Who Owns Humanity’s Future?

Unless remarkable things happen (and there are signs they might) it will be the fossil fuel industry that owns control of the future state and ultimate fate of the planet. That sounds like an exaggeration, but if you follow the money and  power and vote to their ultimate source of control, you’ll find the ham-fisted 500 pound gorillas like Exxon Mobil.  Seeing them sitting there on the throne of power makes today’s self-destructive political nightmare make terrible sense.

Nobody makes the case more succinctly than Bill McKibben. If you missed his “new math of climate change” a few months back, nothing in it has changed. It still gives a by-the-numbers scenario of what will happen if we follow the master plan according to Big Oil-Coal-Gas.

But if all you have is three minutes, go to the YES! Magazine site and watch the 3 minute explanation (animated, like Story of Stuff) by McKibben about the terrible but very real dilemma we face for our children’s tomorrow: shift right away from the very thing that has driven civilization and “progress” for the past two hundred years. Or else.

This Draconian choice could have been avoided. We have seen it coming for most of my lifetime. We decided to do nothing. Since 1970, the oil, coal and gas mega-corporations have consolidated their massive fortunes to take control of the decision-makers in and out of government. They (and a few like Big Ag and BigPharma who share their bed and their energy-stock) are guarding the henhouse.

What say, fellow hens? Are we going to be content all the way to the end  as along as they keep us driving with “cheap” gas and wearing  $5 T-shirts from WalMart while we listen to their version of the truth on talk radio and network television? Does the energy conglomerate own the future? Are willing to give them a Do Not Resuscitate order as we pen our collective last will and testament?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Turn off the TV and radio, use the Internet wisely, learn to garden if you don’t know how, be kind to everyone, attend festivals like Floyd Yoga Jam, read more, pet your dogs and/or cats, tell your partner that you love him/her, give a gift to someone, shop locally, bank locally … Think positively, not negatively – despair never got anyone anywhere. Practice inclusion, community and love, not partisanship, hatred and bigotry. Above all, think outside the box.

  2. I know Jeff is right, that despair never got anyone anywhere. But we sure need to know the facts befofre we can expect postive people to take action. The facts are terribly alarming, and that can be a good thing if people are mobilized by them! Keep on sharing the facts, Fred.