Before reading this article, you may be interested in this one below. It provides some background information into water and how to achieve water security.
One of the oldest problems environmentalists have faced is the false dichotomy created by the environmentally destructive companies and their cronies between job growth and environmentalism. The world is filled with false dichotomies. The corporate media and government demand we take sides: red or blue, liberal or conservative, and so on. Some individuals parade around like the tough guys because of their big gas guzzler, physical stature, ability to do harm, money, or sexual prowess, but being tough is not about power, wealth, domination, masculinity, or femininity. These words and many others like freedom, democracy, and justice are primarily used as tools used to control people. To be “grown up” or mature is one of the most patronizing concepts. We all mature in different ways. Age, gender, ethnicity and all of these barriers make us believe we are so different when we are not. We are all human and we all have the same needs.
To me what makes a person brave or mature is defending all forms of life (aside from parasites) and ecosystems, regardless of the personal risk involved. But civilization does almost nothing but destroy nature. Protection and preservation ought to be a part of everyone’s job. Otherwise, why do it?
Being hawkish and dovish are just behaviors, yet we are taught we are either one or the other for life. Being for peace or a healthy planet doesn’t make you a dove. Being for peace doesn’t mean you’re not willing to die to defend yourself or others. You can be a “soldier” or a brave person, regardless of your color, class, ethnicity, religion or anything else. But we must always remember what we’re fighting for. Fighting for justice, global peace, equity, and ecological welfare is the only fighting that makes sense to me. If conservatism is taken literally as behavior that conserves, then it is in line with more traditional “liberal” or libertarian thinking. Conservatism is usually more associated with corporate interests, hawkishness, and the status quo, but these traits are had by democrats and republicans alike in Congress and other positions of great power. I believe common people in these parties, however, have a lot more in common than they do separating them and the labels don’t get us anywhere but create sectarian divide.
Some people who call themselves “environmentalists” don’t practice what they preach like self-identified “conservatives” who don’t have any real interest in conservation. Many republicans and democrats in Congress are tied to big oil, big banks, or another big industry because big, centralized, exploitative industry gets them reelected. They are not representing us. No one is capable of that but ourselves. Our politicians are so concerned with increasing domestic oil production in America, they have neglected the environmental destruction caused by drilling, fracking, off-shore oil, refining, and burning fossil fuels. Allegedly, their goals are to create energy independence for America. But they are doing that at the cost of our environment and robbing other countries of opportunities to trade with us for better sustainable technology than America currently produces. America also has a debt of $16.5 trillion. Most countries don’t want to trade with the US because of this incredible debt and this attitude in Washington and Wall St. like it’s not a priority. American exceptionalism and greed fuel the unsustainable growth of the debt. “Isolationist” policies assume borrowing money from other countries and drilling our reserves is the best strategy. But America doesn’t produce the kind of beauty most of the rest of the world produces and we need that beauty. America is less bio-diverse, more monopolized, more behind in its food system and transportation, more fractionalized, and more war driven than most of the world. But that is a reality we could easily change just by collectively thinking differently and organizing to fight the corporate state.
The simplistic, polarizing narratives have to become a relic of the past. Conservation of the environment and our lives should be our first priority if we all want to live, be happy, and have future generations. Greed is a disease that gets in the way of this. Wall St. isn’t just a place, even though it is concentrated in financial districts. We are all capable of being greedy. It is a behavior that can infect us all. Endless war, destruction of the environment, and terror are financially and ideologically profitable to the rulers of the planet. The most destructive industries in the world are the military industrial complex, prisons, oil companies, politics, propaganda, large pharmaceuticals, big agri-business, banking cartels, and central banks.
Most of the world’s industries function on fossil fuels when they don’t have to. Many economists naturally come to the conclusion that anything that undermines the giant, bloated, government-subsidized oil industries is going to undermine their profits. But the Earth is far more inherently valuable than fiat currency.
Nearly everyone in industrialized countries has their hands dirty in the oil industry. I owned a few small cars and an old hybrid, and I wasn’t always so conscious of how much gas I was using. I just walk now, take public transportation, or carpool. I loved two of my cars though. I honestly thought they represented me in some way. Like most people, I couldn’t afford the electric or hybrid cars. Cars with combustion engines were the only affordable option for me, but this is not because the technology didn’t exist then.
