Sometimes life isn't fair

One billion dollars doesn't buy what it used to

Maasai villagers of Kayapus Village. Credit: Kang-Chun Cheng

Words and Photographs by Kang-Chun Cheng

Some things in life aren’t fair. As Kang-Chun Cheng writes in Atmos, “A carbon credit company run by an Emirati sheik just gained control over 8% of Tanzania’s land, displacing nearly 100,000 Maasai people in the process.”

Also not fair: Cheng not only reported this tale of 21st century colonial exploitation by United Arab Emirates Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and his company Blue Carbon, but also took the masterful photographs that illustrate it.

Donald Trump thinks that one billion dollars in campaign spending from oil and gas executives is a fair price for his planned giveaways to their industry, even as they reap record profits under President Joe Biden. That’s chump change compared to the 6.9 trillion dollars committed to fossil-fuel projects by the world’s 60 largest banks, led by Axios Generate sponsor JPMorganChase’s staggering 431 billion dollars in financing for the oil, gas, and coal industry.

Fair enough: Addressing the climate crisis, Pope Francis calls for a “broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle” of Americans and the Western world. Heeding his call to action, orcas have taken out another yacht.

Not fair: millions of people around the globe have watched astounding auroras as solar storms reached their 11-year peak, but cloudy skies have dominated Washington, D.C., where I live.

Aurora in Maine. Credit: Jim Ankrom

Aurora in Maine. Credit: Jim Ankrom

It’s primary day in Maryland today, with a very hot race to succeed Sen. Ben Cardin (D) and several competitive open House seats.

Tesuque Pueblo and Dine climate activist Jade Begay and Sunrise co-founder Evan Weber have joined the Evergreen Action board.

European Union countries on Monday approved a law to phase out carbon-polluting heavy-duty trucks.

The city of Alameda recently halted a geoengineering experiment in its waters. A group of scientists with the University of Washington Marine Cloud Brightening Research Program, financed by a consortium of geoengineering advocates including Silicon Valley billionaires Chris Larsen and Chris Sacca, Third Way chair Rachel Pritzker, and the fossil-fuel-investor Quadrature, were spraying a salty mist into the air from the deck of the USS Hornet.

Black bear in the newly expanded San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Credit: Johanna Turner

Former Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) is trying to take down Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) with a wildly race-baiting attack ad hinged on Vasquez daring to tweet in 2020:

“As long as white folks (mostly men!) dominate this nation’s wealth & preside over out nation’s governing bodies & judicial systems, the racism, killing & injustice will continue. We need a fundamental power shift in this country & it starts with electing black, indigenous & POC.”

and even worse:

It’s OK to oppose fracking, OK to support the Green New Deal”

Oh no, Vasquez has the “goal to dismantle our oil and gas industry”! According to the ad, Vasquez also supports the student protests against Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza (in fact, Vasquez recently voted in favor of a dangerously authoritarian bill targeting protesters). “He’s one of them.”1

Climate Action Today:

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Aurora in Maine. Credit: Jim Ankrom

Aurora in Maine. Credit: Jim Ankrom

The final word today comes from Ted Glick on why he is a climate activist:

If it turns out that the human race is just not up to the task right now, if the power of the fossil fuelers, mega-corporatists and the neo-fascists cannot be reduced or, much better, broken, it is important that those who come after us know about and draw strength from our example.”

It’s not fair trying to follow that, but I do draw strength from this community. Thank you for being a subscriber.

1  At least Vasquez isn’t being required by the New York University Office of Student Conduct (actually the Symplicity Corporation) to write a “reflection paper” on who was affected by campus protests against Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing, where “who” includes “property,” or better yet, to ruminate in multiple essays on the ethical codes of the Boy Scouts and Under Armour.

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