Heat waves, floods, and forest fires – what taste of the climate crisis have you had this summer? This year has been another grim example of how the climate situation has become so violent that more and more it is no longer just the threat of the world to come, of what we will leave to our children. Our present is already in crisis. In this situation, in the face of this reality, the only alternative is action. We must radically change the way we interact with each other and our planet.
Faced with this emergency, it is not difficult to find voices saying that we need to pressure the government into imposing laws to keep the big oil companies in line, to establish new environmental standards, or perhaps to make tax benefits that promote green technologies. Their idea is that politicians, industry, and the market itself can get us out of this mess. But what evidence do we have that working with the same people that caused this issue can have a significant impact on solving this problem?
A recent study shed light on this question. It found that lobbying groups working for those pushing for environmental reforms simultaneously work for large fossil fuel companies. Let that sink in. The same lobbyists who are supposed to fight for climate reforms are in the pockets of big oil. For example, the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense Fund shares lobbyists with ExxonMobil and the Calpine energy corporation. In Maine, lobbyists for NextEra Resources, an oil and gas power plant operator, are also representing two environmental groups trying to fight the climate crisis. And the city of Baltimore, which is suing oil companies for environmental damages, shares a lobbyist with ExxonMobil, one of the defendants in the case. Basically, the oil companies have double agents, infiltrators who allow them control of legislative agendas, and to control the representatives we have supposedly elected to look out for our interests.
Clearly, this is not the way for us. We cannot win like this because the game is rigged. Politicians and lobbyists are not working for us, and they never will. We cannot depend on them. But there is another way. It begins with the realization that we must depend on ourselves, the workers and our allies, as a united and organized community.