Dolphins drowning in oil‏

image

From Avaaz:

Dear friends,

I live on the California coast, and I’m crying as I write this. Last week a massive oil pipeline burst off of Santa Barbara, and now thousands of dolphins, sea lions, and pelicans are drowning in slick rivers of oil. But my rage and sadness is also hope, because I know together we can make sure this never happens again.

While our rocky shores are awash in oil and dead fish, Plains All American CEO Greg Armstrong raked in over $5 million in compensation last year, and is guaranteed $29 – $87 million in golden parachute cash! These guys broke the law to make a quick buck. But if we hold them accountable, we can prevent another catastrophe by putting oil company executives everywhere on notice that they can’t get away with these kinds of shady games on our watch.

Let’s tell California Attorney General Kamala Harris and local District Attorney Joyce Dudly to file civil and criminal charges against Plains All American and its shady CEOs! Sign now, and spread the word:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/santa_barbara_oil_spill_loc/?bVYyJab&v=59386

The pipeline that burst lacked basic safety features, like an automatic shut-off valve. And Plains All American is one of the most reckless companies in the US, with over 175 documented violations in the past decade.  They’ve been warned time and again, but did nothing.

I live in San Diego, just 200 miles south of this devastating oil spill. My best days are the days I surf with seals and dolphins. Floating in the waves as they frolic with joy and abandon makes the whole world make sense.

These precious creatures are now drowning in oil because of the profiteering short cuts of the Plains All American, but we can hold the culprits accountable. Click now to tell the DA and AG to bring the maximum possible charges:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/santa_barbara_oil_spill_loc/?bVYyJab&v=59386

50 years ago a similar oil spill devastated Santa Barbara’s coastal sanctuary, sparking the modern environmental movement around the world.  Together people everywhere rose-up then in fury and hope, writing new laws to protect our planet and our children’s future.  Let us allow this tragedy to renew our determination, so together we can rise again.

With love and hope,

Terra, Joseph, Rosa and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Santa Barbara oil spill: Authorities, environmentalists step up response (CNN)
http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/22/us/california-oil-spill

Santa Barbara oil pipeline leak rekindles memories of 1969 disaster (LA Times)
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-santa-barbara-spill-20150521-story.html#page=1

Huge Oversight Gap on Refugio Pipeline (Santa Barbara Independent)
http://www.independent.com/news/2015/may/21/whos-watching-man-whos-watching-pipeline

SEC Form 10-K Annual Report (SEC)
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1070423/000110465915013616/a14-25277_110k.htm#Item11_Executiv…

Executive Profile (Boardroom Insiders)
http://people.equilar.com/bio/greg-armstrong-plains-all/salary/25718#.VWYDse0azCQ


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Mounting Evidence Has Republican Climate Change Deniers on Thin Ice for 2016

