Activists want ‘Deeds not words’ as Portland adopts climate work plan

Extinction Rebellion members demonstrating at City Hall this morning. (Photos: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

“What are the serious actions that the city is willing to take?”

– Janet Weil, Extinction Rebellion PDX

“Deeds not words” was the message a group of activists with Extinction Rebellion PDX had for Portland City Council at their meeting this morning where they voted to approve the city’s Climate Emergency Work Plan.

The work plan is the creation of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and outlines actions across city bureaus to cut Portland’s climate emissions in half by 2030 and hit net-zero emissions by 2050. But some climate activists think the plan is too vague, and are concerned city leaders won’t follow their words up with actions necessary to tackle the climate emergency.

Wheeler and Rubio at this morning’s City Council meeting.

Today’s unanimous vote was no surprise – all commissioners (including Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty who was absent at today’s meeting) had enthusiastically supported the plan at last month’s hearing.

Mayor Ted Wheeler and commissioners Carmen Rubio, Mingus Mapps and Dan Ryan addressed the activists at City Hall today and acknowledged the city’s climate actions lack some transparency. Wheeler asked BPS director Donnie Oliveira if there were steps the Bureau could take to better show the public how the city is progressing with its plans.

“Is there some way that we can make this easy for people to see what we’re doing?” Wheeler asked. “We’re very invested in figuring out where the gaps are.”

Oliveira said the Bureau is working to improve on this front and will keep it in mind as they move forward. Activists said more communication would be helpful, but it won’t be enough if they don’t have strong action plans in the books.

“It’s not only how are they communicating to the public, but what in fact are the serious actions that the city is willing to take?” Extinction Rebellion PDX member Janet Weil told me after the meeting. “There’s a lot this plan is missing.”

Activists with Extinction Rebellion outside Portland City Hall Wednesday.

Weil said the plan is particularly weak concerning transportation, adding that the City of Portland has not shown they will stand up to the Oregon Department of Transportation where climate action is concerned. Earlier this summer, City Council voted to support ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter expansion project as well as the plan to expand I-5 across the Columbia River, which some climate activists say is not in line with their climate emergency declaration and promises for city action.

Despite these disagreements, the mood at today’s meeting was mild. City Council members have become experts at acknowledging the many people who oppose their decisions. The Extinction Rebellion activists held up signs urging action at the meeting, but did not cause any disruption. All commissioners and Mayor Wheeler said they were grateful for their community involvement.

Steve Dear is a member of Eugene’s Extinction Rebellion chapter who came to Portland to support the demonstration today. He said people from across the state need to see the City of Portland taking strong climate action, and wanted to be part of the movement encouraging them to do so. He told me he was surprised to see such a collaborative attitude from the commissioners.

“I felt like Council co-opted our message. The mayor enveloped us with his words and acted like we’re on the same side,” Dear said. “But I don’t think we want the same things.”

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SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
1 month ago

How about letting City employees, who can, continue to work from home so they aren’t adding to the pollution in the air? After all there’s more neighborhoods in Portland that just downtown.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Small business trying to stay alive downtown appreciate your support.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

I hate this argument – about how gov’t employees are required to support businesses in downtowns everywhere (Boris Johnson made the same argument about London).

If we are truly in a climate emergency (and we obviously are), then organizations whose employees CAN work from home MUST work from home! We have to end this ridiculous twice-daily, carbon-emitting dash to the office just so bosses can eye over their workers. Get better managers who can manage people’s work, not their presence in a cubicle.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

Who is paying the salaries of those people if there is no business downtown? I am sure that empty buildings pay a lot of taxes….

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

JM did an article 2 days ago about how downtown is coming back and how nice that is….
You apparently think that boarded up vacant buildings are just what we need right now.

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Right…if businesses aren’t there, it must be vacant. Nothing else can be put in its place.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray

Of course, I am sure the Apple store is going to be converted to public housing, why didn’t I think of that…

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

I’m not referring to the Apple store and you know it.
The Apple store will continue to generate foot traffic because it’s a destination for many who go there. Jive’s office isn’t…anymore.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray

There are probably 50 small owned restaurants at least in downtown that employ a lot of low income earners that would like to stay in business..
waiters, cooks, janitors, all the wealthy people…

Brandon
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Which is why continuing to rely on work commuters into the those areas is not a solution. We are witnessing a sea change in the way businesses operate, there are many that have already failed, and many more will in the future. Trying to force people to commute in order to keep areas of the city occupied from 8-5 isn’t a solution, it just delays the inevitable.

