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For This Climate Fight: Less PowerPoint. More Power


For This Climate Fight: Less PowerPoint. More Power.

Stephen Kretzmann

After that paranoid, delusional babble in the Koch-sponsored Rose Garden last week, it has been truly impressive and relieving to witness the diversity and depth of support for the Paris Accord, and for strong climate action across the board. As many have observed, Trump has united and energized the global climate movement like never before.


More of the this is what you should do advice although this one is itself a PowerPoint type website about the fossil fuel industry itself. So it saying to us that there should be less PowerPoint presentations of facts and more power leaves us asking the question of them as well.

Um…? The more power stuff? Where is it? This author could have used some explanation of just how he and his organization were going to do what he tells others to do. Publicizing civil disobedience actions of others ahead of time would help to organize people to join them but also and maybe more importantly organizing such actions himself through Oil Change International’s website would actually be creating more power and less PowerPoint himself.

It isn’t that progressives disagree with speaking truth to fossil fuel power but his advice to do more power and less PowerPoint is directed right back at him. It is great advice! Let’s hope the Oil Change International website takes that advice itself.

Back in the anti-war Sixties we didn’t have the Net. What we had were locally produced Peace Newsletters ( often with rather grandiose names lol). These were just an outgrowth of college newspapers and like minded souls writing opinions at variance with the establishmentvand against the war! The one thing they all shared was a bulletain board listing upcoming protest marches, meetings, civil disobedience actions around the country so that you could make plans to join or communicate with family and friends in that area etc. Ramshackle or not, it worked! Practically every college newspaper participated and many of the ‘Any town peace and social justice newsletter’ (s) would publish that bulletain board of coming protest and civil disobedience actions.

It is the one thing missing from most if not all progressive sites.

A way to organize not just inform or advise!


The oil/gas industry has promoted the shale gas boom as the answer to US energy security, and they should be held to that. They’ve claimed at times, 100yrs of energy. The only way that is possible is if the gas/oil produced here is kept and used here.

But it’s the old bait and switch, because the thrust of the next several years in the industry will be to complete a Liquefied Natural Gas infrastructure and begin exporting as much as possible. To repeat myself, it has no value, generates no fees, income, or profit until it is sold, and current US supply exceeds current US demand. This fact will drive the industry to expose the promise of US energy security as a sham, a cynical game run on the American public.

Now think about this: they promote it to us the public as a collective good that will increase our collective prosperity, yet they will insist on their individual right to export that prosperity and good as quickly as they can for their own profit. Even if there were absolutely no environmental consequences to all this, this would still be an outrageous scam.

Much of the 99% of ordinary humanity probably prays to their respective gods that the US could find national energy security.

Living in a shale gas boom region I see that it is already too late to reverse what has been done here. Many wells drilled, pipelines laid, in-stream plants completed, and an abundance of gas put to whatever purposes that attracts investment. Also, within a 50 mile radius of here there are 4 major coal-fired generation plants. The gas is available here to replace those plants with natgas generation plants. A smallish such plant has been approved and will begin construction shortly just 20m from here. Other plans and proposals in the region are in the works. The only sense in which gas is truly cleaner than coal is in the combustion, and since the associated fossil fuel expenditure and emissions of development have already entered the environment it seems not only logical but imperative that we now use that combustion advantage in the most effective way possible. By replacing those coal plants with natgas.

If we’re looking for a forceful argument that could be turned into a political demand, here is a candidate. American energy for Americans. Exporting it destroys our energy security, ignores our environmental responsibility, and in fact increases ghg emissions.

This is by no means a wholehearted embrace of the shale gas industry. Considering the environmental crisis confronting us it was the exact opposite of what we should have been doing (reinforcing the fossil fuel economy.) But as I said, here and in many regions of the US it is a done deal, much of the infrastructure is already built out and the only way to mitigate the damage already done is to insist on the emissions advantages be realized here. Hold the industry and our government also to the promise that this industry is only a transition. Exporting it will severely shorten the probable necessary length of time to transition.

I’m expecting some here to tear me a new a-hole for this post, but I ask you first to consider the entirety of what I’m saying. It does no good to clamor for absolute and immediate reversal and correction of all the ills of modern humanity, because we all know that is not how history will unfold. Unless we stop the energy industries they will export our security, our responsibility, and our future, and we will be even further from rational energy and environmental policy than before.


Anyone who thinks supply side resistance is working must be delusional. Isn’t oil now flowing through the DAPL? Has Enbridge’s Alberta pipeline through the Midwest been stopped/ What about Spectra’s Algonquin pipeline to deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England? And Keystone XL is back although that might be stopped by the state of Nebraska. It is getting harder to build fossil fuel infrastructure but there is no reason to believe it can be halted. The only way to halt these projects is in the approval process and if that fails in the courts. There will be some victories but not enough to defeat the fossil fuel industry. A much better strategy is to focus on the demand side. With regard to electricity the battle looks very winnable as renewable energy has taken off and coal is disappearing. But even natural gas should be replaced by renewables in a few decades the way things are progressing. The biggest problems are transportation and industry. These are the areas that activists should turn to in order to finally defeat the fossil fuel industry. Reduced demand for fossil fuels for transportation and industry is the key.


The fossil fuel industry receives a lot of criticism these days, and rightfully so. But in the final analysis, we are the ones who support the energy industry and it is our standard of living that will need to change. So contemplate what you can do for the cause

Personal Actions
End our love affair with the automobile
Ride more trains and buses
Car pool
Walk and bike more
Turn off the air conditioner in the summer and dial the thermostat down in winter
Become vegetarians or vegans
Refill plastic bottles with tap water
Discontinue using aluminum cans with and without carbonation
Maximize use of reusable bags and products
Recycle junk mail
Forego fast junk food
Go to “slow food”;
Recycle maximally, especially aluminum cans
Drive and accelerate more slowly
Climb more stairs
Plant more trees
Forego use of spray cans
Ride more trains and buses
Repair, mend and alter as much as possible
Buy solar panels
Compost as much as possible
Last person out of the room turn off the lights
Eat and farm organic
Ride more trains and buses
Fly fewer planes
Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings
Use manual tools instead of power tools
Share more
Use rakes rather than leaf blowers
Decrease use of bottled water and refill plastic bottles with tap water
Maximize reusable bags and products
Push rather than power small mowers
Replace lawns with vegetable gardens
Stop fertilizing and mowing lawns
Compost as much as possible
Minimize use of disposables (Pampers);
Maximize high efficiency LED and solar powered lighting;
Limit endless gadgets
Use motion lighting, where appropriate

Local Government Actions
Reorganize cities, building taller residences with a smaller footprint (the end of suburbia)
Institute a carbon tax
Promote car pooling subsidize and expand mass transit
Expand bike paths
Have shareable (zip) cars
Ban electric outdoor signs;
Eat and farm organic
Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings
Eliminate approximately 50% of all street lighting and office lighting in unoccupied buildings
eliminate “fast junk food”; go to “slow food

Federal Government Actions
Ban gasohol
Rein in the militaries for defense only and outlaw war
Discontinue night baseball
Make electronics, house wares, furniture, etc to be as durable and long-lived as possible
Recycle maximally
Make appliances to be as energy efficient as possible
Discontinue aluminum cans
Ban electric outdoor signs
Maximize solar and wind power;
Change from petroleum based fertilizers to regenerative agriculture
Reverse deforestation, plant more trees
Restrict spray cans
Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings
Promote zero population growth with free condoms and family planning world-wide
End yearly auto model changes;
Proscribe junk mail
Scrap the mission to Mars