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13541

Transcript

Mounting Evidence Has Republican Climate Change Deniers on Thin Ice for 2016SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Political posturing among climate-change deniers in the Republican Party is heating up, leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. The Republicans are all repeating the same position. They’re saying that our climate is changing; yes, we can see that. In fact, the climate is always changing, says Mark Rubio, senator from Florida. But they say that humans have little to do with it. Any effort to link the two is seen as an effort to destroy the economy. The new Republican Senate in January passed a climate-change resolution for the first time in eight years on this topic. They voted 98 to 1 to approve a resolution stating that climate change is real and not a hoax. If that sounds good, it is. But then the Senate rejected a second amendment that stated climate change is real and it is significantly caused by humans. Jeb Bush, who is seen as a frontrunner, according to The New York Times, is on record saying, what I get a little tired of is that on the left, this idea that somehow science has decided all this is so, so you can’t have an opinion. That is according to the Washington Post article by Paul Waldman. Further, Ted Cruz, who recently announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, is on record at CNN saying, in the “last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming.”Well, science tells us otherwise. It has recorded 2014 as the warmest year in recorded history. Now joining me to discuss what is really going on here among the Republicans is Michael E. Mann and Subhanker Banerjee. Subhanker Banerjee is coming to us from Port Towsend, Washington. And Subhankar is an environmental and humanities scholar and activist. He founded ClimateStorytellers.org and is editor of the anthology Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point. We’re also joined by Michael E. Mann, joining us from State College, Pennsylvania. Dr. Michael E. Mann is a distinguished professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and author of the book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Thank you both for joining us. So I’m going to begin with you, Michael, here. Michael, recently we’ve seen some very dramatic reports in terms of the degree at which the ice caps are melting. How do we know that? How do we measure it? How do we know the ice caps are melting to the degree that it is?DR. MICHAEL E. MANN, DIR. OF EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE CENTER, PENN STATE UNIV.: Yeah. So we have a variety of measurements that we make. We use satellites primarily. We can use those satellites to measure the amount of mass that is actually contained within the ice sheets. So we can detect fairly small changes in how large the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet are through these satellite measurements. They’re basically measuring the gravity, the disturbance of the gravity field by these very large masses of ice. In addition, we can monitor changes in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean. We use satellite measurements. We can look at the surface and we can determine if it’s ice or if it’s open water. So we have very accurate assessments, for several decades now, of how much sea ice there is in the Arctic. We know that we are on a trajectory right now where we will see potentially ice-free conditions at the end of the summer in the Arctic Ocean, perhaps in just a matter of a few decades, far in advance of what the climate models had predicted just a few years ago. So here’s an example of where climate change is unfolding, and in a way that’s faster and has a greater magnitude than what the climate models actually have predicted. Well, it turns out that when you change the amount of sea ice in the Arctic, you change the amount of heat that escapes from the Arctic Ocean into that very cold Arctic atmosphere. And more than a decade ago, scientists began to speculate that as we saw a decrease in that sea ice in the Arctic, we would actually see a large enough change in the amount of heat that escapes from the ocean into the atmosphere in the late fall and the early winter that we would actually change the behavior of the jet stream. And not only would we change the behavior of the jet stream, but we would do it in a fairly specific way, in a way that causes the jet stream to swing way northward in the winter over the West Coast of the U.S., so that all of that moisture that normally comes to California in the winter instead goes northward. And it also takes all that warmth much farther the northward. So you get unusually warm winters in Alaska, in western North America, like we’ve seen this year in particular. You see very dry winters in California. California also had its hottest year on record last year. So you’ve got decreased precipitation, you’ve got increased warmth, which means increased evaporation, which means increased loss of water from the soils, and you get a perfect storm of consequences for drought. And that is why California has now experienced what we think is the worst drought in 1,200 years, in at least 1,200 years. There is almost certainly a human fingerprint in that drought. And my colleague Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, and I had a commentary a week ago in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where we explained how there is now mounting evidence that this historic drought that we’re seeing in California had a human fingerprint in it, the fingerprint of human-caused climate change. But it doesn’t stop there. You change the pattern of the jet stream in a way that may, ironically, give us more of those very powerful nor’easters that have pounded the Northeastern U.S. this winter, giving Boston record snow, producing fairly cold conditions in parts of the Northeastern U.S. So, that entire change in the behavior of the northern hemisphere jetstream and the very strange weather that we’re seeing around North America and around much of the rest of the world, climate change is now starting to play a role in that very unusual–in some measure, unprecedented–extreme weather that we’re seeing.PERIES: Michael, what is your take on the recent report we saw in terms of California having one year of water supply left?MANN: That’s right. It was a very distinguished colleague of mine, Jay Famiglietti, from the University of California, Irvine, who published an op-ed in the L.A. Times where he outlined why it is that California may be just one year away from water rationing. And when you think about it, right now California has record low snowpack, the lowest snowpack ever on record. So that means they’re not going to be getting that meltwater in the spring that provides them with some of the fresh water that they need. They haven’t been getting the rainfall they need. And you have certain special interests, like the natural gas industry, through fracking, using up a fair amount of water for energy. And so you have all these factors coming together in a way that could spell a disaster for California. If you ask Californians if climate change is real, not only is it real; it is impacting them in their daily lives now. And that’s true over an increasingly large part of the world.PERIES: And Subhankar, you’re a scholar of the Arctic and you’ve been monitoring and looking at the implications of the melting ice caps for quite a bit, for quite a long time. Tell us what your observations are.SUBHANKAR BANERJEE, EDITOR, ARCTIC VOICES: RESISTANCE AT THE TIPPING POINT: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I mean, I started my work in the Alaskan Arctic in 2001. And just to briefly summarize what Michael just talked about is why it is so significant, because when I started the work, we were beginning to see the impact of climate change on the Arctic ecology and human communities way back then. And I’ll give couple of quick examples. But what we’re seeing now: that what happens in the Arctic is impacting not only the Arctic but really kind of the northern hemisphere at large, and possibly many parts of the globe as well. So that’s why Michael’s comments were that these were all connected, what’s happening in the Arctic, to what’s happening in California, in the Northeast, and so on. Now, back to the–kind of in my earlier–one of the things that with the melting of the Arctic sea ice–and what we–because you mentioned Arctic ice cap, which is the Greenland ice sheet, and then we have the sea ice, which has hit a record winter maximum low. Usually the summer low is more significant, but the winter maximum is also low. Well, all that means is that the Arctic sea ice is on a death spiral. And that’s having significant impact on both the Arctic ecology and the human communities. And it is widely known that the polar bears are suffering. The–40 percent of the polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea in Arctic Alaska and Arctic Canada declined between 2001 and 2010. The walrus populations in the Chukchi Sea is really suffering. Six out of the last eight years, tens of thousands of walruses hauled out onto the barrier islands and the tundra because there was no sea ice for them to rest on. And there are many other impacts of the local ecology, the marine ecology. But what is not understood is that what’s happening in the Arctic Ocean is also impacting the land animals. And, in fact, I’ll give you one really kind of a sad example of that. In 2001, I had photographed 13 muskox, these kind of woolie, prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene era, and they’re in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a newborn calf in April. Today there is no muskox in the refuge. And one of the impact is this icing on the tundra in the winter because of increased precipitation and warmer weather. Instead of snow, you’re getting rain, and that becomes ice. And that then impacts the animals’ access to food sources. And that’s impacted the muskox in part. So climate change kind of took a toll on the Arctic refuge muskox. And then, right now, in the Norwegian Arctic, in the Svalbard Archipelago, in the reporting of this winter lowest record on the winter maximum sea ice extent, the Guardian journalist did a wonderful connection between the open water in the Arctic seas, but ice on the tundra of the Svalbard, which is impacting the same way the reindeer population did, that really struck me, because when it’s ice, they cannot break the ice through their hooves. And then you have the human communities. What’s happening–and I know this from first-hand experience from Arctic Alaska, that many human communities, indigenous communities, are now being forced to relocate. One example is, of course, Kivalina. Because of the reduced sea ice extent, you have more open water, more coastal erosion, combined with storms, as well as melting of the permafrost. These are all connected, happening. But let me just wrap this up by saying that what the melting, this rapid vanishing of the Arctic sea ice has opened up in my mind is perhaps the most significant contradiction of our time. And the contradiction is this. On one hand, the Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly, causing local, regional, as well as global impacts for human communities, as well as animal communities. At the same time, there is an incredible push to industrially exploit the Arctic seas for oil and gas. In fact, right now this month, the Obama administration is poised to give shale the kind of–one of the permits, and this will continue all through April, and Shell might, if they get all the permits from the Obama administration, will likely drill there. So it’s really–I see that as the greatest contradiction of our time. On one hand, the very thing that is destroying us, not only up there but all over, we are further destroying it by sending Shell and other oil companies to drill in the Arctic Ocean.PERIES: I want to thank you, gentlemen, for joining us today.MANN: Thank you. It was a pleasure.BANERJEE: Thanks so much, Sharmini.PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

Woman spends night chained to Shell ship

By Associated Press Published: May 23, 2015

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) – The Coast Guard says it has no plans to remove a woman who has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell’s exploratory oil drilling plans.