We didn’t try to force people to continue going to Blockbuster when streaming services came around, we just accepted that they were going out of business, and a new developer or business bought the real estate and did something new with it. The same thing will happen with office buildings downtown, but it will not happen overnight, and it will be painful, capitalism sucks. The end result will be more vibrant neighborhoods downtown where people live, work, and spend money at local shops and restaurants… and a lot less cars driving everywhere.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Brandon

Let’s go Bran… Oh right, sorry.

But yeah, your pretty well nailed it.

We all make choices everyday with our $ what & who we support.

I choose not support oil companies & war by being car-free, I choose to support my LBS instead of Amazon, etc.

If you want to choose those businesses downtown, I’m sure their open in the evening and maybe on weekends too.

With more people working from home, they can now support the businesses in their neighborhood. They’ve all been hit pretty hard by the pandemic.

As a bike courier during the pandemic, it was pretty great to be able to deliver in my own part of town and do my part to support local businesses.

I can’t tell you how many times workers at restaurants said, “I appreciate you! No, thank you! Stay safe out there.”

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Brandon

No the best solution for climate change is everyone working from single family residences…
I don’t think you thought this through.

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Brandon

Walmart killed business in small downtowns throughout the country. Amazon is killing small business.
Just because it’s a thing does not mean it’s a good thing.

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

And if more people lived in Downtown, perhaps there would be enough people to support them…especially if they were WFH employees that choose to go to the same places you just mentioned for lunch. Are you just being combative now?

ELI
ELI
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

So are you going to ban people from packing a lunch from home too? Forcing people into an unsustainable work model to increase business to restaurants doesn’t make sense.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  ELI

Going to work outside your house is an unsustainable work model?

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

There’s also the consideration that the cost of the real estate they’re occupying needs to be justified…instead of being converted into (needed) affordable housing

PS
PS
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray

So, the $200MM+ we just spent redoing their building for city employees to work in is worth what exactly?

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

Further justification for more funding? Also, I’m not generally referring to city employees or offices. But I guess you “got” me since the parent comment is about City employees.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray

So you are not referring to city employers or offices or Apple, it must be the food carts or something you don’t think is needed downtown?
Please elaborate for us.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

I love working from home as much as anyone, but if part of your mission is to revitalize downtown, it kind of makes sense to operate your enterprise in a way that supports that mission.

I think the argument is legit, even if I wouldn’t want to commute to a city job downtown.

PTB
PTB
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

Welcome to Portland in late 1976 and early 1977. Three hundred eighty thousand people live within the city limits. while the metropolitan area boasts a population of half a million. According to TIME magazine, Portland in 1976 is the most liveable city in the United States. Portland’s mayor, Neil Goldschmidt is attempting to halt the flight to the suburbs by concentrating on mass transit and the revitalization of downtown. The year’s weather has been odd; a wet bicentennial summer preceded the greatest winter drought in Oregon’s history. Cloudseeding has been used to coerce rain from cold, dry skies. It’s been a calm year-a year without wars or riots, a year without a gas shortage, though inflation is a problem. Portland’s basketball team has stirred the citizenry more than anything else; the team is winning.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Humans and every other life form on Earth are trying to stay alive right now. They all appreciate your support!

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

I personally enjoy watching city vehicles idle for long periods of time while parked.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

It looks like those who are lobbying hard for climate change action at City Hall are the same folks some of you deride for being active with Neighborhood Associations (i.e. older, white, probably retired).

To those active on this issue, I say a heartfelt “thank you”, regardless of who you are.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Probably the same lobbyists who decided to tell the police to go pound sand and let our city become a lawless hell.

Amit Zinman (Contributor)
1 month ago

XR is funny as most of the people who come to these demonstrations drive there, even all the way from Eugene! I just hope that for once they left their fire truck at home.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Amit Zinman

A few extra trips between Eugene and Portland are (almost literally) nothing in the big picture. Large scale (i.e. governmental, corporate, and industrial) change is where the balance will tip.

I am happy that people are willing to travel from Eugene to lobby on this issue when so many “activists” here in Portland (myself included) don’t even bother show up.

Maybe if we got off Twitter and did our part, they wouldn’t have to come.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Amit Zinman

I’m very anti-car and pro bike but I’m glad they showed up by whatever means necessary.