The first electric car was built late in the 19th century. The reason we don’t have more sustainable technologies in America is simply greed, which fuels the illegal seizure of land, (we can’t forget America was stolen from the indigenous population) often rich in resources, whether they be oil, precious metals, stones, drugs, or just information. But oil happens to still be in abundance, regardless of all of the extraction. It is just still seen as a “resource” we “need” to extract because so much money is still made from doing it.
If more sustainable technologies were allowed to flourish and be produced in mass, then we would all be able to see the benefit in switching and have the ability to do so, and oil would cease to be profitable. But the very people in control of the oil want to delay this from occurring as a long as possible, because the Earth still has a great deal of oil to extract, but at what cost to the Earth? The people who make the real money off oil are addicts who aren’t concerning with the future.
If we really want to keep our cars because they represent some kind of freedom to us, then I think we should completely re-imagine the car and all industries, in fact. So many industries run on fossil fuels or another unsustainable resource like coal or precious metals. There were about 5.4 million car crashes in America in 2011 and 30,800 fatal car crashes in America in 2012. (An interesting side note is that according to the CDC, there were 27,483 deaths from unintentional falls in 2011, 36,280 deaths from unintentional poisoning, and 126,438 deaths from unintentional injury. Many things that look unintentional are intentional.) Cars do give us freedom that I appreciate, but I also see that transportation of all kinds in their current state are also destructive, labor intensive, and not as rewarding as they could be.
The 3-D printed Urbee One produced by EcoLogic weighs 1200 lbs, and it can get across the United States with ten gallons of gasoline. But even this very impressive feat of engineering is probably not nearly as efficient as it will be two years from now given the funding. It could probably be made with less than 500 lbs of printable material. This would substantially reduce risk of death in accidents and eliminate the use of metals and other resources that are mined and unsustainable. Fire trucks and ambulances could feasibly be 3D printed as well.
An electric 3D printed motorbike could be made from perhaps 250 pounds of 3D printable, biodegradable plastic, and a ten pound recyclable bicycle could likely be made the same way. Even 3D printed trains, buses, and airplanes could be made from biodegradable plastic and limited metals (and some wood perhaps) that run completely from solar with flexible solar cells covering all outside parts of these vehicles and very lightweight batteries holding the energy. However, even solar cells require precious metals and the chemicals used to make batteries need to be extracted from the Earth. Therefore, the real solution to ACD is to stop using so much energy.
I believe greed and the vain desire to control and conquer is one of the most pervasive problems that haunts the 21st Century. It is the only thing holding back incredible progress in the world. Meaningless industry is a problem. Creating bad jobs for the sake of creating jobs is a problem. Too many struggling people are willing to take a job that does something destructive because it pays.
Too much infrastructure and impervious concrete is also a serious problem. Impervious concrete doesn’t allow for water to pass so the Earth underneath becomes eroded and dead. We already have many roads and a tremendous amount of impervious infrastructure eroding the ground and creating pollution, but do we want it? Other cities have used canals for travel like Venice Italy. Boston recently proposed building canals instead of roads just in case the rising sea levels flood their streets: This could be a good idea. Another good idea may be to switch from private to public only transport. But people love their cars (like I did). So another possible solution is to build raised tracks instead of roads. Water could be absorbed by the soil underneath the tracks, which would allow for less erosion of the soil underneath and some vegetation could even grow below the tracks. Even privately owned and operated cars could operate on tracks like this and they would cost less to construct than asphalt roads. Cars on tracks could also be owned by the public, so that all people could use them according to their needs. (Similarly, farms could use mobile tracks or sliding tracks over patches of crops to work over them instead of making dirt pathways between crops. This would allow for more intensive planting and less erosion of the soil.)
Big cities don’t serve their intended function. I say that having lived in one for most of my life. I prefer nature. Many people come to big cities because they think they will become closer with others when big cities more often tear people apart because of the inequality and exploitation. I have lived in Providence, Rhode Island for most of my life, and while there are things I like about it like AS220, organic restaurants, and the art scene, I still prefer being in nature. I lived in West Roxbury MA for a little over a year in a nice small apartment. I liked the city, but I never could imagine myself living closer to the heart of Boston. Like most of my friends in Boston know, it can be a nightmare to drive in, especially coming in and out. When there is a popular game at Fenway, the whole city can be in gridlock I’ve seen the BPD shut down streets because of the traffic.