The activist attached herself to the ship anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle, on Friday evening.

The Coast Guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring the protester but took no action, Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. “We’re really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved,” Shearer said.

Authorities spoke with the woman and asked her to remove herself. “There’s no plans right now to do anything further,” Shearer said.

The ship isn’t scheduled to leave the port for several days.

Rob Lewis, a spokesman for the Bellingham activists, identified the woman who has suspended herself in a climbing harness from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger as Chiara Rose.

Lewis said she is protesting Shell’s plan for arctic drilling. He described the Arctic Challenger as a savior vessel that is used in the case of an oil leak, but said activists doubt its effectiveness at preventing environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

He confirmed that the Coast Guard was not interfering with Rose, but they had impounded … More:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Woman-chains-herself-to-Shell-ship-in-Bellingham-Bay-overnight-304814081.html

Principles of Deep Ecology

Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological and environmental philosophy characterized by its advocacy of the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and advocacy for a radical restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a subtle balance of complex inter-relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems.[1] Human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms constituting the natural order.

Deep ecology’s core principle is the belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected and regarded as having certain inalienable legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its utilitarian instrumental benefits for human use. It describes itself as “deep” because it regards itself as looking more deeply into the actual reality of humanity’s relationship with the natural world arriving at philosophically more profound conclusions than that of the prevailing view of ecology as a branch of biology. The movement does not subscribe to anthropocentric environmentalism (which is concerned with conservation of the environment only for exploitation by and for human purposes) since deep ecology is grounded in a quite different set of philosophical assumptions. Deep ecology takes a more holistic view of the world human beings live in and seeks to apply to life the understanding that the separate parts of the ecosystem (including humans) function as a whole. This philosophy provides a foundation for the environmental, ecology and green movements and has fostered a new system of environmental ethics advocating wilderness preservation, human population control and simple living.[2]

Principles[edit]

Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. The ethics of deep ecology hold that the survival of any part is dependent upon the well-being of the whole. Proponents of deep ecology offer an eight-tier platform to elucidate their claims:[3]

  1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
  2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs.
  4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
  5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
  6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
  7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.

These principles can be refined down into three simple propositions:

  1. Wilderness preservation;
  2. Human population control;
  3. Simple living (or treading lightly on the planet).[2]

Development[edit]

The phrase “deep ecology” was coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973.[4] Næss rejected the idea that beings can be ranked according to their relative value. For example, judgments on whether an animal has an eternal soul, whether it uses reason or whether it has consciousness (or indeed higher consciousness) have all been used to justify the ranking of the human animal as superior to other animals. Næss states that from an ecological point of view “the right of all forms [of life] to live is a universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species.”

This metaphysical idea is elucidated in Warwick Fox‘s claim that humanity and all other beings are “aspects of a single unfolding reality”.[5] As such Deep Ecology would support the view of Aldo Leopold in his book A Sand County Almanac that humans are “plain members of the biotic community”. They also would support Leopold’s “Land Ethic“: “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Daniel Quinn in Ishmael showed that an anthropocentric myth underlies our current view of the world.[6]

Deep ecology offers a philosophical basis for environmental advocacy which may, in turn, guide human activity against perceived self-destruction. Deep ecology and environmentalism hold that the science of ecology shows that ecosystems can absorb only limited change by humans or other dissonant influences. Further, both hold that the actions of modern civilization threaten global ecological well-being. Ecologists have described change and stability in ecological systems in various ways, including homeostasis, dynamic equilibrium, and “flux of nature”.[7] Regardless of which model is most accurate, environmentalists[citation needed] contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from its “natural” state through reduction of biodiversity, climate change, and other influences. As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction, at a rate of between 100 species a day, or possibly 140,000 species per year, a rate that is 10,000 times the background rate of extinction. Deep ecologists hope to influence social and political change through their philosophy. Næss has proposed, as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke writes, “that the earth’s human population should be reduced to about 100 million.”[8]

Scientific[edit]

Næss and Fox do not claim to use logic or induction to derive the philosophy directly from scientific ecology[9] but rather hold that scientific ecology directly implies the metaphysics of deep ecology, including its ideas about the self and further, that deep ecology finds scientific underpinnings in the fields of ecology and system dynamics.

In their 1985 book Deep Ecology,[10] Bill Devall and George Sessions describe a series of sources of deep ecology. They include the science of ecology itself, and cite its major contribution as the rediscovery in a modern context that “everything is connected to everything else.” They point out that some ecologists and natural historians, in addition to their scientific viewpoint, have developed a deep ecological consciousness—for some a political consciousness and at times a spiritual consciousness. This is a perspective beyond the strictly human viewpoint, beyond anthropocentrism. Among the scientists they mention specifically are Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, John Livingston, Paul R. Ehrlich and Barry Commoner, together with Frank Fraser Darling, Charles Sutherland Elton, Eugene Odum and Paul Sears.

A further scientific source for deep ecology adduced by Devall and Sessions is the “new physics”, which they describe as shattering Descartes‘s and Newton‘s vision of the universe as a machine explainable in terms of simple linear cause and effect. They propose that Nature is in a state of constant flux and reject the idea of observers as existing independent of their environment. They refer to Fritjof Capra‘s The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point for their characterisation of how the new physics leads to metaphysical and ecological views of interrelatedness, which, according to Capra, should make deep ecology a framework for future human societies. Devall and Sessions also credit the American poet and social critic Gary Snyder—with his devotion to Buddhism, Native American studies, the outdoors, and alternative social movements—as a major voice of wisdom in the evolution of their ideas.

The Gaia hypothesis was also an influence on the development of deep ecology.

Spiritual[edit]

The central spiritual tenet of deep ecology is that the human species is a part of the Earth, not separate from it, and as such human existence is dependent on the diverse organisms within the natural world each playing a role in the natural economy of the biosphere. Coming to an awareness of this reality involves a transformation of an outlook that presupposes humanity’s superiority over the natural world. This self-realisation or “re-earthing”[11] is used for an individual to intuitively gain an ecocentric perspective. The notion is based on the idea that the more we expand the self to identify with “others” (people, animals, ecosystems), the more we realize ourselves. Transpersonal psychology has been used by Warwick Fox to support this idea. Deep ecology has influenced the development of contemporary Ecospirituality.[12]

A number of spiritual and philosophical traditions including Native American, Buddhist and Jain are drawn upon in a continuing critique of the philosophical assumptions of the modern European mind which has enabled and led to what is seen as an increasingly unsustainable level of disregard to towards the rights and needs of the natural world and its ability to continue to support human life. In relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition, Næss offers the following criticism: “The arrogance of stewardship [as found in the Bible] consists in the idea of superiority which underlies the thought that we exist to watch over nature like a highly respected middleman between the Creator and Creation.”[13] This theme had been expounded in Lynn Townsend White, Jr.‘s 1967 article “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”,[14] in which however he also offered as an alternative Christian view of man’s relation to nature that of Saint Francis of Assisi, who he says spoke for the equality of all creatures, in place of the idea of man’s domination over creation. Næss’ further criticizes the reformation’s view of creation as property to be put into maximum productive use: a view used frequently in the past to exploit and dispossess native populations. Many Protestant sects today regard the Bible’s call for man to have stewardship of the earth as a call for the care for creation, rather than for exploitation.

The original Christian teachings on property support the Franciscan/stewardship interpretation of the Bible. Against this view, Martin Luther condemned church ownership of lands because “they did not want to use that property in an economically productive fashion. At best they used it to produce prayers. Luther, and other Reformation leaders insisted that it should be used, not to relieve men from the necessity of working, but as a tool for making more goods. The attitude of the Reformation was practically, “not prayers, but production.” And production, not for consumption, but for more production.” This justification was offered to support secular takings of church endowments and properties.[15]

Philosophical roots[edit]

Spinoza[edit]

Arne Næss, who first wrote about the idea of deep ecology, from the early days of developing this outlook conceived Baruch Spinoza as a philosophical source.[16]

Others have followed Naess’ inquiry, including Eccy de Jonge, in Spinoza and Deep Ecology: Challenging Traditional Approaches to Environmentalism,[17] and Brenden MacDonald, in Spinoza, Deep Ecology, and Human Diversity—Realization of Eco-Literacies[citation needed].

One of the topical centres of inquiry connecting Spinoza to Deep Ecology is “self-realization.” See Arne Næss in The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology movement and Spinoza and the Deep Ecology Movement for discussion on the role of Spinoza’s conception of self-realization and its link to deep ecology.

Criticism and debate[edit]

Knowledge of non-human interests[edit]

Animal rights activists state that for an entity to require rights and protection intrinsically, it must have interests.[18] Deep ecology is criticised for assuming that living things such as plants, for example, have their own interests as they are manifested by the plant’s behavior—for instance, self-preservation being considered an expression of a will to live. Deep ecologists claim to identify with non-human nature, and in doing so, deny those who claim that non-human (or non-sentient) lifeforms’ needs or interests are nonexistent or unknowable. The criticism is that the interests that a deep ecologist attributes to non-human organisms such as survival, reproduction, growth, and prosperity are really human interests. This is sometimes construed as a pathetic fallacy or anthropomorphism, in which “the earth is endowed with ‘wisdom’, wilderness equates with ‘freedom’, and life forms are said to emit ‘moral’ qualities.”[19][20]

“Deepness”[edit]

Deep ecology is criticised for its claim to being deeper than alternative theories, which by implication are shallow. When Arne Næss coined the term deep ecology, he compared it favourably with shallow environmentalism which he criticized for its utilitarian and anthropocentric attitude to nature and for its materialist and consumer-oriented outlook.[21] Against this is Arne Næss‘s own view that the “depth” of deep ecology resides in the persistence of its penetrative questioning, particularly in asking “Why?” when faced with initial answers.

Writer William D. Grey believes that developing a non-anthropocentric set of values is “a hopeless quest”. He seeks an improved “shallow” view, writing, “What’s wrong with shallow views is not their concern about the well-being of humans, but that they do not really consider enough in what that well-being consists. We need to develop an enriched, fortified anthropocentric notion of human interest to replace the dominant short-term, sectional and self-regarding conception.”[22]

Bookchin’s criticisms[edit]

Some critics, particularly social ecologist Murray Bookchin, have interpreted deep ecology as being hateful toward humanity, due in part to the characterization of humanity by some deep ecologists, such as David Foreman of Earth First!, as a pathological infestation on the Earth.[8] Bookchin[23][24] therefore asserts that “deep ecology, formulated largely by privileged male white academics, has managed to bring sincere naturalists like Paul Shepard into the same company as patently antihumanist and macho mountain men like David Foreman who preach a gospel that humanity is some kind of cancer in the world of life.”[23] Bookchin mentions that some, like Foreman, defend seemingly anti-human measures, such as severe population control and the claim regarding the Third World that “the best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let the people there just starve”.[23] However, Bookchin himself later admitted that “statements made by Earth First! activists are not to be confused with those made by deep ecology theorists.”[25] Ecophilosopher Warwick Fox similarly “warns critics not to commit the fallacy of ‘misplaced misanthropy.’ That is, just because deep ecology criticizes an arrogant anthropocentrism does not mean that deep ecology is misanthropic.”[25] Likewise, The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology attempts to clarify that “deep ecologists have been the strongest critics of anthropocentrism, so much so that they have often been accused of a mean-spirited misanthropy”; however, “deep ecology is actually vitally concerned with humans realizing their best potential” and “is explicit in offering a vision of an alternative way of living that is joyous and enlivening.”[26]

Murray Bookchin’s second major criticism is that deep ecology fails to link environmental crises with authoritarianism and hierarchy. Social ecologists like him believe that environmental problems are firmly rooted in the manner of human social interaction, and suggest that deep ecologists fail to recognise the potential for human beings to solve environmental issues through a change of cultural attitudes. According to Bookchin, it is a social reconstruction alone that “can spare the biosphere from virtual destruction.”[23] Though some deep ecologists may reject the argument that ecological behavior is rooted in the social paradigm (which, according to their view, would be an anthropocentric fallacy), others in fact embrace this argument, such as the adherents to the deep ecologist movement Deep Green Resistance.

Botkin’s criticism[edit]

Daniel Botkin[27] has likened deep ecology to its antithesis, the wise use movement, when he says that they both “misunderstand scientific information and then arrive at conclusions based on their misunderstanding, which are in turn used as justification for their ideologies. Both begin with an ideology and are political and social in focus.” Elsewhere, though, he asserts that deep ecology must be taken seriously in the debate about the relationship between humans and nature because it challenges the fundamental assumptions of Western philosophy. Botkin has also criticized Næss’s restatement and reliance upon the balance of nature idea and the perceived contradiction between his argument that all species are morally equal and his disparaging description of pioneering species.

Ecofeminist response[edit]

Both ecofeminism and deep ecology put forward a new conceptualization of the self. Some ecofeminists, such as Marti Kheel,[28] argue that self-realization and identification with all nature places too much emphasis on the whole, at the expense of the independent being. Similarly, some ecofeminists place more emphasis on the problem of androcentrism rather than anthropocentrism. To others, like Karen J. Warren, the domination of women is tethered conceptually and historically to the domination of nature. Ecofeminism denies abstract individualism and embraces the interconnectedness of the living world; relationships, including our relationship with non-human nature, are not extrinsic to our identity and are essential in defining what it means to be human. Warren argues that hierarchical classifications in general, such as racism or speciesism, are all forms of discrimination and are no different from sexism. Thus, anthropocentrism is simply another form of discrimination as a result of our flawed value structure and should be abolished.[29]

Links with other philosophies[edit]

Parallels have been drawn between deep ecology and other philosophies, in particular those of the animal rights movement, Earth First!, Deep Green Resistance, and anarcho-primitivism.

Peter Singer‘s 1975 book Animal Liberation critiqued anthropocentrism and put the case for animals to be given moral consideration. This can be seen as a part of a process of expanding the prevailing system of ethics to wider groupings. However, Singer has disagreed with deep ecology’s belief in the intrinsic value of nature separate from questions of suffering, taking a more utilitarian stance.[30] The feminist and civil rights movements also brought about expansion of the ethical system for their particular domains. Likewise deep ecology brought the whole of nature under moral consideration.[31] The links with animal rights are perhaps the strongest, as “proponents of such ideas argue that ‘All life has intrinsic value'”.[32]

Many in the radical environmental direct-action movement Earth First! claim to follow deep ecology, as indicated by one of their slogans No compromise in defence of mother earth. In particular, David Foreman, the co-founder of the movement, has also been a strong advocate for deep ecology, and engaged in a public debate with Murray Bookchin on the subject.[33][34] Judi Bari was another prominent Earth Firster who espoused deep ecology. Many Earth First! actions have a distinct deep ecological theme; often these actions will be to save an area of old growth forest, the habitat of a snail or an owl, even individual trees. Actions are often symbolic or have other political aims. At one point Arne Næss also engaged in environmental direct action, though not under the Earth First! banner, when he chained himself to rocks in front of Mardalsfossen, a waterfall in a Norwegian fjord, in a successful protest against the building of a dam.[35]

There are also anarchist currents in the movement, especially in the United Kingdom. For example Robert Hart, pioneer of forest gardening in temperate climates, wrote the essay “Can Life Survive?” in Deep Ecology & Anarchism.[36]

Robert Greenway and Theodore Roszak have employed the deep ecology platform as a means to argue for ecopsychology.[citation needed] Although ecopsychology is a highly differentiated umbrella that encompasses many practices and perspectives, its ethos is generally consistent with deep ecology.[citation needed] As this now almost forty-year-old “field” expands and continues to be reinterpreted by a variety of practitioners, social and natural scientists, and humanists, “ecopsychology” may change to include these novel perspectives.

Heidegger’s critique of technology has certainly inspired environmentalist and postmodernist of our time. Deep ecologists, like Heidegger, allege that certain metaphysical presuppositions are responsible for ecological destruction, and also contend that any transformation can be brought about only through a renewed awareness about the world. Then the key to environmental crisis, require an ontological shift: from an anthropocentric and utilitarian understanding of world to an understanding which lets things be. A non-anthropocentric humanity would probably initiate attitudes, practices, and institutions that would exhibit respect and care for all beings.

Early influences[edit]

Notable advocates of deep ecology[edit]

Relevant journals[edit]

Ironic Timing for New Offshore CA Oil Spill

Santa Barbara oil spill recalls 1969 spill that changed oil and gas exploration forever

The estimated 21,000-gallon oil spill that sent plumes of black through the waters off Santa Barbara County on Tuesday brought haunting echoes of a much larger spill nearly half a century ago, one that gave birth to the modern environmental movement and forever changed the trajectory of oil and gas exploration in California.

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 spewed an estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating an oil slick 35 miles long along California’s coast, and killing countless birds, fish and sea mammals.

Following the spill, the region became ground zero for some of the most significant conservation efforts of the 20th century.

More: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-santa-barbara-oil-spill-1969-20150520-htmlstory.html

Business as Usual: Oil pipeline spills about 21K gallons off California coast

The Associated Press

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — A broken pipeline spilled 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean before it was shut off Tuesday, creating a slick stretching about 4 miles along the central California coastline, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Authorities responding to reports of a foul smell near Refugio State Beach around noon found a half-mile slick already formed in the ocean, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. They traced the oil to the onshore pipeline that spilled into a culvert running under the U.S. 101 freeway and into a storm drain that empties into the ocean.

The pipeline was shut off about three hours later but by then the slick stretched four miles and 50 yards into the water.

“Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,” the company said in a statement.

The Coast Guard, county emergency officials and state parks officials were cleaning up the spill. Boats from the nonprofit collective Clean Seas also were providing help but were having trouble because so much of the oil was so close to the shore, Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennifer Williams said. About 850 gallons of oil have been recovered from the water, Williams said.

