Climate deniers are everywhere. If we didn't already know that they were funded by Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Right Wing Billionaires (the Kochtopus has many tentacles) it would surely be a mystery as to how on earth they managed to make a living. At every level – town hall meeting, local paper, climate blog – these people pop up, often repeatedly, to cut and paste absolute lies about climate change. They do not care how stupid they sound, how many times they are proven to be liars, or indeed what damage said lies might do to the planet and humanity in the long run. They cannot be convinced either.
But they must be challenged. As must the people who give equal weight and space to their views. Without opening a can of worms RE free spech (which is a very misunderstood notion) I should just say that I think it bad journalism to publish their dangerous lies. It skews the debate to make it seem like there is legitimacy in climate denialism – there isn't.
College of the Atlantic is in many ways a college like any other. Similar to many colleges, we have student committees, dorms, clubs, environmental commitments, engaged students actively working to do something about the climate crisis we face, and an endowment made up largely of stocks and bonds of companies we’d rather not associate ourselves with. COA is also a very unique college. This College was born out of the US environmental movement. From the onset, it was to be an “experimental college” based on the precepts of social consciousness and ecological thinking. While we are more of an insular community than an utopia, things happen differently here, although not all that differently.
The rally in Portland last Saturday does not and cannot stand alone. While we try to prevent Tar Sands oil from entering the Northeast, and the battle against the Keystone XL continues, the Alberta Tar Sands still show no signs of defeat. Over a million barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil continue to be extracted every day. Even if Canada can’t send its oil South, there’s still the option of exporting it out West. The Conservative government continues to push for Enbridge’s grand proposal: The Northern Gateway Project—1,170km of pipeline to pump oil from the Tar Sands to the coast of British Columbia for export to the US and Asia. It doesn’t take much examination to see that, like the other proposed pipelines, this project is not a gateway to ‘prosperity for all’ as the company suggests, but merely a gateway to more environmental, social and cultural destruction.
I’m currently writing this post from my phone in a van on the way to the rally against the flow-reversal of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline. Thirty COA students are heading down, quite a few of whom are involved with Earth in Brackets.