Another problem with big cities and other very densely populated areas is waste management is made more difficult. Since many people don’t have a backyard in them, urea and fecal matter are usually collected by complex sewer systems. These sewer systems and their complex treatment plants cost a great deal of money and time to build and they are carbon intensive. But urea and fecal matter are both natural additives to soil. Fecal matter is only dangerous when it is un-composted. Urea meanwhile is sterile and can be added directly to soil to increase its potassium content. Developing countries suffer the most from waste problems, but waste management is really fairly simple. Composting toilets are the simplest, cheapest solution that is best for the environment. To make one a hole just has to be dug in the ground that is used as a toilet and filled with some straw or another source of carbon (twigs, wood, etc.) at a ratio of 30:1, (30 parts sources of carbon and 1 part a source of nitrogen like fecal matter.) Some extra worms may need to be added depending on the soil and the compost has be turned or forked to provide the detritus feeders with the oxygen they need but aside from that nature does the rest. Once the hole is full, nothing should be added and in just a few months, the hole will be full of a rich soil additive. Because so many people live in dense, concentrated cities, many don’t have their own land or even a backyard, so they can’t make a compost toilet. This is one reason big cities are so problematic. They are truly disasters for the environment.
It is not naïve to start with a vision of the world they way we want it to be and build from there. It is naïve to think that by taking jobs that pay, regardless of their impacts, we will ever get to where we want because the “unguided hand” of the market is really a guided one. It is guided by powerful, parasitical tryants and their greed, vanity, and propaganda. Many of the Ancient Egyptian slaves built pyramids not because their leaders had their admiration, but because they were enslaved. They felt they had no other option. The same is true today. Monuments are built to our rulers and financed by them, and we forget they weren’t built because of our collective admiration or any actual sense in building them. They were built because our financial rulers decided they were “necessary” and they convinced us this was true or they at least bought us out.
In the poorest regions of the world, the options are less limited, so resorting to working for fossil fuel industries or other destructive trades is more understandable. In many regions of the world, the oil, coal, and other unsustainable industries are the only ones made clearly available. Illicit gas drilling and sales too are very common in oil rich, cash strapped regions of the world. But oil is a zero sum product. One person’s gain (say, a nice trip in a gas guzzler) could mean some other organism’s death or our collective death if we keep extracting oil, using it, and expecting no consequences. The same is true of our use of synthetic plastics. We have to recycle everything we use and compost. There is really no need to throw much of anything away. (Dry paper can also be burned and added to compost.)
I believe money ought not be anyone’s sole goal, because it is not what we really need. We need a habitable planet and vital life-saving resources and services. The purpose of a job is to make a living, and there are nearly an infinite number of ways to do that. Taking away the oil industry should not mean taking away anyone’s ability to make a living. The world is extremely abundant in resources, even with all of the foresting, drilling, mining, fracking, mountain top removal, exploitation, and other destructive activities. This is not cause to continue these activities but instead to stop them entirely and reverse their impacts, so we can take care of the Earth (practice sustainability and stewardship) without compromising our ability to survive. I would argue that if we do this, the only thing we would lose are dangerous, harmful jobs that very few people like doing.
Most people know that gas is nasty, toxic stuff. My dad’s father worked at a gas station for a few decades and he died of brain cancer, possibly due to the environment he worked in. Ironically, he also had stock investments in Standard Oil. (An interesting side note is that this Trust dissolved in 1911 when the US Supreme Court ruled Standard was an illegal monopoly that violated antitrust laws. But it didn’t go away; it dissolved into 33 smaller companies. John D Rockefeller became the richest man in the world as a result. He and his family became majority shareholders. Sohio (Standard of Ohio) was created that same year in Cleveland Ohio. Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) became Exxon. Standard Oil Co. of New York (Socony) became Mobil. Standard Oil Company (Indiana) or Amoco became BP, which was originally the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Standard Oil Brazil originally owned by SO of New Jersey is now Exxon. The ownership of various pipelines was also broken up. Union Tank Lines and the Solar Refining Company of Lima Ohio were also sold off. Standard Oil of Kentucky was bought by Standard California, which became the Chevron Corporation, (Texaco was later acquired by Chevron) and Standard New York was bought by BP. Standard Oil likely broke apart when it realized it couldn’t, by itself, cap the development of more sustainable technologies, and the Supreme Court’s decision was almost more symbolic than it was effective.)
Human and ecological welfare can feed each other. Just as we exhale carbon dioxide that plants use, they sequester the carbon, freeing the oxygen molecules we breathe. They also give us food, medicine, timber, rope, and a number of other resources. The organisms “lower” on the “food chain” also provide us with food. But if we treat organisms based on their status on the food chain and abuse nature, it will abuse us. If our ruthless economic rulers just stopped trying to divide and conquer the Earth, our potential could be limitless. We could have justice, peace, and whole-Earth health today. We have more than enough resources to achieve this.
This isn’t some grand utopian vision. It could be real. It just requires the will and the information to know how to make it happen. The will doesn’t exist right now in mass mainly because of partisan propaganda from our financial rulers. They make it economically damaging for industries to switch from gas to renewable sources of energy and really take care of the Earth. Some oil companies like ExxonMobil own patents on solar, but they don’t develop panels, so they can hinder the solar industry and keep selling oil. Shell has solar competitions wherein they push the limits of solar technology without ever making it available to the public. Some of Shell’s Solar Racers have gone 1300 miles per gallon of gasoline. But these cars aren’t going into production, not because the demand is absent, but because the owners of the oil industries don’t want the most efficient, sustainable future. They just want money, so they stagnate innovation and sustainable growth. I believe they’re putting money into solar just so they can buy the patents and never produce them until it becomes absolutely necessary to continue making money. Their bottom line is still money. Otherwise, they wouldn’t hold their solar patents, but instead be producing the more sustainable technology they already “bought.”
One of the biggest myths pushed by the oil industry is that renewable energy just isn’t efficient enough to meet the demand for energy currently being met by the oil industry. The problem is that the oil industry wants a simple solution if they can’t keep using oil. They want to start producing solar cells should gas become less profitable. But the real answer isn’t any one technology. It is a mix of technologies, lifestyle changes, (using less energy) and fundamentally a concern for the Earth and future generations. Because oil and other destructive habits are so entangled in our everyday lives, untangling them is going to be a process, but one well worth doing for us and future generations of life.
The last thing I want to be accused of is pointing to problems without solutions or pointing to problems aside from my own. The solutions exist already, and I have talked about many of them. They include but are not limited to recycling our own recyclable products, composting our own waste, growing our own food, building nonprofit, organic community food forests, building rain collectors, ensuring everyone has the ability to disinfect their own water, not littering, only using what we need, being stewards of our environment, reaching out to the homeless, stopping those involved in destructive activities, and eliminating hunger, homelessness, dehydration, and chronic disease.
One of the most dangerous, pervasive pieces of dogma is that there is an “underclass.” But there truly isn’t. No one is better than anyone else. The “underclass” is just anyone the government, pigs, religious institutions, and the corporate media want to shake down, which includes pretty much everyone. Cops don’t look for people breaking the law. They look for “suspicious behavior.” They create “probable cause.” They decide what due process means. They don’t have to go to law school or even know the Constitution. Becoming a pig is, in fact, one of the easiest ways to make a buck that exists. The same is true of being a soldier in the US. There is no course on peace in the military or required education in peace and justice studies.
We humans could go completely off-grid through the use of solar, geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric power. We could make cable and communications giants like AT&T and Comcast a thing of the past by setting up communal, collectively owned radio towers. Then, these telecom giants wouldn’t have our information to sell, and the collective environmental impact of the smaller radio towers would be less damaging. We could also set up forums and social networking sites in which all content is owned by each user, but is free to share. We could also abandon our big banks by divesting from them, and choose instead credit unions, community banks, or cyptocurrencies. Animal and plant diversity would grow and the Earth would be more stable a result. The biggest lie large corporations ever told us (and continue to tell us) is that we need them. We need them like we need Dengue fever.