This is a bigger & more important point

“Weil said the plan is particularly weak concerning transportation, adding that the City of Portland has not shown they will stand up to the Oregon Department of Transportation where climate action is concerned.”

You can drive a car and be against the I-5 project. You can drive a car and care about many other social issues such as BLM, Occupy ICE, oil trains/Zenith Energy, and be engaged in local political issues like charter reform, police reform.

I’ve worked with some of these folks in the past on many of those issues. Cars aren’t going away anytime soon as much as I wish they would and for all of these issues we need as many allies, cooperators & collaborators as we can get.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Amit Zinman

Also, some of these folks are classic Liberals. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

They’ve been politically involved in Portland for a long time and they’ve a fairly big network of people and resources all around Oregon & Washington.

They use tools like power mapping. Which is researching who has the power to make decisions on an issue and how they can best apply public pressure.

They’re some smart, tough, old birds in that crowd who aren’t afraid to show up, make their voices heard, take action & apply political pressure.

We’d all be the wiser to learn from them.

Pagnostolic
Pagnostolic
1 month ago
Reply to  Amit Zinman

We took the MAX train. What-ever.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Pagnostolic

But come on… you must of have done something that discredits your efforts in some small or trivial way. Just tell us what it is so we can dismiss you and move on. Don’t make us guess.

Pagnostolic
Pagnostolic
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

LOL…. Yeah, we *did* drive to the MAX station. Although at other times we walk to the bus stop and transfer to light rail. 《/virtue signaling》
Suiting up and showing up isn’t always easy for those who keep regular working hours, so older folks can answer the call for bodies and take up the slack.

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
1 month ago

It’s fruitless trying to stop a few local drivers from driving when greenhouse gas emissions continue to skyrocket worldwide, and scientists say we’ve already passed the tipping point.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Mike Quigley

I strongly disagree with you Mike. The “it’s pointless” attitude is really not great. All politics is local, a butterfly flaps its wings, do what you can with what you have where you are… and so on and so forth. Every little thing we do matters IMO.

Individual actions will save us!!1!
Individual actions will save us!!1!
1 month ago

Every little thing we do matters IMO.

Banning plastic straws?
Combusting biodiesel?
Claiming that a bike fights climate change while bike mode share plummets?
Claiming that EVs will not save us while purchasing and/or driving fossil-fuel powered SUVs?

was carless
was carless
1 month ago

Greenhouse gas emissions in the US are overwhelmingly NOT from the personal transport sector, which only comprises about 25% of emissions.

The rest of emissions from from these sectors:

  • electricity generation (so anyone posting on the internet or using web services is part of thebproblem)
  • industrial emissions including resource extraction and steel/concrete production. Nothing you do will ever impact this
  • heating and cooling buildings. Office buildings are 3-4 times more efficient than people working from home
  • Air travel & international shipping
  • Methane and co2 releases from agriculture

Almost every poster in this thread is tilting at windmills. Your personal co2 emissions from driving 15,000 miles a year in a 10 mpg pickup truck would be 15 tons annually.

Global emissions are at 36.3 billion tons. Your personal impact from driving is 2.75 x 10^-10.

Or 0.00000000275% of global emissions

if every Portlander stopped driving that would still only be 0.000062% of global emissions.

So we absolutely need to reduce our greenhouse emissions, but shaming people to avoid driving to ride bicycles in an unsafe environment is not the way. Claiming that all office work needs to be done at your personal home, which costs more energy to heat and cool than an office building also isnt the solution. And in fact, is a non solution to anyone living in a small or studio apartment or has children.

The only way meaningful change will happen is through governmental regulation (like california banning gas cars) or major business/ structural economic change. Ie, shutting down the coal power plamts and installing wind, solar and city sized battery systems. Switching from fossil fuel to hydrogen or ammonia fuel for shipping and aviation. Etc.

Everything else is just a distraction and is the worst form of performative virtue signaling.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  was carless

“Greenhouse gas emissions in the US are overwhelmingly NOT from the personal transport sector, which only comprises about 25% of emissions.”

Per EPA data all other sectors are roughly equal coming in between 15 to 25%.

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

Personal transportation is one source of GHG emissions that we’ve a lot of control over and quite few options. Especially in cities.

And just b’cuz you can drive yourself in your own car every trip should you?

