Shell’s plans for the Arctic and the Port’s circumvention of a public process have the region in an uproar, so now is a good time to explore the oil company’s well documented record of interfering in Washington’s politics. Shell is by no means unique. Oil, coal and gas interests put $3 million into the state in 2014 alone. Pushing Shell’s colossal rig out of Elliott Bay is one thing. Ridding Washington’s democracy of the company’s influence is quite another. Read more.
Washington State is on the front lines of oil transport by rail. The ten oil train explosions in the last two years and the numerous oil spills on Washington’s coast are reminders that there are devastating consequences when it comes to transporting oil. Ten new proposals have emerged in just the last year to ship crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals.
On June 10th, I’ll be in Hoquiam with several area leaders for a free, public forum on the alarming growth in oil train traffic through Grays Harbor County and the costs and consequences of the oil-by-rail industry for local residents. I’ll introduce the topic and moderate a panel of local leaders including Larry Thevik, Vice President of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association; David Batker, of Earth Economics; Tammy Domike, of Citizens for a Clean Harbor; Crystal Dingler, Mayor of Ocean Shores; and Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation. Read more »
As if we needed more evidence that poverty is really, really bad: it impairs your mind. Great. Now you can’t pay your bills or put food on the table and you are dumber, to boot. Hey, I have a good idea: let’s give everyone in the richest country on earth a basic income, which will save money on all the band-aids we currently use to plaster over the simple problem that we don’t distribute wealth very efficiently, … read more »
Mostly, I recommend bypassing the climate “debate” altogether. There’s no actual debate so even debunking it gives it undeserved credence. But that’s just it: doubt and denial are more than just states of mind; their perpetuation is strategic. An eye dropper of doubt has proven more potent in stalling action on climate change than an ocean of scientific warnings.
Sometimes it’s good to call attention to this kind of strategy in order to undercut its power.
Because we do wind up wasting lots of time and energy on denial.
In my line of work, there’s even an obsession with measuring it. I’m talking about polling voters’ “belief” in climate change. John Oliver described this practice best: “It doesn’t matter! You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking if 15 is bigger than 5, or ‘do owls exist?’, or ‘are there hats?’…The only accurate way to report that 1 in 4 Americans are skeptical of global warming is to say that a poll finds that 1 in 4 Americans are wrong about something.”
Now there’s a study out that shows that climate change denial is taking a toll on scientists—and science. And really, instead of climate denial we should always call it what it really is: science denial. Read more »
If you put your money in a vending machine and punched in the number for trail mix, but it instead gave you a pack of gum, would you use that vending machine again? Unfortunately, voting in North America is often not so different from this vending machine. In the United States, most voters vote Democrat, yet the Republicans control Congress. Voters ask for trail mix but keep getting gum. In Canada, about 35,000 Conservative voters can elect a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) to represent them, but it takes more than ten times as many—over half a million—Green voters to elect a single Green MP.
This is not how it’s supposed to work. Second US President John Adams believed the legislature “should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them. … [E]qual interest among the people should have equal interest in it.” In other words, the legislature should proportionally represent the people Read more »