It's like using a squirt bottle to put out the brush fires in Australia

This started out as just a comment in reply to Dystopian's reply to my rant about the Shallow Victories of Environment Movement In Texas, but exploded into this...

First and foremost, Dystopian, I truly do not mean to insult anyone. At least not on purpose. True, I picked on TCE but lumped all Texas Environment Groups into my essay title, as you rightfully pointed out. Pardon

To characterize one groups doings as 'the shallow enviro movement in Texas' is an insult to many thousands of Texans that have spent their lives fighting for, saving, and protecting millions of acres of habitat among many other things.

Now, I'm gonna ask a question, and I do not mean to offend, BUT, what does “protecting millions of acres of habitat” do for reducing our dangerous levels of carbon emissions, which, according to NOAA, the week of Jan 5th 2020, Co2 emissions were at 413 ppm? (I reckon it would be might hard to quantify, no?)

Now, I would like for you to consider, that all across America, state legislatures are gutting state environmental agencies budgets and enforcement mechanisms.

From the Energy Integrity Project:

We found that 31 states reduced funding for their environmental agencies’ pollution control programs, with 25 states imposing cuts of at least 10 percent. Forty states reduced staffing levels at their environmental agencies, with 21 states cutting their environmental workforce by at least 10 percent. Overall, states eliminated 4,400 positions at agencies responsible for protecting the environment.

Over the same time period, Congress and the White House cut the U.S. EPA’s funding for pollution control and science by 16 percent (adjusted for inflation) while reducing its workforce 16 percent by eliminating 2,699 positions.

And If you look at their interactive map, Texas has reduced it's environmental agency's budget since 2008, by over 35%. Shok

Also consider, Texas is experiencing a boom in oil and gas production. From the TexasObserver

The explosive boom in the oil and gas industry has ushered in a rapid, nationwide buildup of new oil, gas, and petrochemical facilities across the supply chain. In Texas and Louisiana alone, this new infrastructure could lead to more than half-a-billion tons of added greenhouse gas emissions each year by 2030, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. That’s equivalent to 8 percent of the United States’ current annual emissions and is roughly equal to emissions from 131 coal-fired power plants.

The report is unique in that it not only measures the projected emissions at the site of drilling, a well-studied area, but also considers the outputs from elements further downstream in the industry supply chain—pipelines, refineries, and petrochemical operations—that are overlooked more often. As the report found, new petrochemical and refinery plants popping up all along the Gulf Coast are expected to produce the largest share of new emissions, 46 percent of the total half-billion tons.

(bold emphasis mine)

Additionally, it's not all about carbon emissions. From the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP)

Beyond just greenhouse gases, the 157 oil and gas related projects planned by 2025 would also likely increase pollutants that are immediately harmful to public health. According to their permit documents, the facilities could emit every year up to 119,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, which are a component of smog; 11,100 tons of fine particles that contribute to asthma and heart attacks; 8,800 tons of sulfur dioxide, which damages the lungs; and 47,200 tons of nitrogen oxides, which feed fish killing “dead zones” in waterways.


About half (76 of the 157) of the future projects are planned for Texas or Louisiana. These new or expanded plants could produce 145 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, accounting for roughly 75 percent of the expected increases from new oil and gas-related projects across in the U.S.

But most importantly, here's the real ass kicker from The Hill

Despite leadership from so many states, the overall U.S. emissions picture is bleak if we don’t do more. As we squeeze the emissions balloon downward in some states and economic sectors, emissions are simultaneously expanding upward in others. The net effect: nationwide carbon emissions rose rapidly in 2018 — the biggest increase in eight years.

Texas is the leading culprit. The emissions increase from Texas alone has erased reductions from all states in the West and Northeast, combined.

Texas’ carbon emissions surged 20 percent higher from 2009 through 2016, an increase of 108 million tons.

(bold emphasis mine)

My question is this, how can any Texas Environmental Group really claim any "victories", when our states Carbon emissions are canceling out almost every other states actual victories, in actually reducing carbon emissions? It's absurd to me! Scratch one-s head

In my view, as Bernie might say, if our "environmental groups" actions, not just here in Texas, but cumulatively, are not effectively decreasing / reducing carbon emissions, there is no victory. Dash 1

And to be sure, "legislation" is meaningless in this day and age, when corporations can just run rough shot over that legislation, pay a fine and it's business as usual. Hell, usually these corporations find a way to write off those fines or a large portion thereof, so we the tax payers, wind up subsidizing their crimes! How it that a victory?

Just, take a look at this list, from GoodJobsFirst.Org

All those companies violated our Environmental laws, but only got fined. Fool

Now, think for a moment, XR Rebellion, SchoolStrike / ClimateStrike, Sun Rise movement, and a couple of other groups, have all come into being, SPECIFICALLY because the US environment movement has FAILED for the last 30 years to really accomplish anything towards reducing our dangerous levels of Carbon emissions.

