Thursday, September 18, 2014

Earth-Rock

Environmentally-inspired music has been around for a very long time. Long before scientists accepted global-warming as a man-made catastrophe in the making (which they have done more than 20 years ago despite numerous denials by idiots and right-wing pundits) there were several ecological and environmental catastrophes that inspired several songs. Some have resulted in a clean-up or change in the basic way that humans or businesses do things, while some have been left to continue for lack of a viable option or, more likely, lack of political will to change.

Fossil Fuels
Many ecologically-minded songs drew inspiration from the first real fuel-shortages experienced by North Americans in the mid-1970s. Back then, getting 20-something miles to the gallon was considered the height of fuel efficiency, until one day an embargo by countries in the OPEC cartel forced Americans to wait in long line ups at the one gas station that was still pumping while the one directly across the street was waiting on a delivery that wasn't going to come soon enough. Since then, efforts were made to make the average family car more fuel-efficient, but with one major loophole in the law that allowed the big car companies to make 'light trucks' including all SUVs as big and inefficient as they ever have been. Of course, selling low-tech at top prices, the American Auto industry heavily promoted SUVs and trucks over the lowly family car, even though most cars on the road only have a single passenger (the driver)
   The culprits behind the vast majority of greenhouse gases (and modern wars) is the production and use of fossil fuels. As much as we may waste these fuels in inefficient vehicles, the vast majority of transportation, for scientific, business, military and personal use runs on fuel derived from coal, gas and oil extracted from the earth and burned to produce energy and the necessary by-product: Carbon Dioxide. The problem with fossil fuels is not just the fact that it may irreparably damage our atmosphere and make our planet uninhabitable, but it is a limited resource that is becoming more and more scarce with each passing day.
   Most of the earth's reserves, with the majority of oil, have been found and usurped already and are in the process of being depleted. The 'peak' of world oil production is passed and soon will go into steady decline if it hasn't already. The remaining oil is more difficult and dangerous to extract, more complicated in its processing and refinement, and more expensive to the consumer.
  Also, the remaining oil, coal and gas in the world is not near to the markets where it is still in high demand. Venezuelan and Canadian Tar Sands are quickly becoming the largest producers of oil, but North American use of oil, gas and coal has been in decline for several years, while China and India are the only places where fossil fuel demand & use is still on the rise.
   Countless countries are quickly switching to alternative fuels like the traditional wind, solar, hydro-electric and new liquid fuels extracted from biological materials like ethanol and plant-based oil. But this process is happening much too slowly, and largely because of our next subject:

Politicians are Idiots and Arseholes:
Part of the inspiration for musicians is the seeming incompetence of politicians. Musicians and artists feel they have to speak out about the environment because our elected leaders are not doing anything about it. Pundits and industry representatives often say that these musicians that speak out are not qualified to decide, don't know enough about economics, or aren't really willing to take up the political cause when their last record didn't sell so well. Well everyone is entitled a say in this planet of ours, and the truth is that politicians are not only less qualified, they are much less intelligent and much less caring or hardworking than any outspoken musicians.
  At best, politicians are idiots. At worst, they're puppets for the rich and their polluting corporations. Whether Stupid Harper in Canada, Cameron in Britain, or Obama in the U.S. The higher the office, the less actual sense exists in the heads of the heads of state/government. This is a fact that doesn't have to be proven because the only thing that anyone has to do is to just listen to a president or prime minister to know that he or she is an idiot. They say stupid things like "Do you want good-paying jobs or a clean environment?" The answer, of course, is everyone wants both (The sarcastic answer is: 'Neither. I want to live in poverty and toxic sludge.') but this idiot politician thinks that it's a real and necessary choice to poison the water in favour of economic benefit, and he'll even brag about it, like it's one of those 'tough' choices that a 'true leader' has to make. The truth is that it's a stupid, wrong choice made by a chump hired by  the oil and gas industry.
   If a non-politician or corporation made the choice to poison the water for his own economic benefit, he or she would be arrested for attempted murder. If that person claimed that it was for the benefit of all, he or she would be thought of as some kind of nutso, perhaps mentally challenged. That's how stupid our politicians are.
   Politicians in most of the economically powerful countries of the world have the view that elections are held to decide who the 'managers' are, when they are supposed to decide who the employees are. Yes, politicians are the employees, not the managers. They're supposed to work for the people, and they'll take our collective money to do it, that's for sure. But if these greedy, evil stupid jerks smell some of that 'corporate' bonus money, they'll they'll not only poison your water, they'll get their rich media friends to slander yourself and your family on radio & TV, spy on your internet activity, and maybe even start a war or three to ensure that all the sources and markets for oil are in place, they might even guarantee certain rights to a communist country and then make you pay for all of this, while taking a kickback from the richest and largest and most polluting companies in the world. 
   If you think that politicians are somehow better-educated, more professional and knowledgeable than the average person, and have some sort of moral sense or are deeply intellectual and thoughtful in their decisions, then you are deeply mistaken and possibly deliberately fooling yourself. They're f-ing morons. They constantly need petitions and protesters to hassle them, just for the sake of reminding them that trampling on people's rights is not good. They wouldn't understand an environmental problem if a pipeline burst in their backyard. And they make decisions based on which rich arsehole provides more funding or which companies will hire them at the highest salary once they leave office. They are small-minded stupid patsies for big business and have no moral sense whatsoever.
And since politicians are idiots, it is up to us, the people to tell them what to do. We must protest in mass gatherings, stage sit-ins and constantly e-mail, snail mail, phone and send text messages and tweets to our so-called leaders until they finally get some sense in their thick, cement-filled skulls and do what the people want.