Have you ever notice how many cars only have 1 person in them?

With 8 billion people on the earth and climate change happening now, I personal think it’s ethically irresponsible for one not to make appropriate changes and encourage others to do so as well.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m very anti-car for many reasons beyond GHG emissions such as air pollution, noise pollution, injuries, death, property damage, large use of public space for a car to just sit still taking up space for the vast majority of its life. Not too mention that all of us subsidize the cost of public parking to boot.

And what about all the resources, energy and toxic materials in a car just so one can move themselves around town. We’ve got giant extractive, destructive, polluting industries that are selling not on this product but the idea that we all need one to get work, school and the grocery store.

And when you burn fossil fuels that you don’t have to than more fossil fuels have to be destructively extracted from a finite pool and energy has to be used to refine & transport them.

It seems pretty eff’n insane to me, especially when I can bike 50 miles on a bowl of oatmeal, toast w. peanut butter and a couple of cups of tea & a few liters of water.

Full disclosure, I’m the son of a United Auto Worker Union President who grew up loving all forms of gas powered motorized racing & sports. I was a helicopter mechanic in the ARMY.

But virtue signaling & windmill tilting aside, I digress.

But the most important thing to understand is the GHG emissions is only part of Climate Change and Climate Change is just a symptom of Earth ecological overshoot.

https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/

“Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year:”

Ecological breakdown is the actual problem that Climate Change is a symptom off.

“Humans pride themselves as being the most ‘intelligent’ species on Earth yet, despite a half century of stark warnings by many of our best scientists, the human enterprise remains in a state of potentially fatal ‘overshoot’. 

The human enterprise is exploiting ecosystems far beyond nature’s regenerative and waste assimilative capacities; we are growing by liquidating the biophysical basis of our own existence. 

Modern techno-industrial (MTI) society cannot be ‘reformed’ to mesh harmoniously with biophysical reality. Hubris, born of humanity’s clever success in manipulating the material world, blinds us to symptoms of impending systemic collapse.

The behaviour of politicians and ordinary people often springs from wilful ignorance or deep denial, papered over by unwarranted confidence in technological solutions. Aspirations to high intelligence aside, H. sapiens is not primarily a rational species – but there is a way forward.”

Bio note: William Rees, PhD, FRSC

Damien
Damien
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

The “tipping point” and “X°C warming” targets are well-intentioned, but perhaps unfortunately demoralizing misnomers. In reality, it’s just a spectrum – the hotter we make it, the worse off we’ll be. The more we do to avoid making it hotter, the less hot it’ll become and the less-worse off we’ll be.

That is to say, everything does help, because 2.000000000000000001° of warming is better than 2.000000000000000002° of warming, and so on. There are no neat checkpoints (except for political messaging).

Serenity
Serenity
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

Not helpful, Mike.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

I wouldn’t say it’s fruitless, but I get what you’re saying. Global GHG emissions aren’t moving in the right direction.

The only way to stop people from driving is to make it illegal. Prolly not going to happen.

But we can & should incentivize people to use other forms of transportation. That’d make a big difference.

I’ve noticed don’t fair to well in floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes.

Maybe that’s a good incentive to not own & drive a car.

Also, If I know Capitalism, there’s going to be a day when insurance companies aren’t going to want to pay out for “Acts of Nature/God.”

In fact, people with coastal properties are having a more difficult time getting insurance.

The real problem w. tipping points is the possibility of triggering feedback loops which could exponentially increase the rate & scale of extreme weather events and climate change.

“The world still has the means to keep warming below 1.5°C, but “what is lacking is political will.” — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

I wish these folks were as vocal on the money we’re pouring into a foreign war.

Brandon
Brandon
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

You want this specific group to focus on many different issues that you’re against? How do you know members of this group aren’t against other issues?

Caleb
Caleb
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

Considering the US military is one of the world’s greatest carbon emitters, I suspect these folks pay attention to foreign war and maybe even take action on it.

PS
PS
1 month ago

So to fund the changes that getting to a net zero emissions environment in 3 years would require (this group’s second mandate per their website) they are going to be willing to add a tax to their social security checks, 401k distributions, home sales with greater than 100% in price appreciation and a 95% estate tax on estates in excess of $2MM, right? Otherwise, the hot air is the last thing we need according to them.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

There are many people out there (including me) who would be willing to pay a fair bit more if we could achieve net zero in 3 years. I’m not sure this is the “gotcha” you think it is.