The accident occurred on the same stretch of coastline as a 1969 spill that at the time was the largest ever in U.S. waters and is credited for giving rise to the American environmental movement. Several hundred thousand gallons spilled from a blowout on an oil platform and thousands of sea birds were killed along with many marine mammals.

More: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/pipeline-bursts-spills-oil-off-california-coast/

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Anti-Arctic drilling kayaktivists to hold ‘Shell No’ protest

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Anti-Arctic-drilling-kayaktivists-hold-Shell-No-protest-303995901.html

The demand for oil is growing exponentially

addict2 Crude oil Clock: http://www.oildecline.com/
The time to kick the habit is now…safe_image

It has taken between 50-300 million years to form, and yet we have managed to burn roughly half of all global oil reserves in merely 125 years or so.

The world now consumes 85 million barrels of oil per day, or 40,000 gallons per second, and demand is growing exponentially.

Oil production in 33 out of 48 out countries has now peaked, including Kuwait, Russia and Mexico. Global oil production is now also approaching an all time peak and can potentially end our Industrial Civilization. The most distinguished and prominent geologists, oil industry experts, energy analysts and organizations all agree that big trouble is brewing.

The world is not running out of oil itself, but rather its ability to produce high-quality cheap and economically extractable oil on demand. After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject by the most widely respected & rational scientists, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil is reaching the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by Peak Oil. With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin a permanent & irreversible decline. The Stone Age did not end because of the lack of stones, and the Oil Age won’t end because of lack of oil. The issue is lack of further growth, followed by gradual, then steep decline. Dr King Hubbert correctly predicted peaking of USA oil production in the 1970’s on this basis.

It is now widely acknowledged by the world’s leading petroleum geologists that more than 95 percent of all recoverable oil has now been found. We therefore know, within a reasonable degree of certainty, the total amount of oil available to us. Any oil well has roughly the same life cycle where the production rate peaks before it goes into terminal decline. This happens when about half of the oil has been recovered from the well. We have consumed approximately half of the world’s total reserve of about 2.5 trillion barrels of conventional oil in the ground when we started drilling the first well at a current rate of over 30 billion a year, meaning the world is nearing its production plateau.

Worldwide discovery of oil peaked in 1964 and has followed a steady decline since. According to industry consultants IHS Energy, 90% of all known reserves are now in production, suggesting that few major discoveries remain to be made. There have been no significant discoveries of new oil since 2002. In 2001 there were 8 large scale discoveries, and in 2002 there were 3 such discoveries. In 2003 there were no large scale discoveries of oil. Given geologists’ sophisticated understanding of the characteristics that would indicate a major oil find, is is highly unlikely that any area large enough to be significant has eluded attention and no amount or kind of technology will alter that. Since 1981 we have consumed oil faster than we have found it, and the gap continues to widen. Developing an area such as the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has a ten year lead time and would ultimately produce well under 1% of what the world currently consumes (IEA).

Oil is now being consumed four times faster than it is being discovered, and the situation is becoming critical.

“The consumption of a finite resource is simply a finite venture and the faster we use the quicker it peaks”  (M. Simmons)

Global oil production is rapidly approaching its peak, even if natural gas liquids and expensive, destructive, risky deepwater and polar oil are included.

Recent Warnings:

“Peak oil is now.” German Energy Watch Group –2008

“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear..…” U.S. Department of Defense –2008 & 2010.

“A global peak is inevitable. The timing is uncertain, but the window is rapidly narrowing.” UK Energy Research Centre -2009

“The next five years will see us face … the oil crunch.” UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security –2009

 

The Saudi Arabia Case

With more than fifty oil-producing countries now in decline, focus on the oil-rich Middle East has sharpened dramatically. Countries of the Middle East have traditionally been able to relieve tight oil markets by increasing production, but, as the this region nears its own oil peak, any relief it can provide is limited and temporary.

Saudi Arabia is a major oil producer with 73% of all incremental world demand being met by this country. The worrying fact is that 90% of their production comes from only 5 mega fields (one is the Ghawar field which is the biggest ever discovered), and are all at risk of unplanned production collapse. In 2004 there were warning signs of production falling into depletion. For years, Aramco, the Saudi national company, use secondary recovery techniques by injecting enormous amounts of seawater (7 million  barrels daily) into their biggest field to boost production. These methods have only temporary effects, and lead to accelerated rates of depletion in the future.

Matt Simmons, long time energy analyst who studied energy for 34 years, in his book “Twilight in the Desert” effectively confronts the complacent belief that there are ample oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and has created a compelling case that Saudi Arabia production will soon reach a peak, after which its production will decline and the world will be confronted with a catastrophic oil shortage. The factual basis of the book is over 200 technical papers published over the last 20 years which individually detail problems with particular wells or particular fields, but which collectively demonstrate that the entire Saudi oil system is “old and fraying” with reserves deliberately vastly overestimated.

Geologist Dr Colin Campbell in a 1998 article in Scientific American also details numerous discrepancies about estimates in Middle East reserves. The extent of reserves reported remained amazingly constant from year to year and then jumped dramatically. A similar unexplainable jump occurred in other countries in the Middle East, sometimes even in the total absence of exploration, strongly suggesting that OPEC’s reserves are overstated.

 

Peak Oil Imminent

The only uncertainty about peak oil is the time scale, which is difficult to predict accurately. Over the years, accurate prediction of oil production was confronted by fluctuating ecological, economical, and political factors, which imposed many restrictions on its exploration, transportation, and supply and demand. At the end of 2009, the Kuwait university and the Kuwait Oil company collaborated in a study to predict the peak date using multicylic models, depending on the historical 2 oil production trend and known oil reserves of 47 major oil production countries, to overcome the limitations and restrictions associated with other previous models. Based on this model, world production is estimated to peak in 2014. Other experts, oil companies and analyst firm estimate the peak date between now and around 2020. What’s certain is that the global production will go into a permanent decline within our generation.

