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We Do This Not Because It Is Easy
but because we thought it would be easy
PRESENTED BY THE BRIEF MANIC ERA OF HYDROCARBON INDUSTRIALISM
Over the weekend, rising tennis star Coco Gauff won the brutally hot U.S. Open, whose lead sponsors were the state airline of the petrostate United Arab Emirates and the world’s biggest financier of fossil fuels, JP Morgan Chase. Her semifinal match on Thursday was interrupted by climate protesters with Extinction Rebellion NYC calling for an end to fossil fuels. Protester Shayok Mukhopadhyay glued his bare feet to the concrete floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium, named after the renowned Black tennis player who was arrested several times for his civil rights activism.
Although her game was interrupted, Gauff supported the protesters after the match:
“Throughout history, moments like this are definitely defining moments. I believe in climate change. . . . I wasn’t pissed at the protesters. I know the stadium was because it just interrupted entertainment. I always speak about preaching what you feel and what you believe in. It was done in a peaceful way, so I can’t get too mad at it.”
“It’s only a matter of time before things get much worse,” protester Lindiwe Krasin, a Botswana-born human-rights activist and poet, told reporters. “So I protested because I’m terrified.”
That same day, climate scientist Rose Abramoff and five other women chained themselves to construction equipment building the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia, an act of civil disobedience which received considerably less media coverage. The Guardian’s Emma Pattee filed one of the few reports. Abramoff and others were “criminally charged with obstruction, trespassing, destruction of property, and violation of the West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act,” Arielle Samuelson writes, in an interview with Dr. Abramoff:
“This ongoing campaign of direct actions, working in concert with legal challenges, has pushed the Mountain Valley Pipeline six years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. And so, to my mind, it's an extremely successful way to work.”
I recognize that Hill Heat’s in-depth coverage of Congress and climate change is something of a strategic error business-wise, when we could instead be doing deep dives on global warming and the festival circuit. Jules Evans shows how that work could be done right, with this very smart take on Burning Man’s increasingly erratic weather:
It strikes me that, more and more, unpredictable climate is leading to holiday and tourism emergencies. I think of cruise ships being quarantined during the pandemic, of tourists collapsing in heat waves in Italy, or having to be rescued by boats from Crete on fire, or Maui on fire. I think of the scouts annual jamboree, which took place in Korea this year, where numerous scouts had to be taken to hospital with heatstroke and dysentry. And their motto is ‘be prepared’ ! It’s hard to be prepared when the climate is changing so quickly and extremely.
Our way of life is changing. We are emerging out of the brief manic era of hydrocarbon industrialism, which among other achievements gave us mass tourism and the fetishization of the sublime tourist experience - climbing Mont Blanc, sailing down the Nile, diving at the Great Barrier Reef, encountering lions in the Masai Mara, raving at Burning Man, and so on. You’d sail or jet to your exotic destination, have your Big Wow moment, get your Canaletto or your Instagram pics, and go home back to industrial drudgery for the rest of the year, savouring the after-glow and dreaming of the next escape.
But in the last few years it’s getting harder and harder to escape reality, and these sorts of getaways are resembling less Room With A View and more Survivor. We want a nice gentle dose of the wilderness. Instead we are getting a triple-dose of nature in its most extreme, Herzogian form.
In the morning, the Senate Banking committee hosts Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler for an SEC oversight hearing. As we’ve previously discussed, one of the most politically contentious issues for the SEC these days is its proposed rule for corporate climate risk disclosure.
This afternoon at 2 PM, Defenders of Wildlife is co-hosting a symposium at the Capitol on the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act with other conservation groups. Invited speakers include Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams, and NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit.
The House Rules hearing setting up floor debate on the nearly $1 trillion defense appropriations bill and the bill to kill California’s tailpipe-pollution rules begins at 4 PM.
Hearings on the Hill:
10 AM: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
4 PM: House Rules
Defense Appropriations and Internal Combustion Engine Protection Act
Climate Action Today:
2 PM: Defenders of Wildlife
Endangered Species Act: Legislative Successes and Challenges in Protecting Imperiled Species