Last Friday evening Elli and I heard Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org*, speak at Amherst College. Bill is probably the leading environmental activist in the country. The 650 people who jammed the original lecture hall, and the 300 more who flooded the video-fed, auxiliary venue, were a testament to his drawing power and the growing unease so many feel about climate change.
Noam Chomsky recently wrote that “two dark clouds … hover over all consideration of [the] global order: nuclear war and environmental catastrophe, both literally threaten… the decent survival of the species.” (http://lists.portside.org/cgi-bin/listserv/wa?A2=PORTSIDE;b6d2f8ef.1202c).
Tim DeChristopher grew up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. As a child he watched his mother unsuccessfully fight corporate outlaw Massey Energy’s destruction of his magnificent surroundings, and as a young man became an environmental activist. At age 27, during the closing days of the Bush Administration, DeChristopher submitted bids at a Bureau of Land Management auction of public lands to fossil fuel companies, even though he had no intention of purchasing the properties, in order to stymie what amounted to a gift to the oil and gas industry.
In 2009, when President Obama first proposed the “surge” in Afghanistan, I wrote that the left should pose the question: “What’s the carbon footprint of this new Afghan policy?” I felt this presented a golden opportunity to unite anti-war and pro-environmental forces as well as provide mainstream America with a new awareness about our nation’s many military adventures.
I’m writing this on Tuesday evening, January 19th, the day the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Mumia abu-Jamal that a lower court decision vacating his death sentence must be reconsidered by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. While the decision is not a complete disaster, Mumia is one step closer tonight to having his death sentence reinstated. This evening I’ve also learned the results of the special election to fill Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts.