Published on March 30th, 2019 | by Chris Cartelli0
Ethics, Pollution, & Suffering
March 30th, 2019 by Chris Cartelli
The Egg Shell Democracy
The environment is not a political issue, it is an ethical issue.
The United States is a plutocracy masked inside an egg shell democracy. Facade — noun: “an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.”
Corporate lobby money has bought and paid for our politicians and skillfully dichotomized our country’s people for the sole purpose of keeping a handful of individuals wealthy at the expense of the people and the environment – all the people and the environment of the country and the entire planet. Don’t expect America to come to their defense. Corporations want to keep both in the political arena because they can control and mold them best there.
Ethics is a tricky subject. Ethicists will tell you that morality is relative to culture and society. (See: moral relativism.) The closest we can get to defining absolute immorality is in the taking of another life. The premise is that, in taking another life, we cut short an individual’s existence and end their ability to experience life and be moral.
The true barometer of morality is suffering. When we cause suffering to another individual for our own ends, we are acting immorally. This transcends societal boundaries and cultural mores.
Man will always find a way to justify his transgressions, regardless how fragile that justification is. He will diminish and label insignificant those things that do not support his desired ends. We all do this to one degree or another, but it takes a special (not in a good way) person to do it on a grand scale. At some point, the human conscience enters into the equation and, for most of us anyway, supersedes our rudimentary immoral desires.
Laws are made to protect innocent individuals from the claws of those so void of human compassion for their fellow man that they simply, without any remorse or concern for the suffering they bring to others, trample human rights for their own selfish benefit.
For these elite (again — not in a good way) individuals, we have “special” names. We define their actions as sociopathic and godless. We lock up the Bernie Madoffs and Paul Manaforts of the world for a good reason — they cause wide-scale human suffering. They are not fit for society, and those who think “white collar crimes” shouldn’t warrant prison couldn’t be more wrong. Any individual that causes great suffering to another individual for their own ends should be removed from society and prevented from causing suffering to anyone else. It is a good sign if a society recognizes and addresses these assaults to humanity — all is not dead and there is still salvageable life in the system. Unchecked, such actions reflect a system in chaos — America hasn’t reached a completely chaotic state — yet.
Tobacco as an Example
Here’s the rub. Take a tobacco executive who hires an ad firm to directly target minors with the purpose of getting them “hooked” early on in their lives. Does that individual fit the description of a sociopath who creates suffering for his or her own benefit? After all, he knowingly fosters poison on children, something that will eventually kill a human being. You might say, “the child has free will, he doesn’t have to smoke the cigarette!” We could go on with this debate from both sides. We could, for example, argue about the propaganda that keeps people smoking even though it kills one in five. What about the tobacco chemist who secretly concocts that addictive mix? Is he moral?
“There are approximately 599 ingredients in cigarettes. When a cigarette is burning, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. … These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT,” QuitSmoking.com notes.
Here’s the problem and what separates the tobacco and the fossil fuel executives along with their ilk from the majority of society — a complete lack of conscience and compassion. They are godless sociopaths and you and I are not, regardless how much they smile and say they love America and their families. Their one goal is filling their own coffers to excess at the expense of society, the environment, and anything else that causes them to fall short of that end. Feel free to interchange tobacco and fossil fuels if you haven’t already. They are twins working in different industries.
We’ve known for a long time that the fossil fuel industry has used tobacco tactics to create doubt around climate change.
“Koch Family Foundations have spent $127,006,756 directly financing 92 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997–2017,” Greenpeace reports.
They’ve done a thorough job. They know that their business is directly affected by people’s perspective of climate change. The more they can “defuse” climate change and bury pollution, the more people they can convince that it is a “hoax” and that it’s not anthropogenic. Bottom line — the more they can go on polluting the planet unencumbered and make lots of money. Make no mistake, fossil fuel is the greatest world polluter — bar none — including compared to what you may have heard about farm animals.
“The world’s biggest farms pollute more than any oil company”
What’s wrong with this statement? Sure, meat and dairy are creating problems, but the suggestion is that, “Gee, oil isn’t that bad really. See, it’s not us causing pollution, it’s ‘them.’ The truth is that they’re both causing major problems.”
Fossil fuel loves these kinds of statements, but I’ve written here before about the crippling pollution of the ICE (internal combustion engine) and the fossil fuel industry. Decide for yourselves — The Massive Cost & Burden To Society & The Environment Of The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).
The fact is that pollution is directly responsible for human suffering and that makes it an ethical issue, one that is squarely on the shoulders of the fossil fuel industry. The fact is that fossil fuel directly causes death. And the fact is that the fossil fuel industry knows about it.
How Much Death?
“Fossil-fuel combustion by-products are the world’s most significant threat to children’s health and future and are major contributors to global inequality and environmental injustice. The emissions include a myriad of toxic air pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the most important human-produced climate-altering greenhouse gas. Synergies between air pollution and climate change can magnify the harm to children. Impacts include impairment of cognitive and behavioral development, respiratory illness, and other chronic diseases—all of which may be “seeded“ in utero and affect health and functioning immediately and over the life course. By impairing children’s health, ability to learn, and potential to contribute to society, pollution and climate change cause children to become less resilient and the communities they live in to become less equitable. The developing fetus and young child are disproportionately affected by these exposures because of their immature defense mechanisms and rapid development, especially those in low- and middle-income countries where poverty and lack of resources compound the effects.”