PS
PS
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

It isn’t meant to be a “gotcha”, it is question of are these individuals also willing to sacrifice their quality of life or are they just pushing their suggestions as a burden for others to absorb. I’ve found that as soon as the solution also reaches deep into their pockets, the desire for such radical change diminishes quickly. Of course this is also tounge-in-cheek as well, because no reasonable person would conclude the government has the capital allocation skills to get to that objective anyway.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

I am surely not alone in seeing that in a low carbon economy, my quality of life may actually improve (in some ways at least). I would love to have greatly reduced air pollution, quieter streets, more trees, better alternatives to driving, etc.*

But I don’t fully accept the premise of your comment — I don’t think we need “radical change” to decarbonize our world. We just need sustained incremental change, and that’s happening. Relatively small incentives can accelerate our progress, and we will adjust to obstacles we encounter along the way, just like we always have.

*Listed in order of a looser coupling with CO2 reductions

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I’m guessing you’re not one of the many climate scientists protesting in the streets, demanding “radical change” such as the end of the fossil fuel industry.

Carl Sagan testified to Congress about Green House Gases in 1985. In his testimony he said, “The immediate stoppage of burning fossil fuels would’ve such severe economic consequences that no one would take it seriously.”

Almost 40 yrs later, climate scientists are protesting in the streets about it.

But what, there’s more. Catastrophic climate change also includes more frequent extreme weather events. the collapse of the ecological web due to loss of pollinators, massive loss of arable land. Can you say “Hunger stones”?

The only city in America who is actually taking appropriate action on climate change is Miami because they’ve a clue of what’s coming and are on the front line.

https://www.miamidade.gov/global/economy/resilience/climate-strategy/home.page

Action talks and bullshit (media) walks.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” — Mohammad Ali.

Catastrophic climate change is punching people in the face right now and the beatings are only going to get worse and more frequent.

So, buckle-up buttercup, b’cuz shit is gonna get real and we’re not at all ready for it.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

We definitely need to phase out fossil fuels. I am arguing that doing so will not require donning a hair shirt, and that we can get there through steady moderate change sustained over the next few decades.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Well, good luck with that. I’ll be dead and I won’t have to live in that world.

PS
PS
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Sorry Watts, I was directly referencing one of the stated goals of this group highlighted in the article, they call for net zero emissions by 2025 and for doing so by working with all international communities. That by every metric would require an absolute huge restructuring of how we live and could not come without an adjustment to quality of life. I am will you 100% otherwise, small incremental change is the way forward, unfortunately, many progressives are not fond of that because it doesn’t shift the status quo noticeably from one election cycle to the next and gets conflated with conservatism.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

2025 is not going to happen, as everyone should be able to acknowledge. Nonetheless the aspirational goal may still make sense, just as the 25% mode share goal made sense (even though no one seriously thought we could achieve it).

So I read that goal as “let’s move quickly and aggressively”, not “we can literally do this”.

“Progressives” are making the climate change problem more challenging by tying it to other goals that really aren’t connected (like improving wealth inequality). We should certainly work on that issue, but independently of addressing climate change.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Either you or the Progs you’re referring to have a misunderstanding.

“Research shows that the richest 1% are responsible for twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest half of humanity. Yet those living in low-income areas and who are already facing the multidimensional burdens of poverty will bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change.”

6 Ways to Fix the Climate While Fighting Economic Inequality

Inequality and climate change: the rich must step up

How Wealth Inequality Powers Climate Change – Bloomberg.com

Tackling Climate Change Equitably – Inequality.org
Climate Change Has Already Increased Global Inequality | Time

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

All true. I’m just saying that by making the problem bigger, it gets harder to solve. Some adjacent issues do provide leverage to attack climate change (like how educating girls curbs population growth), but many don’t.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

For any substantial change to happen in regards to moving away from the climate change ledge there has to be a coordinated global effort.

We can make Portland the greenest city on Earth but if nothing changes in India & China, it’s all for naught.

It ‘s also not just that “it doesn’t shift the status quo noticeably from one election cycle to the next”, it’s also that exec orders get undone, policy gets reversed, agencies are underfunded and/or are understaffed.

Peak Oil is still a reality and the current forecast is we’ll hit in the next 10 to 15 years. That’s going to be global socioeconomic problem and it we don’t start making changes now it’s going to be a much bigger problem.

