In all of the navel-gazing that climate activists conduct in order to figure out why the world is on the highway to carbon hell, one thing that's easy to forget is what we're up against: Gigantic, tremendously wealthy entrenched interests whose only goal is to maintain the status quo right up until the Once-ler burns the last of our fossil fuels. In other words, corporations.
Corporations fund the climate denial machine, lobby for subsidies to keep themselves viable long after the social and environmental costs of their ways have become egregious, and at the slightest provocation, sic their anointed party on any alternative energy that should threaten their unsustainable model.
That's why it should be no surprise that a movement aimed, at least vaguely, at reducing the power of corporations should be appealing to anyone who cares about the future of life on earth.
Last night Treehugger's Brian Merchant, one of the web's most avid reporters of climate and energy politics, joined the Occupy Wall Street protests and was profoundly moved by the experience. He joined many other protestors from Bill McKibben's 350.org climate action group, invigorated by recent actions against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Here's what McKibben had to say in an email to supporters:
For too long, Wall Street has been occupying the offices of our government, and the cloakrooms of our legislatures. They’ve been a constant presence, rewarded not with pepper spray in the face but with yet more loopholes and tax breaks and subsidies and contracts. You could even say Wall Street’s been occupying our atmosphere, since any attempt to do anything about climate change always run afoul of the biggest corporations on the planet. So it’s a damned good thing the tables have turned.
"If Wall Street is occupying President Obama’s State Department and the halls of Congress, it’s time for the people to occupy Wall Street,” added Phil Aroneanu, U.S. campaigns director for 350.org.