“The results of a new study conducted in the rapidly expanding Denver metropolitan area indicates children living near heavily traveled streets or highways are at significantly greater risk of developing cancer, including childhood leukemia.
“The researchers found a correlation between high volumes of traffic on streets or highways near homes where incidences of childhood cancer previously had been documented. The study was authored by Robert Pearson of Denver’s Radian International, University of Colorado at Boulder electrical engineering Professor Howard Wachtel and Kristie Ebi of the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto.”
The truth is, we simply don’t know how much death and suffering the fossil fuel industry causes. We don’t know because of something called accountability.
Have any of you ever wondered why the chemical company Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) fought so hard to stop the labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms)? GMOs are dangerous enough on their own account because we don’t know the long-range effect they will have on the environment. That’s compounded by the fact that they are engineered to resist herbicides and pesticides, specifically glyphosate in products like corn that farmers feed cows to fatten up milk production. Glyphosate has been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a California lawsuit just honored that finding for a man with NHL.
They fought the labeling because it would lead to a statistically factual disease trail directly to their door. Hiding that trail and fighting labeling is the smoking gun, the proof that they knew their pesticide was killing people! Their “reason” for fighting labeling? It would cost too much to label for different markets. The truth is manufacturers label for different markets all the time.
We don’t have an accountability model for the fossil fuel industry. They don’t want one any more than Monsanto did. We have no idea how much human death and suffering fossil fuels are responsible for and we have no idea how much environmental damage they have done. There are simply too many variables. How much of each individual’s cognitive function has been affected? How much shorter is the life of every single living thing on this planet? We don’t know!
The Moral Dilemma
Every day, we see more examples of wealth buying corruption. Present systems will very likely not remove from society the handful of super wealthy individuals who knowingly on a daily basis hide facts and propagandize fossil fuels, the underlying cause of the greatest suffering and destruction known to man.
Life is not measured in bank notes and social amenities. The actions of humans (or lack of actions) taken with respect to our fellow humans and a planet responsible for everyone’s wellbeing are not measured by any one corporation’s flawed yardstick. These things are in the providence of Gods not easily fooled by clever slights of the hand, lies, and propaganda.
The care of the planet is a moral issue. We are stewards of every grain of its sand in the most fundamental way. To abuse or ignore that fact is an immoral action that is directly responsible for human suffering.
It’s Time for a Radical Change of Thinking
“It’s not possible to resolve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” — Einstein
Confronting a bought and paid for government that ignores a planet in distress and the suffering of mankind that fossil fuels create takes real work, but despite the massive wealth driving that propaganda machine, it is not insurmountable.
The first and most important step is to change our thinking.
Climate change is a sore wound today. Monied propaganda has divisively used it to create a schism in America and has made enemies of its people. The ploy of “divide and conquer” has undermined everything — we all lose. Healing this country and the environment will not happen without dissolving this destructive divide.
America is not “blue” vs “red.” We have been fooled into picking sides in an imaginary war. The question we should ask is who benefits from that division? Do the people? Does the environment? No, both suffer — immensely. The plutocracy running this country benefits, the useless politicians whose only goal is re-election benefit.
The false belief is that one side will stand victorious. This is the grandest of illusions, the magician’s greatest trick. As history has proven time and time again — the system will collapse.
It’s time to get our people out of the mines and support education efforts to help them transition to better lives. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel. It hurts all Americans and it burdens the planet unmercifully with pollution. Bringing back coal doesn’t help people or the planet. It helps the Don Blankenships and Mitch McConnells who have never been our friend.
It’s not time to reach across the isle. It’s time to remove the isle. It’s time to put the welfare of the people above the welfare of the few. It’s time to stop making enemies out of our neighbors and it’s a time to stop labeling states and stereotyping people. We all want the same thing in the end. We want our loved ones safe, we want our environment healthy, we want to live in freedom, and we want our dignity.
America is way down the list of those things in the world — and sliding. Now it’s 18th on the list of happiest countries.
We live in a great masquerade, an Egg Shell Democracy, but we have allies. As I’ve written before at CleanTechnica, we have technology and technology will change the world regardless of what the fossil fuel industries want. The best fossil fuels can do is slow progress down, but like the invention of the wheel, the electric vehicle will change transportation and renewable energy will power our planet — they are just better. Like cell phones, home computers, radio and television, and every other technological advancement known to man, no political engine can stop or reverse their forward march and no system in history ever has — never. Sure, fossil fuel industries will propagandize and diminish these benefits and work to build hate around them, but fossil fuels simply can’t win. There’s a world out there and that’s the direction it’s going. We’ll go in that direction or be left behind. Our work is to bring this country into the 21st century — as one people.
We have technology which brings us cleaner, safer, and better power.
We have the internet. We have this wonderful voice that echoes around the world, let’s make it clear and truthful.
We have a world that is moving away from fossil fuels and we have automakers gearing up to EVs.
We have flexibility, corporate machines are heavy and slow. They’re talking about climate change, I’m moving on to world pollution. The world is seeing climate change daily. The best fossil fuel propaganda can do is say it’s not anthropogenic. That voice gets dimmer and dimmer, major floods in the Midwest are seeing to that. First climate change wasn’t happening, now there’s nothing we can do about it. What’s next? Everything the scientists predicted are happening.