Home | About | Donate

Converting the Fossil-Fuel Fundamentalists


Converting the Fossil-Fuel Fundamentalists

Emily Schwartz Greco

Kicking humanity’s addiction to oil, gas, and coal before those industries render the planet uninhabitable may take a miracle. So it’s a good thing that the climate movement found a patron saint.

I’m talking about Pope Francis, of course. Before an upcoming encyclical makes the Vatican’s stance official, he’s already spreading the gospel of a fossil-free future.


Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with religious moral beliefs, it has to do with an economic system that both compels and encourages profligate usage of fossil fuels and a strong belief in an individuals right to use fossil fuels in quantities limited only by that economic system - and maybe not even then.

I just got back from a few days in West Virginia - a place where all people deliberately choose to live in homes counties-away from their workplaces in the sprawl around Charleston, Beckley, the Morgantown “Tech Corridor” and the coal mines and support industries scattered over much of the state and deliberately choose to live many miles away from places to purchase necessities - they have become a totally scattered and atomized non-society - Ayn Rand’s dream - with no connections to their community. The centers of the towns and smaller cities have been abandoned for the big boxes scattered along the extensive alphabet soup of federally built Appalachian corridor highways. They also deliberately choose to do all that driving in the bizarrely bloated gas guzzling things that pickup trucks have become.

Any yes they are all good Christians.

They now know of no other way of life, and any efforts to return to the former community-oriented and environmentally responsible way of life in the town centers a short walk from the stores, shops and mine portals would be resisted with violent force.


I have not a clue what you are talking about.


I can translate.

Because you are critical of the way people in West Virginia live, you must be some kind of silver-spoon aristocrat sipping brandy in your California Mansion. How dare you, arrogant sir, look down your powdered nose upon the hard-working honest people? You have no right, sir!

It is the way of peasants to destroy the earth! It always has been. The rich aristocrats in their fancy palaces have always tried to interfere with this natural order. Shame, shame upon your houses!


Speaking for the (apparently tiny) “both/and” camp of the “we” debate in these threads, and speaking as someone who has deliberately chosen to never drive a car, and to always live where i work and shop, and shop and work where i live, it seems very discordant to read your blanket condemnation of the “deliberate choice” made by everyone in “scattered and atomized non-society” to do otherwise.

Surely, you are well aware of the deliberate engineering that takes place, both of the “built environment,” and of “consumer” awareness, by interested parties who profit and benefit greatly from the “deliberate choices” you outline, and who pour great effort and resources into engineering just these outcomes.


I assume you are being sarcastic?


People can choose to live close to their jobs and necessities - homes are often even cheaper there.


Because as my nick suggests I live in an old, worn, public-transit-served rust belt city just a little bit north of what appears to be somewhat more affluent West Virginia. When I’m at home, where it is frequently fairly easy to live without a car, or even if one uses a motor vehicle it can be something like the electric smart car I lease for only $84 an month that my wife uses for her commutes and errands (I would use the bus, but I can’t convince her to use it), I see some hope in reigning in our headlong rush to destruction, But when I’m in West Virginia (or lots of other similar places) I see no hope. It’s all huge pickups and SUV’s hurtling down I-79 or Route 19 at 85 mph - the bigger the car or pickup, the faster they drive.

The ones with “Friend of Coal” bumper stickers, or the fracking service company logos on the doors, are driven especially fast.


You take GOOD news–the Pope urging a greater love for our planet and consequent shift in lifestyles and corporate investments–and turn it around to people WANT to live in suburbs? The entire car culture was designed to sprawl outside of cities while developments like Levittown became the rage for returning GI’s after WW II. This design, woven into the fabric of American life is not about individual choice or decisions made today. The pattern goes back decades.

As usual, the daily posters do their utmost to shoot at every writer or shoot holes in just about any Progressive act, activist, outcome or possibility.


Cities create their own eco-systems and all that citizens therein enjoy gets trucked in. The heat of the asphalt largely necessitate higher AC bills in summer and God knows what (in the way of snow clean up and such) in winter. Yunzer thinks the whole world should just Scooter around… imagine families with Grandpa and Grandma and new babies using his “strategy.”


I will applaud the Pope when he promotes vegan or vegetarianism. Until then, installing a few solar panels and getting a hybrid pope mobile falls far short of serious action. The animal slaughter industry is a major source of greenhouse gases - roughly equal to the entire transportation industry - and drives up the cost of health care because it is the primary source of heart attacks. The meat industry kills 600,000 people per year which is triple the kill rate of the tobacco industry. So why do we see anti-smoking ads but no anti-meat ads? Wake up and get serious, Your Holiness.


You’re probably paid by a Koch Brothers’ PR subsidiary to do your utmost to slam against ANY group or entity pushing oil divestment campaigns or attempts to rollback on the burning of this amazing planet. This Pope is miles more ahead of any recent former ones, and in case you missed it, his opinion influences a billion people.


Dude you really got to lay off accusing everyone of being paid by the Kochs. It’s ridiculous. The person is just making a fair if somewhat misguided point about veganism (I totally support veganism I just think it’s misguided to play the whole this-or-that game).

They aren’t even remotely suggesting that we should keep burning fossil fuels.


Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He faced a catastrophic climate change squarely. He preserved all of the earth’s animals from mass extinction, and his family also. That’s about as clear a climate change story as you really need. Just don’t take sides as one of the evil people. According to the Genesis story, they’re all gone.

For you scientists, today’s CO2 reading from Mauna Loa is 404.42 ppm. California reports massive tree die-offs all over the state. The forest land full of big dead sticks is just waiting for a spark. Oh, and it’s tropical storm season in the middle of tornado season today.



It wasn’t until I moved to a NE US city in the quaint state of Pennsylvania that I had easy access to locally produced food sold by small family businesses that I could walk to. Before that I lived in the generic south like you do where all food comes from who-knows-where in big grocery chains and everything is so spread out that a car is needed for everything - there were no other choices. There is no community either. Seriously, is there anywhere in Florida where there are even culturally distinct neighborhoods like we have up here? I would die of sensory deprivation syndrome in that state - and a lot of other places too.


So, I was going to …well, I can’t say it, but, well, Siouxrose, webwalk and Daddio7 did okay with that…
I’ll just add… get off your high horse, you might fall off.