Transition Towns are example of people who take all this very seriously and are responding appropriately.

I’ll say it again, we’ve got climate scientists protesting in the streets and getting arrested encouraging people to be climate activists.

Not too mention that you’ve a whole generation of kids who think the only job worth doing is to work against climate change. These kids can’t even just enjoy their childhood as I did, They got this shit hanging over their heads, their marching in the streets and going to city hall. This just happened this past summer in Portland.

Let’s not forget there’s always going to be the lazy, greedy, dumb, selfish who are going to work against the best efforts to change. And by my estimate that’s approximately 50% of this country right now.

People don’t want to accept the climate science because they don’t want to or don’t think they’re capable of making the changes necessary.

Which I get, I’ve made a lot of lifestyle changes in the past 1t5 years. I left the tech field, vegan, car-free, don’t buy anything new, live simpler, get more politically educated & engaged, stay up to date on the climate science and how people around the world are being affected and how they’re responding.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

So, I’m not sure what you’re saying. If your message is “we’ve got to get serious about addressing climate change, and the whole world needs to join us”, then yes, I agree, and I’m optimistic because the economics align nicely with the climate science, and our main task is overcoming the inertia that is slowing our progress.

I’m less worried about those who don’t accept climate change, because they will accept the value proposition that comes with a transition powered by economics. That’s why I’m excited to see the electric Ford F-150. Electric vehicles may be for twinkies, but the Lightning is for “real people”.

ELI
ELI
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

I suspect these folks and many of us in this comment section, are aware that the outcomes of climate change are going to (ahh, already are, 56 deaths last year during the heat wave) impact our quality of life. Again, you seem to be making unfounded assumptions about the folks doing this work. I can’t speak for them, but for myself, never owning a car has never negatively impacted my quality of life, though for some it’s unthinkable. When we’re faced with regular extreme heat (either in duration or temperature) or extreme winter strorms that take out power, or increased food costs, EVERYONE’S quality of life is going to go down. More wealthy people will be insulated from it for a while. So yes, I think these folks showing up are willing to voluntarily cut some things (I think it’s weird to frame *that* as quality of life) to lighten the degrees to which climate change will impact our actual quality of life. You can’t order from Amazon if you’re dead.

Robert Wallis
Robert Wallis
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Good to see PS is thinking about the reality of funding. I am not sure this group is. Take a look at this groups “demands” and you will see that they go way beyond the goal of cutting carbon emissions. Like the related goal of more sensible transportation, adding other social goals to cutting carbon emissions is not going to help achieve that goal, unless you ignore the reality of funding. I sometimes feel that activist organizations have such little confidence in their goals being achieved that they shoot for the moon. Something like – if you are going to dream, dream big.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  PS

I know it’s hard to believe that some people care more about their children, their communities and the only home that all living beings depend on for survival than money.

That’s what Capitalism does, it makes people think & act based ONLY in terms of $.

As the saying goes, “You can’t eat money.”

“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” Cree proverb.

As the kids like to say “F! around and find out!” We’ve done the former and now we’re finding out.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

Then I remember all of the successful Marxist regimes and how many people had to be killed for them to even start to exist.

MC
MC
1 month ago

Yeah, I mean Capitalism is such a shining beacon of success in the world we’ve to keep bailing out, subsidizing corporations by the billions of dollars and giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy to just to keep it functioning.

Let’s take Capitalism off of financial life support and see how long it survives.

You should probably go into your local gov’t office and fill out an ID-10-T form.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

If improved standard of living or live expectancy are reasonable measures, then capitalism has done pretty well so far.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure, if you consider the utter destruction of the entire ecological web of life an “improved standard of living.”

Also, “life expectancy” just means Capitalism gets to capitalize on your labor for more years of your life to feed itself.

To say that Capitalism itself is the sole cause for a longer life expectancy is completely uniformed and willfully ignorant.

“On the Greek island of Ikaria, people are far more likely to live to 100, and diseases like lung cancer mysteriously disappear.”

Almost 25 yrs more than in the United Sates of Capitalism.

I didn’t see any credit given to Capitalism in the article but what I did see was many references to a slower, simpler lifestyle. Something not generally associated w. the constant production & consumption needed to keep Capitalism afloat and just makes the wealthier Capitalist class wealthier.

https://www.rd.com/article/island-people-forget-to-die/

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/life-expectancy.htm

“Since the early 1800s, Finch writes that life expectancy at birth has doubled in a period of only 10 or so generations. Improved health care, sanitation, immunizations, access to clean running water, and better nutrition are all credited with the massive increase.”

