Monday, February 18, 2013

Climate Rally

Swarthmore students arranged a couple buses to go to the Club/Hip-Hop Caucus rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, so I went along for the ride. It was extremely cold, but I made a witty sign and my sister and niece came out, and we had a great time (4 hours seems like the appropriate amount of time for me to spend with my family).

Here are some pictures:
Why that exact number, I don't know.

This is probably my favorite picture. George's hounddog brother from another mother!

People really came from all over. I haven't heard an NPS estimate of how many people came, but organizer self-estimates were between 35 and 50K. Given the high temps around freezing, with a wicked wind coming off the tidal basin, I think that's pretty great.


E & N with my sign

Crazy guy unaffiliated with the rally

The Lorax

Trying to get a shot of the size of the crowd

Lots of polar bears in attendance, this one had the most life-like costume.

There were a lot of anti-fracking messages in addition to Keystone stuff. Also a bit of anti-nuclear stuff as well, but for a liberal rally, it seemed pretty on-message.

High Five

Again, Word.

On the way home I read this NYT article about Obama's decision on the pipeline. Aside from the blatantly inaccurate and offensively stupid line: "While Mr. Obama comes from the liberal wing of his party...", it's pretty interesting. If I had to bet on the outcome, I'd say that Obama is going to approve the pipeline, but try and reach some middle ground by requiring that some of the profits from the pipeline go towards renewable energy R&D. This will of course please next to no one.

Being resigned to the passage of the pipeline, and the basic Game Over for the planet led me to a strange conclusion, however. I've been worried that basically, temperatures will continue to rise out of control, and (human?) life will eventually end on planet Earth. But isn't it a little Malthusian to think that we won't come up with ways to adapt or geoengineer our way out of it? I mean, humans basically suck, and most of us are just smarter monkeys with better thumbs, but occasionally some of us, often the ones at Harvard or MIT, you know, slow down the speed of light, or something like that. So it doesn't seem too crazy to think that one of these folks will invent algae that eat C02 and poop coal and oxygen. I'm not saying that it will be a perfect solution, or that life won't get even more crappy for most in the developing world, and that the north pole won't be open water, or that Bangladesh and its inhabitants will still exist, or that there won't be massive forest fires and droughts in the western US, or that racist homophobic white retirees won't prevent the political action or large infrastructure projects necessary from saving New Orleans and Manhattan, because all that totally will happen, but humans won't die out; we'll just live in a Blade Runner-like future with lots of acid rain and no birds. So in conclusion, geo-engineering: it's the way of the future. Just look how well everything worked out for us with financial engineering.

1 comment:

  1. And yet it still turns Garret. Ultimately yes, we are insignificant, and I take solace in that and partly blame this on leaving the vegan fold. The thing is, it is bigger than us. And try as we might, just one super volcano cook off or asteroid impact and we're cooked. Literally. And it all starts over.