You can't swing a dead cat around this place without reading an obit for the Climate Bill (2009-2010, R.I.P.), otherwise known as the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, otherwise known as the "Great Green Slam Dunk of All Time That Just Got Rejected." (LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK)
Fans of finger pointing have got to be enjoying this blamefest, as there's no shortage of targets (or people willing to fire away at those targets). Topping the list are the Republicans, the Democrats, big corporations, labor unions, and the "toxic political climate" ... and to be safe, you might as well throw in there the media, the Chinese, the weather, Al Gore's masseuse(s), the French, the Bush Family, the Clinton Family, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Stewart, and anybody you know who's ever purchased a carbon offset.
Right or left, to see the Climate Bill corpse on the floor, even with that cute little chalk outline around it, is a stunner. Back a few years ago, the one thing that both Presidential candidates could agree on was the need for a U.S. Carbon Bill that would slow the tide of climate change. McCain wrote the book on carbon trading legislation, almost literally, and Obama softened his stance on a more agressive carbon tax concept to meet the Arizona senator in the middle and guarantee agreement. It may not have been every green's wet dream, but it seemed like a done deal. Practically signed, sealed and delivered.
Echoing that bipartisan kumbaya, Joe and Jane Public were getting on the green train as well during that election season. You name a green initiative, and it was making progress. Wind, solar, alternative transportation, relocalization, bamboo, hemp, carbon offsets, group showers ... the list goes on and on and on. And when I think about it now .... it's like a memory from a different era, altogether.
And then I realize, it WAS a different era.
When it comes to environmental initiatives, big or small, there's only one thing that matters in America. And that's the price of gasoline. When it's high, we'll do whatever Al Gore says. But when it's low, the message of "go screw yourself" couldn't be more clear.
While ClimateFail 2010 is one example of how our eco-conscience is pinned to the pump, there are numerous others .... like the BP Oil Spill, for example. Because even though people are growling about BP and mumbling about the eco-damage that's been caused to the region, what they're really worried about is how much it will cost to drive to work tomorrow. And as long as it stays the same as today, not much is going to change.
Governments are like wedding planners. You really don't need them, unless the shit hits the fan. And when it does, one of the best parts about having them around is that they provide an excellent target for the blame game.
But in this case, the blame really should fall on us. You and me. Because if we're not willing to change our own behavior, and if we're not willing to pick up the phone and rattle the chains of our public servants, then we're merely casting another silent vote for the status quo.
Until then, our environmental future remains the prerogative of the pump.
February 10, 2007
Obama announces candidacy for president
June 1, 2007
Nau eco-apparel profiled in Fast Company
August 1, 2007
Treehugger.com acquired by Discovery Network for $10 million
Feb 24, 2008
"An Inconvenient Truth" wins oscar for Best Documentary
May 12, 2008
Sen. John McCain, presidential candidate, Pledges to Combat Climate Change
May 30, 2008
Toyota sells their 1 millionth Prius
August 8, 2008
The North Face plants trees as a carbon offset for all media attending the 2008 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show.
August 10, 2008
Backpacker Magazine assesses their carbon footprint
Aug 25, 2008
Obama receives Democratic Nomination
January 9, 2010
Plenty Magazine folds.
Dec. 18, 2009
Copenhagen Climate Summit fails
BP "Deepwater Horizon" drilling rig explodes, starting the largest oil spill in history.
The Climate Bill fails.