Taking a leap of faceplant

Catching up on climate activism and hot elections


Sometimes the right thing to do is to build up as much energy and speed as you can, accelerating towards liftoff, leaping into the air, to propel yourself face-first into the wall before you.

If you plan your trajectory carefully, you will achieve maximum impact while being able to walk away to go back and do it again.

This is the life of the climate activist battling the ungodly wealth of the fossil-fuel machine. Ugandan climate activist Stephen Kwikiriza survived a kidnapping and beating by military forces for his opposition to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Kwikiriza was dumped on a roadside after being detained and questioned for five days. The pipeline under construction is majority-owned by France’s TotalEnergies, whose leaders are publicly dismayed that anything so terrible could have happened.1

All this week, climate activists are protesting against fossil-financing banks in Wall Street, primarily the largest global financier of fossil-fuel expansion, Citibank. Yesterday, 150 activists blockaded Citibank’s headquarters, with 23 arrested by the forces of the New York Police Department. Today, they’re going as a pod of orcas to sink Citibank, and tomorrow, the protests against Citibank will be led by climate scientists.2

And at noon today, youth and other grassroots leaders from Standing Rock are rallying before the White House to call for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be permanently shut down. During the Barack Obama administration, police forces used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets to injure hundreds of water protectors fighting the tar-sands pipeline’s construction. The pipeline was approved by convicted felon Donald Trump in 2017, and has been in operation while new environmental reviews under President Joe Biden continue, with no resolution expected before 2025. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, is now suing Greenpeace for hundreds of millions of dollars, claiming the group conspired to lead the grassroots protests.

Recency bias is a bigger problem than it used to be

Unfortunately, some folks are only interested in accelerating off the climate cliff, with no chance of survival. Trump rants about electric boats and sharks while handing out water bottles to the participants overwhelmed by fossil-fueled triple-digit heat at his desert rallies.

The world’s largest economies are considering a plan to end financing for coal projects, backed by the European Union, U.S., and United Kingdom, but opposed by Japan. But Europe’s support for climate action is under threat, with far-right parties making major gains at the expense of the Green Party in the recent European Parliament elections.

In France, Emmanuel Macron responded to the strong showing for the fascist National Rally party by calling for snap elections to test his country’s support for far-right leadership, a real running-at-the-wall-at-full-speed move.

Red-legged Partridge

Last week, the Biden administration released new fuel-economy rules, requiring gas-powered cars to hit 50.4 mpg and SUVs and pickups to hit 45 mpg by 2031. These targets are significantly weaker than what was proposed in the draft rule last year, but Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of course claimed Biden is “declaring war” against cars on behalf of “radical environmentalists.”

The Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), has released a report finding that fossil-fueled floods are costing the United States hundreds of billions of dollars in damage every year, equivalent to 1-2% of GDP. Radical raindrops!

Lois Parshley penned the best story about Juneau landslides I’ve ever read. Admittedly, I can’t say I’ve read many, but seriously, this is so cool.

And the Slate is gonna take take take And my brain is gonna break break break Bc the outrage is fake fake fake But slate is gonna make clickbait

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1  It turns out you can’t always trust the word of multinational corporations with regard to murder and mayhem. On Monday, Chiquita Brands International was found liable by a jury of financing violent paramilitary forces in Colombia to support its banana plantations. Chiquita had claimed they were extorted into making the payments, but internal documents proved otherwise.

2  A new report from Stand.earth finds that Citibank and other global banks are also greenwashing their financing of oil and gas projects that are destroying the Amazon.

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