Other solutions to these problems include collectivizing schools, freely sharing information, disregarding intellectual property rights, (the “invisible hand” of our financial rulers monopolizes on life-saving information and services with copyrights; they are like the glue that holds the exploitative first-world together) and practicing sustainability in everything we do. There is no one “market” solution to global climate disruption; only human and Earth-based solutions. We can’t let the oil industries profit from getting us out of the mess they catalyzed, and they won’t get us out of this mess anyway, because their greed will make them stick to oil and other destructive industries as long as physically possible.
Movements like Occupy and Anonymous shouldn’t get discouraged. I’m proud to identify with both of them. We are making a difference, but we can’t let the MSM to continue to control the narrative. Although combating propaganda is exhausting, it is well worth doing if it makes progress. We are accused of not having an ideology or leaders because we are open-minded enough to have no leaders and to listen to everyone equally. The MSM wants to peg us as “one thing.” But we are diverse. We have many different religions and some of us have no religion. We are old and young and our skin colors and backgrounds are different too. We have solutions, but they have just been silenced, arrested, and moved off of financial districts and “back where we belong.” This will continue to happen so long as big money gets to define the narrative and the zeitgeist.
Please do me a favor if you have read this far (and thank you for doing so): Don’t listen to just me. Instead, research constantly. I’ve spent most of my life doing that. That’s how I’ve come to my most nuanced understandings. Life experience informs you a great deal, but since your experience is unique, it has to be looked at in context with everyone else’s experiences. The solutions will be communal, so long as communities have the will and common people of the world stand up for ourselves in the face of unbelievable endless lies, apathy, division, and hatred. We all want and need the same basic things: food, water, shelter, healthcare, education and maybe some love if we’re lucky. That is not theoretically hard to accomplish.
30% of Germany’s electricity is powered by renewable sources like solar, wind, and biogas. In 2010 370,000 Germans were employed in the renewable energy sector. Germany proposes cutting greenhouse gas consumption by 80–95% by 2050 and having 60% of their energy from renewable sources. They also want to up their electricity efficiency up by 50% by 2050. In Sweden 60% of the energy already comes from renewable sources. About half of their power is generated from hydroelectric power plants. (However, their construction creates pollution and displaces and kills wildlife.) About 35% comes from nuclear power. Sweden aims for a fossil fuel free vehicle fleet by 2030. They also make use of tidal energy, which is a very underused technology. Solar panels and wind turbines could also be installed on wave energy converters to increase their effeciency. Solar panels could be added onto wind turbines as well. Flexible solar cells on buildings are also a huge technology that will expand immensely. They could offset the pollution and erosion from large concrete buildings.
About 85 percent of the total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources. [i] In 2011, 65 percent of Iceland’s primary energy was derived from geothermal. 20 percent was generated from hydropower while only 15 percent was generated from fossil fuels. In 2013, Iceland also began collecting and using wind energy. About 85% of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy. There is also no standing army; there is a per capita GDP of $50,006, and they put all of their corrupt bankers in jail. Thinking about moving to Iceland yet? The only drawback to me is the evangelical Lutheranism. They have also had greater resources for sustainable growth. I don’t mean to say their country is perfect by any means. No one country is right now. But there are lessons to be learned from Iceland and other more sustainable countries.
All of the Nordic countries are far more sustainable than America, China, Russia, (China and Russia are both more bio-diverse than America, however) and the other major polluters. This is likely because the Nordic governments are more directly democratic, less centralized and militarized, and more focused on surviving, instead of destroying. Electricity in Norway is almost entirely generated from hydroelectric power plants, but they live on a grid like most of us, and they are a large oil exporter. They have exploited their offshore oil reserves like most of the world.
Hydroelectricity in the Nordic countries, however, is an issue of contention because of the environmental impacts that come from creating hydroelectric power plants and their effect on ecosystems. Hydroelectric power does not hinder ecosystems. Water is a plentiful resource, and we could feasibly set up hydroelectric plants that run on water devoid of life. That way no ecosystems would be compromised. But unless we can do that without generating pollution or environmental harm, then I believe they are no more of a viable solution.