Oh, and not to mention hardly anyone is addressing the dangerous levels of rising methane in the Arctic, which combined with rising Co2 levels, means we are on the path to extinction, a lot quicker than people may think.

Look, I don't mean to insult anyone, but I'm tired of these Environmental Groups claiming "Victories", when they are meaningless compared to the emergency we face, especially when Texas increased carbon emissions since 2009 are canceling out other state's carbon emissions reduction efforts.

Incremental change at this point in the Climate Crisis we are facing as a species, it's like using a squirt bottle to put out the brush fires in Australia.


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dystopian's picture

well, geez... now I wish I hadn't have said anything. This will teach me. btw, sure have a good username. I am sorry but I really don't have time for this. I have cut in more quick thoughts than I have time for. I will not be around to watch the fire... too busy doing something to try to help educate others about the environment.

what does “protecting millions of acres of habitat” do for reducing our dangerous levels of carbon emissions,

These millions of acres sequester carbon and protect biodiversity. Most involved in the environmental movement consider these two key items towards protecting our future via having functioning ecosystems with things like pollinators, etc.

My question is this, how can any Texas Environmental Group really claim any "victories", when our states Carbon emissions are canceling out almost every other states actual victories, in actually reducing carbon emissions?

see above

Having all that preserved land and biodiversity 'in the bank' is a great victory, sorry you can't see that. My neighbor has 5000 acres in a land bank for Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo habitat. He and I and many others consider that a victory. There are thousands of these stories. Preserved habitat sequesters carbon and preserves biodiversity bro. It is as important as stopping fossil fuels IMHO.

One day folks will wake up and realize fossil fuels and platics have to stop now. There has to be a wholesale awakening of the public for change. We have to get off of fossil fuels, and in particular three things: the military, plastics, and fracking. The latter two are the two key drivers of the petrochem uptick of late in TX and LA. Only the questionable 'Cheney loophole' allows fracking. It would be easy to undo for anyone except for a neolib or conservative. They could never do it.

And to be sure, "legislation" is meaningless in this day and age,

The neolibs were not as bad as the neocons for the enviro, but today's oligarchy has dialed abuse and deregulation to levels never seen before nor thought possible. We need a revolution. Some of us have been working on it for over 50 years, others complained.

Sometimes much enviro legislation is done at a more local level. With a pencil and a piece of paper I changed two Gardena City Council member's votes and saved the 10 acre Gardena Willows, the last patch of willow riparian in Gardena. Stopped a Food King. The habitat remains today.

With a threat to go to Home Depot for locks and chains for the bulldozer just left on site, and then call the news, I stopped a million dollar tax boondoggle that was going to concrete Malaga Creek for 'flood control'. Less than 24 hrs. before it started, emergency
city council meeting called in Rancho Palos Verdes. The habitat remains saved today.

Over a decade as vice-chairman on a very large park advisory board pushing for grant money via CA proposition funds (legislation) for my former beloved park, which finally got 100 million and has been hugely restored habitat-wise, in L.A.

There are countless stories like mine from CA, all over America and Texas. We are saving pieces of the puzzle whilst others try to throw them away. Or you can complain about it.

Incremental change at this point in the Climate Crisis we are facing as a species, it's like using a squirt bottle to put out the brush fires in Australia.

I never met anybody in the environmental movement that was for incremental change. Millions of little people doing millions of little things to help are not the problem. Big biz, consumaholism, affluenza, and the worship of money is.

The big solutions we need will only arise from a wholesale public awareness. The disinformation campaigns have worked very well. Why aren't we getting true correct information out there? Big money, big CO2, big media, big military, etc.

Enviro education has always been one of my things. Many thousands like me are out there working at it. Sorry we remain a minority, where many don't listen preferring to deny the science and listen to propaganda, or complain about it.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

janis b's picture


appreciate your contribution to a better quality dystopia. One with less ranting and more doing.

3 users have voted.
PriceRip's picture

          "dystopian" and I speak from a similar perspective even as (you all know full well) I do not speak for "dystopian".

          Part of the nightmare we face is that too many Nebraska farmers are able to get government subsidies for growing corn. So large swaths of Nebraska are devoted to raising corn, year after year after year after year after year … (do you understand????) I doubt that you do understand, and I doubt you really care to understand, so I will go on …

          The corn supported via "federal food" subsidies is not raised for food, it is raised for production of ethanol to be used as a fuel. This is profoundly asinine as the energy to produce the ethanol is greater than the energy generated by the ethanol when it is used as a fuel. So those of us fighting "in the trenches" have done more toward reducing the worlds carbon footprint than you effete environmentalist snobs.

          Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.


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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.