Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pipeline Blues

TransCanada can buy anything
I should write a song about the pipeline but I'm nursing two huge blisters on my fingers from absently playing the bass guitar so it will have to wait. I figured this AlJazeera article was about a Trappist Monastery.  In one of my desperate circumnavigations of America I saw a little arrow on a map of Iowa saying there was a monastery, and even in 1992 I was considering a total separation of Oggy and Society so I aimed for that arrow and during a snow storm that my little Datsun 200sx was totally unqualified to deal with I arrived at that Monastery around 10PM. I went to sleep in my car, as I always did, and a few minutes later I heard a knock on the window. For fuck's sake! Had the cops followed me miles into the corn pastures during a blizzard to force me to move on? No, it was a hooded monk, carrying a candle lantern, worried I would freeze to death and inviting me to stay in one of the novice rooms. It was like a scene from the 16th century as a faceless brown cloaked figure covered with snow and illuminated by a single candle was offering sanctuary with God. And so began my visit to the New Melleray Abbey, which is closely related to the Assumption Abbey in Missouri in the article. I really considered staying there forever, chanting at 3am, making jam and fruitcake, but I decided it wasn't yet time for that path.

Trappism is what drew me to this article and I was amused to see TransCanada has purchased ad space on a website that generally leans toward alternative fuel news and evidence of an approaching climate apocalypse. Well, anything can be bought, it seems and the ad leads to TransCanada's propaganda website. I think it's an effect of programming algorithms that had their ad appear on a page about an Trappist monastery but such is life. I don't think TransCanada appreciates that the main objection to the pipeline is not the pipeline, but the acceptance that the tar sands from Alberta will become fuel, and that means all the oil in Texas will also become fuel and it's recognized by extremists that such an outcome will be equivalent to total surrender by the Environmental movement. I mean that the amount of carbon released by burning all existing oil will definitely answer the question of if mankind can destroy the climate. In other words, either that will definitely hasten the apocalypse, or all the scientists are completely wrong. The pipeline itself has certain dangers and benefits but it's the concept of what the pipeline means in the long run that has people concerned. Arguably, pipelines are safer than railroad or barges, but safer, in this case, for enabling the use of more oil, which the science suggests is a sure way to destroy the climate. Humanity can not survive a 4C degree increase in temperatures and we’re already destined for a 2C increase so embracing the pipeline and making no change in the status quo of energy use will guarantee the 4C increase…so the pipeline is merely a symptom of carbon addiction. It’s the crack pipe of the energy junkie world and while a crack pipe is not in itself a big evil, it is evidence of a larger problem and we can’t address the larger problem while enabling the manufacturing of a 2000 mile long crack pipe. Far from supporting science such a decision is basically saying all human efforts need to be concentrated on burning this menace known as petroleum, burning it or spilling it, so that not a drop remains in the Earth so help us God.

I’ve concluded that the safest bet someone can make is not Carolina -6.5 over Arizona, but instead betting against the end of the world. If it happens then you don’t have to settle the bet, and if it doesn’t happen then you’re also safe. Taking steps to mitigate the end of the world is for fatalistic losers. TransCanada should not take it personally, they are in the energy and pipeline business and the resistance to their chosen profession is not an attack on them personally but a defensive position that argues the simple maxim: if nothing changes then nothing changes.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.