The Earth is our Mother:
Some business-douchebags and pundit-economists will tell you and everyone that we need to destroy the earth to create jobs and fuel the economy and blah, blah, blah. It's bullsh*t. And it's been a complete and utter lie for as long as it's been said. It has never been true and it's even less true now. These upper-1% liars used to have a legitimate reason for their view: the dirty and toxic fossil fuels used to be the cheapest source of energy, but they aren't anymore. If the damage to the environment and health impacts were factored in, then they never were so inexpensive in the first place. In fact, renewables and bio-fuels are becoming more and more competitive in price and power output everyday. The whole concept that the earth has to be damaged and destroyed in some way to make way for some kind of progress is a farce and a lie perpetuated by stupid macho arseholes who think that dangerous, poisonous and land-razing power sources are better. But they aren't better, they're just dirty, poisonous and dangerous. Listening to idiots who insist that the environment has to be destroyed for economic benefit is an exercise in stupidity and ignorance and can only result in disaster; and it wouldn't be the first time. Human beings have, on several historical occasions, in numerous communities around the globe, not only crashed their economies, but crushed entire nations because of their stupid and careless waste of resources. What is left is usually a collapsed civilization where not only the economy is absent but most human life leaves for a very long time.
  The earth is often viewed as a living thing, where time can repair damage done by most disasters and recover fertile nature. Well, the planet may be able to recover from many wounds, but not all of them, and not necessarily to the benefit of human beings. There is no certainty as to when we will be safe from the effects of global warming, even if we do manage to turn this system of destruction around. Many species have already gone extinct, the carbon in the atmosphere is already 50 ppm more than what is considered safe and sustainable, and the polar ice caps may never recover to what they were 50 or even 90 years ago.
   The earth is indeed a living thing, and many cultures and religions encompassing this planet believe that the earth is our mother. This idea has been part of music and culture and art through history. And in reality, this planet is the ultimate thing that gives us life and sustains us, much like our mothers. Perhaps if we all thought of the earth as our mother, we would value it more preciously, treat it with more respect, and think twice before wasting resources or even extracting them in the first place.

Learn and Change!
The good news is that people can learn from their mistakes, and they are! Unfortunately it sometimes takes a terrible disaster to start the change happening. In the United States numerous towns allowed Natural Gas Fracking in their areas, only to find that the process polluted their air, land and water so badly that many people lost their homes or even their health. Josh Fox's film GASLAND  showed some people had their water so polluted that they were able to set their taps on fire. Realizing the effects of this poisonous and terrible method of extracting gas, and learning from the mistakes of others, several cities in the U.S. banned fracking within their jurisdiction. In Canada, the province of Nova Scotia put a moratorium on fracking in the province for two years, then finally banned it.
  Many towns, states and regions are learning quickly that the extraction of resources comes at a greater costs than anticipated and most of the benefit is to rich industrialists or the factories in Asia that are the end of the line on the chain of energy consumption. Several towns in the U.S. are voting to stop the coal and oil train shipments going through their municipalities en route to China. These cities and towns are doing their homework and realizing that the economic benefits are fewer and more fleeting than is usually promised by the industry, at the same time, the natural resources, including the air, the trees, the topsoil and natural water springs are more valuable than ever.
  In March of 2011, Japan was hit by a massive Tsunami and the nuclear facility at Fukushima had a major meltdown, resulting in the injury and evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as the the spoiling and irradiation of land, water and crops. Three and a half years later, many people in Japan are still displaced, unable to return to their homes, but the resulting anger and frustration with nuclear power led to many changes in public policy. Municipalities and regional governments instituted restrictive and stringent safety measures upon the nuclear industry and many nuclear power plants, when they were shut down for scheduled inspections, were not re-started again or were refused permission by local authorities. In September 2013 Japan shut down its last nuclear reactor and has been without any nuclear power ever since. Contrary to skeptics, Japan has not had rolling blackouts or severe shortages in power. Instead the country has become more efficient in its use and installed solar panels quickly and productively to fill in the power gap.
  But with most environmental problems, we shouldn't need to experience disasters and terrible, catastrophic events in order to change things. We should be able to steer ourselves clear of these disasters and do it so we can avoid the most terrible things that can happen. As with most of the consequences of polluting and damaging the environment, we cannot carry on this way forever, always destroying the environment so some rich arseholes can make a few extra dollars. Either we have to change our ways and learn how to care and nurture for our world or it will eventually destroy us. Let's choose the sane path and save our planet.

And Finally: It's no coincidence that this blog entry has been published only a couple of days before one of the largest public protests on the environment in the city of New York on September 21, 2014. Very Us Mumblings stands in solidarity with those protesters and wishes them the best of success.

P.S: Very Us Mumblings would like to thank all the NSA agents responsible for keeping this website chock full of pageviews, and suggest that if they want to keep using this blog as an excuse to look busy in front of the boss, to share this website on facebook, twitter and google+


Update Jan 14,2015: Since this blog-entry was first published, Mother Earth has had two major successes to declare. One is that fracking has been banned in the State of New York. Another, thanks to the drop in oil prices forced by the Saudis, the tar sands in Canada has become unprofitable as a resource. Suncor has been forced to shift investment and other companies are expected to follow suit. It also appears that Barack Obama will veto the Keystone XL pipeline that would take Alberta Tar Sands sludge to New Orleans to be refined and sold abroad. The next step is to elect new leadership to take the real step to a newer and cleaner economy, not dependent upon fossil fuels. If your representative doesn't understand the importance of the environment, then don't give that person your vote. Tell them it's not okay to destroy mother earth, no matter how much money them and their rich idiot friends are going to make.