take decades to endure and scores of centuries to work our way out of… at least for whoever is left.
However, this time ‘round, there are no quick fuses to accidentally lead to our demise, no political stare-downs, no squabbling nations to trigger the domino effect of destruction.
After thinking long and hard on this, the root cause behind our current slide to destruction is two words… greed and power.
I label the source of it “The BIGS.” Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Natural Gas, Big Corporate. Their greed. Their thirst for power. We (our species) have created this monster whose only ambition, whose only goal, is to maximize profit. Their planning window is short. Their concern for the collateral damage from their actions, nonexistent. Thanks to the Supreme Court, these corporations are now considered people. And these people have enormous power and wealth. ENORMOUS.
This power and wealth devastates our decision making process. Our decision makers are bought off through their political campaigns and shake in their boots over the prospect of getting on the wrong side of corporate power. This power creates “foundations” tasked to design false and misleading studies to discredit science-backed evidence of climate change threats. Think tanks feed despicable legislation to politicians crafted to derail environmental protection, limit human rights, and restrict the right to vote for those with whom they disagree.
Those who wield this power and those who succumb to it do it for their own selfish gain. They do it with no empathy for how their actions will impact civilization in the centuries to come. They do it knowing the consequences will eventually be devastating. Or they do it because their own self interest or ignorance leads them to buy into the lies that has been fed to them, choosing to ignore science and facts. These corporations, the boards who run them, and the politicians who line their pockets by playing along are committing planetary treason.
The dictionary defines treason as a violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, or the betrayal of a trust or confidence; treachery. What could be more treacherous than willfully causing the collapse of nature, the fall of civilization, and the resultant human suffering, all to satisfy one’s selfish greed and thirst for power?
So, where are you and I in this treachery? There are many examples where we humans, be it in a scientific experiment or in history (1930’s Germany), may know the truth but dare not speak. We are passive. We let others speak for us. We choose to take no action because “they” will do it. Today, we go on with our daily lives thinking if we change to fluorescent light bulbs, recycle, and turn our thermostats down that we have done our part. That will not be enough. To allow power to remain with the deceitful rich and powerful is to be a passive coconspirator, letting an already threatened planet earth slip further away from our grand children’s future.
It will not be enough to be responsible in our daily actions. Don’t get me wrong, these actions are indeed part of the solution. But these actions to not wrestle power from the BIGS. They do not call out our politicians for blind allegiance to the implementation of the BIGS’ agenda. We must do more.
Above all, the nation and the world need to hear our dissatisfaction. Our anger. We need to be vocal and outspoken in our conversations with our friends, family, business associates, and organizations with whom we affiliate. We need to use the power of the pocketbook to support sustainable products and services from businesses who have turned the corner and are pulling the rope in the right direction. We need to divest our investments from unsustainable corporations. We need to act in every way possible to pull support from Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Natural Gas and Big Corporations whose behavior increases the likelihood of the cataclysmic impacts of climate change. To be passive is to be complicit in allowing decisions to be owned solely by the rich and powerful.
There may be the thought that it is an exaggeration to label such destructive behavior as treasonous. But how would we judge the manipulation of truth from a corporation if those lies directly resulted in a nuclear disaster so that their own wealth and power were enhanced? The only difference is the torturous time frame that climate change will inflict its misery.
Craig Wolfe is the Communications Director, Newsletter editor and webmaster for the Sierra Club Kansas Chapter, President of the Heartland Renewable Energy Society, and singer/songwriter for the group Soular with the motto “Thought for the Mind. Love for the Heart. Truth for the Soul.”