|To BP or Not To BP | The Big Money|
by janelane at 12:05 pm EDT, Jun 9, 2010
The truth is that we care mightily when BP wreaks havoc in the Gulf of Mexico, but we pay scant attention when Shell harms Nigeria, when Chevron pollutes Ecuador, when PDVSA stains Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, when Suncor extracts oil from tar sands in Canada. It’s understandable that as we watch the live webfeed of the gusher, we want to know what BP officials knew and when they knew it, and we want to know why the Obama administration didn’t react sooner. But if we don’t broaden the horizons of our questions, we run the risk of reinforcing a fairy tale that says we can have our oil and our environment, too. The worst outcome of the mess in the Gulf would be the perpetuation of the conceit that error and greed can be regulated out of the worldwide oil industry.
In other words, we need to change the oil-centric paradigm of our times. It is broken. We must deal with BP, but we must also channel the power of our anger toward reducing consumption of fossil fuels. Smaller cars, less driving, more carpools, public transportation, better home insulation, smaller homes, less meat, more renewable energy—these are the sorts of useful things we can do. It little matters whether we fill our tanks at BP or Exxon stations. What matters is that we visit gas stations less often.
|The Second Best Time Is Now|
by noteworthy at 7:01 am EDT, Jun 10, 2010
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
Perhaps the most powerful way in which we conspire against ourselves is the simple fact that we have jobs. We are willingly part of a world designed for the convenience of what Shakespeare called "the visible God": money. When I say we have jobs, I mean that we find in them our home, our sense of being grounded in the world, grounded in a vast social and economic order. It is a spectacularly complex, even breathtaking, order, and it has two enormous and related problems. First, it seems to be largely responsible for the destruction of the natural world. Second, it has the strong tendency to reduce the human beings inhabiting it to two functions, working and consuming. It tends to hollow us out.
Happiness exists just around the corner, it's just a matter of figuring out how to get there.
You're very free if you don't love money.
David Foster Wallace:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the "rat race" -- the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
Smaller cars, less driving, more carpools, public transportation, better home insulation, smaller homes, less meat, more renewable energy -- these are the sorts of useful things we can do. It little matters whether we fill our tanks at BP or Exxon stations. What matters is that we visit gas stations less often.
Our job is to apply our well-earned cynicism and fail to follow the baby boomers off a cliff in their pursuit of some idealistic agenda.
We have tried incremental steps and they have proven insufficient.
We're entering an era where being in politics is going to be more than anything else about taking things away from people. It's going to be very, very interesting.
There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
The only way to end your game is to lose.
|The Cultural Anomaly Of Our Moment|
by noteworthy at 8:37 am EDT, Jun 10, 2010
Driving is the cultural anomaly of our moment.
It little matters whether we fill our tanks at BP or Exxon stations.
What matters is that we visit gas stations less often.
Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car.
I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.
For too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going.
Who can answer questions, but don't know how to ask them.
Who can fulfill goals, but don't know how to set them.
Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they're worth doing in the first place.
What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen.
What we don't have are leaders.
It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.
Nothing will work, but everything might.
People say to me, "Whatever it takes."
I tell them, It's going to take everything.