Hmm, don’t see any credit to Capitalism here either. All of those human endeavors don’t require Capitalism.

Anyway, I just love how non-Capitalist laborers defend a system that not only doesn’t work for them but actively works against their own interests.

Yes, I participate in Capitalism, but I only interface with as minimally as is necessary.

For the past 14 years I approximate that I worked for about 7 of those years and for the other 7 just lived off the excess that Capitalism produces.

I traveled, played & listened to music, made art, built/invented stuff, hiked, biked, read, watched documentaries, thought, developed new skills, hung out w. friends and generally enjoyed all the mostly free / inexpensive activities that are available.

But oh. what was that you were saying about Capitalism again???

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

There’s nothing anti-capitalist about leading a slower, simpler lifestyle. If that’s what you want, you’re free to pursue it. I think people are generally wired to value the acquisition of money and stuff more generally, but that’s a human nature problem, not one inherent to capitalism.

There’s also nothing inherently capitalist about disregarding external costs; that’s something all systems are prone to do. The government can (and should) add correctives, as we’ve done numerous times, and I’m sure we’ll do again. I’m not at all anti-regulation or anti-social welfare.

What I’m saying about capitalism is that it supports all sorts of economic structures, including worker collectives, co-ops, and other “anti-capitalist” enterprises, as well as enjoying the fruits of your labor (or that of your parents) by disconnecting for 7 years.

It sounds like it’s working out pretty well for you — what other system would provide you the freedom to lead your life of semi-leisure?

MC
MC
1 month ago

“The average motorist will pay a whopping $650,000 on the low end to own a car over his or her lifetime, and society will pick up over 40 percent of the tab, a new study finds —

In a new study in Ecological Economics, an intl. team of researchers comprehensively modeled the costs of car ownership over 50 yrs., accounting not just for the price the driver pays to keep the car running, but the cost that society pays as a direct result of that driver’s choice of mode.”

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2022/02/09/study-car-ownership-costs-all-of-us-the-vehicle-owner-and-society/

I haven’t had a car payment since 2004. There’s a range of car ownership costs from $5k on the low end to $10k on the high-end. For sake of argument, let’s split the difference at $7.5k

That’s $135,000 I didn’t have to earn by working for someone else under Capitalism so that I could then turn around and pay a 1/4 of my earnings to Capitalist orgs. such as banks, insurance, automakers and fossil fuel companies just for the uh, “privilege” of owning my own car & driving wherever and whenever my heart desires.

The average length of a car loan in the U.S. is 6 rs, so that’s $45k The median income in the U.S. is $54k. After taxes, it’s $42k.

I don’t know what anyone’s particular situation is but that is effing depressing that 20% of your time working goes to pay for something that just sits still most of its life and depreciates in value.

But whatever, cars & capitalism. All these global corporations aren’t your friend and yet you defend this insane crap like they’re a beloved family member.

There’s way more to life than producing & consuming and I hope one day you figure that out before you’re too old to actually enjoy the experience of just living on the earth as a mostly free living being with in harmony with all the other human beings.

I watched both of my working class parents and the working class parents of my friends & neighbors be ground down trying to survive economically. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and I don’t wish it upon anyone, not even my worst enemy.

Sequoia
Sequoia
23 days ago

My friend, Aaron Tarfman, used to say, “I live simply, so others can simply live.”

I remember being told the phrase, “waste not, want not” as a kid, told to put a sweater & hat on when it was cold in the house & to turn the lights off when I left the room.”

It’s not lost on me that a bunch of white people who don’t have oil refineries in their backyard killing their families, friends & community from carcinogenic particulates in the air have the luxury to talk about what % of GHG comes from tailpipes or how we just have to make gradual progress.

Allow me to presume these same people don’t make their living as fisherman in the gulf of Mexico nor live in Port Arthur, TX nor aren’t Indigenous people who have oil pipelines crossing their unceded land that when, not if, they leak will destroy their water source and the land the hunt & farm on nor do they live near the Alberta Tar Sands nor near the many oil pipelines that snake across the country nor did an oil train crash & blow up in the center of their town or near their children’s school.

I don’t understand why anyone who has a clue about about big oil companies would give them 1 effing red cent.