When I was in ninth grade, we learned in social studies that the Athabaskan tar sands in Alberta, Canada were a source of future resource wealth. Flash forward to 2018 and the tar sands oil has morphed into the Keystone XL pipeline issue. New technologies for extracting oil—shale oil extraction and fracking—are even more harmful to the environment than traditional oil wells, whether in the ocean or on the lands of Texas or New Mexico.
We are living through a time when the effects of climate change increasingly affect our daily lives. Climate change does not just mean global warming. It means all kinds of extremes, extreme drought, extreme hurricanes, extreme flooding, extreme sustained cold temperatures. It means unusual winters of very cold or too much “above average.” It means more Harveys, Irmas, Marías are in store.
At the same time we are living through a time when an administration in Washington, DC wants us to close our eyes and pretend that we don’t understand what is happening. That climate change is not real and its very mention can be vanished from government websites. They hope we don’t connect the dots (which is the true purpose of propaganda). Taking the usual route of following the money, however, we see that only corporate interests are served by this blindness.
We are also living through a time where many people would like to hand off a better world to their children and grandchildren. Others don’t want posterity to judge us for our neglect and blindness to what surrounds us. That’s the motivation behind state and local governments who choose environmentally friendly policies, and the motivation of citizens who get actively involved with protecting the environment. That’s why I am an environmental activist. –FBC