“One of nature’s biggest forces is exponential growth” 

(Albert Einstein)

At a current average global consumption growth rate of 2% annually (1995-2005), by 2025 the world will need 50% more oil (120 mbd), and the International Energy Agency (IEA) admits that Saudi will have to double oil production to achieve this, which is not feasible in even the most optimistic scenario. And that’s not even taking into account that 80% of the world is only just starting to use oil & gas. In recent years, energy demands from mostly emerging economies have increased dramatically in populous countries as their oil consumption per capita grows. The International Energy Agency estimates that 93% of all incremental demand comes from non-OECD countries. Therefore, in time oil prices will continue to rise.

Based on Simmon’s analysis, sudden and sharp oil production declines could happen at any time. Even under the most optimistic scenario, Saudi Arabia may be able to maintain current rates of production for several years, but will not be able to increase production enough to meet the expected increase in world demand. There is no likely scenario that some new frontier can replace Middle East oil declines.

From Wiki leaks it has emerged that Senior Saudi energy officials have privately warned US and European counterparts that Opec would have an “extremely difficult time” meeting demand and that the reserves of Saudi have been overstated by as much as 40%.

“Even an attempt to get up to 12 mbd would wreak havoc within a decade by causing damage to the oil fields. 
-Saudi Aramco official

Exxon Mobil Corporation, one of the world’s largest publicly owned petroleum companies, is the most forthright of the major oil companies having had the courage and honesty to quietly publish the declining discovery trend, based on sound industry data with reserve revisions properly backdated. Furthermore, the company is running page-size advertisements in European papers stressing the immense challenges to be faced in meeting future energy demand, hinting that the challenges might not be met despite its considerable expertise. Chevron recently joined their campaign publishing an advertisement in national newspapers stating that the ‘Era of Easy Oil is Over’ (see here to view full ad).

“Initially it will be denied. There will be much lying and obfuscation. Then prices will rise and demand will fall. The rich will outbid the poor for available supplies.” 

 

The fallacy of Alternatives

The public, business leaders and politicians are all under the false assumption that oil depletion is a straightforward engineering problem of exactly the kind that technology and human ingenuity have so successfully solved before. Technology itself has become a kind of supernatural force, although in reality it is just the hardware and programming for running that fuel, and governed by the basic laws of physics and thermodynamics. Much of our existing technology simply won’t work without an abundant underlying fossil fuel base. In addition, physicist Jonathan Huebner has concluded in The History of Science and Technology that the rate of innovation in the US peaked in 1873, and the current rate of innovation is about the same as it was in 1600. According to Huebner, by 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages. Hence, without sufficient innovation and a comfortable surplus of fossil fuels, we may simply lack the tools to move forward.

With this energy base dwindling, there is simply not enough time to replace a fluid so cheap, abundant and versatile. It is rich in energy, easy to use, store, and transport. Nothing has the bang for the buck of oil, and nothing can replace it in time – either separately or in combination. Wind, waves and other renewables are all pretty marginal and also take a lot of energy to construct and require a petroleum platform to work off.

Natural gas is a diminishing resource as well and cannot satisfy the growing demand for energy. US Gas supplies were so low in 2003 after a harsh winter that to preserve life and property supplies were close to being cut off to manufacturers, electric plants and lastly homes.

Ethanol has a net energy value of zero (not accounting for soil and water damage and other costs due to unsustainable agricultural practices) – it is subsidized as a boon to agribusiness and would have a negligible effect (Prindle, ACEEE).

Solar energy produces marginal net energy, but are still decades away at best from being a viable substitute given the recent rate of progress in efficiency and costs (averaging about five percent a year) and is nowhere ready to meet the world’s energy needs. More importantly, solar photovoltaic cells (PVC) are built from hydrocarbon feed stocks and therefore require excess resources. It is estimated that a global solar energy system would take a century to build and would consume a major portion of world iron production (Foreign Affairs, Rhodes).

The widespread belief that hydrogen is going to save the day is a good example of how delusional people have become. Hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source at all, but are more properly termed a form of energy storage. Free hydrogen does not exist on this planet. It requires more energy to break a hydrogen bond than will ever be garnered from that free hydrogen. The current source of hydrogen is natural gas – that is, a hydrocarbon. In the envisioned system of solar PVC & hydrogen fuel cells, every major component of the system, from the PVC to the fuel cells themselves will require hydrocarbon energy and feedstocks. The oil age will never be replaced by a hydrogen fuel-cell economy.

Coal is abundant, but its net energy profile is poor compared to oil and its conversion process to synthetic fuels is very inefficient. Coal would have to be mined at much higher rates to replace declining oil field. In addition, coal production is extremely harmful to the environment. One large coal burning electric plant releases enough radioactive material in a year to build two atomic bombs, apart from emitting more greenhouse gases than any other fuels.  Coal is implicated in mercury pollution that causes 60.000 cases of brain damage in newborn children every year in the USA. Resorting to coal would be a very big step backwards and what we may face then may be more like the Dim Ages. More importantly,  coal is distributed very unevenly with the top three countries (China, USA, USSR) possessing almost 70% of total. Much of the current oil and gas supply is in low-population countries, such as Saudi Arabia, that cannot possibly use all of the production for themselves. They are hence quite willing, indeed eager, to sell it to other countries. When oil and gas are gone, and only coal remains, and the few (large-population) countries that possess it need all of it for their own populations, it will be interesting to see how much is offered for sale to other countries.

Obtaining usable oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of energy, as it has to be mined and washed with super hot water. From an energy balance, it takes the equivalence of two barrels of oil to produce three, which is still positive but poor in terms of energy economics. In the early days of conventional oil, this ratio used to be one to thirty.

Nuclear power plants are simply too expensive and take ten years to build, relying on a fossil fuel platform for all stages of construction, maintenance, and extracting & processing nuclear fuels. Additionally, uranium is also a rare and finite source with its own production peak. Since 2006, the uranium price has already more than doubled.

Nuclear fusion is the kind of energy that the world needs. However, mastering it has been 25 years away for the past 50 years, and still is…

Fossil fuels allowed us to operate highly complex systems at gigantic scales. Renewables are simply incompatible in this context and the new fuels and technologies required would simply take a lot more time to develop than available and require access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, putting the industrial adventure out of business.

In an interview with The Times, former Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer calls for a “reality check” and warns that the world’s energy crisis cannot be solved by renewables. “Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Just when energy demand is surging, many of the world’s conventional oilfields are going into decline. The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and placing too much faith in renewable sources of power”.

Alternative energies will never replace fossil fuels at the scale, rate and manner at which the world currently consumes them, and humankind’s ingenuity will simply not overcome the upper limits of geology & physics.  

Current Global Energy Production: No substitutes can replace fossil fuels at the same scale & rate at which the world currently use them

 

‘Kayactivists’ protest as Arctic drill rig moors off Seattle

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Kayakers-protest-as-Arctic-drill-rig-moors-off-Seattle-303891431.html

'Kayactivists' protest as Arctic drill rig moors off Seattle»Play Video
A small flotilla of kayakers and other protest boats follow as the oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer is towed toward a dock Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Elliott Bay in Seattle.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) – As a massive oil drill rig moved into Seattle, about two dozen activists in kayaks paddled to the middle of Elliott Bay, linked boats and unfurled a banner to make a stand against Royal Dutch Shell’s plan to open a new frontier of fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic Ocean.

The 400-foot-long rig rising nearly 300 feet above the water dwarfed the flotilla of tiny boats on Thursday, as it passed the city’s Space Needle and downtown skyline and docked at Terminal 5.

The watery protest marked a pivotal moment for an environmental movement increasingly mobilized around climate change, but the scene also suggested how outmatched Shell’s opponents have been as they try to keep the petroleum giant from continuing its $6 billion effort to open new oil and gas reserves in one of the world’s most dangerous maritime environments.

“The environmental issues are big and this is an opportunity to present a David versus Goliath position – the people and the planet versus Shell – and create a national debate about drilling in the Arctic,” said Paul Adler, 52, of Shoreline, who paddled a single white kayak to “unwelcome” the Polar Pioneer.

Environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest are sensing a shift in the politics that surround energy production and have mobilized against a series of projects that would transform the region into a gateway for crude oil and coal exports to Asia.

“These proposals have woken a sleeping giant in the Northwest,” said Eric de Place, policy director for Sightline Institute, a liberal Seattle think tank. “It has unleashed this very robust opposition movement.”

Added Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who joined the so-called kayaktivists on the water Thursday: “Shell’s attempt to use Seattle as a home base for Arctic drilling may be the last battle on the front of Arctic drilling, and the energy I have seen and felt from people in the region is really powerful and it gives me hope that we can stop Arctic drilling.”

hell still needs other permits from state and federal agencies, including one to actually drill offshore in the Arctic and another to dispose of wastewater. But it’s moving ahead meanwhile, using the Port of Seattle to load drilling rigs and a fleet of support vessels with supplies and personnel before spending the brief Arctic summer in the Chukchi Sea, which stretches north from the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia.

Hurricane-force winds and 50-foot seas can quickly threaten even the sturdiest ships in the seas off Alaska. But Shell cleared a major bureaucratic hurdle Monday when the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, after taking public comments and reviewing voluminous reports, approved the multiyear exploration plan.

If exploratory drilling goes well, Shell plans to invest billions more in infrastructure to open this new frontier, building pipelines under the ocean and onto the tundra of Alaska’s North Slope, along with roads, air strips and other facilities.

Shell’s last effort to do exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean also left from Seattle and ended badly. The Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk – a rig Shell had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to customize – were stranded by equipment failures in terrible weather, and the Coast Guard barely rescued the Kulluk’s crew. Federal investigations resulted in guilty pleas and fines for rig owner Noble Drilling.

The Kulluk ended up on a scrap heap in China. Shell is leasing the Polar Pioneer in its stead, again backed by the Noble Discoverer. But Shell says it has gained vital experience and can safely drill on its leases in the Chukchi Sea, as well as the Beaufort Sea, an even more remote stretch north of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith called Monday’s approval an important milestone that “signals the confidence regulators have in our plan.”

Officials in Alaska have welcomed the drilling, even flying to Seattle this week to lobby for Shell’s plan. Labor groups representing port workers noted that Foss Maritime is employing more than 400 people already to service the Shell fleet.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, for his part, is strongly against hosting Shell’s fleet, warning that the port could face daily fines because it lacks the proper permit.

Those fines would amount to no more than $500 a day for the port – a tiny drop in a very large barrel if Shell, one of the world’s largest companies, manages to recover billions of gallons of oil from the Arctic Ocean.

Seattle’s environmentalists, however, have a sense that their time is now.

“Unless people get out there and put themselves on the front lines and say enough is enough, then nothing will ever change,” said Jordan Van Voast, 55. “I’m hopeful that people are waking up.”

When the Kulluk was being prepared in 2012 for Shell’s last Arctic venture, “it wasn’t this big civic moment,” recalled KC Golden, a senior policy adviser for Climate Solutions, an organization advocating for renewable energy.

But “now it is,” Golden said. “That’s a measure of how the awareness has grown. I think it’s a moment for Seattle.”

Blissful, Willful Ignorance

Ignorant people are lucky. It must be nice to skate through life choosing to be clueless of the unfairness and injustice going on around you; that you are a part of; that you’re causing; that you benefit from. But then again, you’d have to go through your life harboring a lot of hatred for the messenger; for the competition; for the things you can’t control, no matter how hard you try.

No, maybe willful ignorance wouldn’t be so blissful after all. How can a person be ready when the shit inevitably comes down, or make peace with their part in it? Are they going to stand around scratching their heads, asking themselves, “Wha’ happened?” Or, “Where did all this human evil come from?”

The world may seem like a relatively nice, peaceful place right now, but that’s only because non-human nature has been taking the brunt of human avarice.  While some of us carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, most people just float through life. And though there’s no doubt about their willful ignorance, the blissful part may be getting ever more elusive.

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