What the Nordic countries and other more environmentally concerned countries are doing around the globe with energy is really impressive considering America and China’s rulers both recently gave lip service to climate change, saying they would make reductions by 2030 long after either of the two speaking are in power. The fact that these empty statements still get applause boggles my mind. Obama bragged about increasing offshore drilling, fracking, and drilling on government land over and over in the 2012 Presidential campaigns. And China’s President incumbent, Xi Jinping, has similarly made lip service to the idea of addressing climate change while many of China’s major cities are cramped, polluted, overbuilt, and very much dependent on the very hard-working poor and middle-income makers.
I believe Obama and Xi Jinping are not the fundamental problems though. They are not exactly our rulers. They are the puppets for the real financial rulers. But if they actually represented us with their power, then few people would complain. The central problem is unchecked, unregulated, centralized power combined with greed and false entitlement. The select few in power have to have their power taken back by the people. They can change the world with the stroke of a pen by vetoing or approving some sweeping measure while we common people cannot.
One person can make a big difference, especially those in power, so the argument that politicians in power are just puppets who cannot control anything is only a half truth. They are mostly puppets but they do have power. We all make decisions every day about who we want to be. In a way we are all a bit like puppets. We are influenced inevitably by many people and things. But this is not a problem if we surround ourselves with good people we trust. We can transform overnight. No one’s hands are truly bound because “to be owned” you have to believe you are owned. Even if you are in chains, they can’t own you, unless you believe you are owned. If you can still control your mind, you are free. That doesn’t mean you should accept your chains but instead use your mental freedom to rise up against your masters and achieve physical freedom. We can’t be ruled by any type of “authority” that says they know better. We have to have free minds and free ourselves first in order to liberate others. “New” rulers are not the solution. They have never helped. We need radically different anarchist approaches to life if we want to have any chance of a future for life on Earth.
Religion is a tool often used to control our minds in a similar way, but that doesn’t mean we have to give it up necessarily. We have the right to believe whatever we want. But we have to choose wisely if we want to live. If we follow the wrong person, group, or school of thought, we will be misled. That is why I choose not to “identify” too much with any one group or school of thought, unless it is extremely broad. I like Earthism, humanism, and anarchism for these reasons. I identify with Anonymous and Occupy because they are loosely collected. They are leaderless. They are very far from homogenous. There may always be some disingenuous person to take something good and use it for selfish benefit, no matter how beneficial it may be. Environmentalism is case in point. Those with their “eyes on the money”, see the potential profit in identifying as “an environmentalist.” But those getting elected are never people passionate enough to do something like camp out in a tree that is consigned for destruction and risk being cut down with it.
Despite what the government of China says, their corporations and banks are still working within the global markets dominated by greed. So even if some are state-owned, operating within that framework it is impossible to meet public need. Many state-owned corporations within the US are the same way. Publicly funded libraries and education are great, but under-funded. The way money is divided within the public and private sector is incredibly unequal because they are so unfairly woven.
Which Companies Are Destroying the World?
China National Petroleum Company (also called the Sinopec Group) is the fourth largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization as of July of this year. Their revenue was CN¥ 2.945 trillion in 2013. [ii] Their revenue was $378.025 billion USD in 2011. The Sinopec Group, also called the China Petrochemical Corporation is Asia’s largest oil refining and petrochemical corporation. It is headquartered in Chaoyangmenwai, Beijing. Su Shulin was the Chairman of Sinopec until he became governor of Fujian province.
CNOOC Group or China National Offshore Oil Corporation is the third largest oil refining company in China. It is also headquartered in Beijing. The group’s revenue was 70.92 Billion Renminbi or $15 Billion USD last year. This may sound like a lot money (and it is, of course) but it is dwarfed by the largest oil giant on Earth: Saudi Arabia’s oil company, Saudi Aramco (أرامكو السعودية), located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It is most popularly known just as Aramco or the Arabian-American Oil Company. They own the largest oil field in the world, Ghawar field, and Safaniya field, the largest offshore oil field. Khalid A. Al-Falih is the President and CEO. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi is the Minister of Petroleum. Their revenue was US $951 billion (2012) with assets worth more than $2 trillion, making it the world’s most valuable company.
Saudi Aramco is selling oil for about $10 a barrel right now, which is dirt cheap, but it is still making money hand over fist because they control the OPEC cartel and global oil prices. If Saudi Aramco started selling oil for $1 a barrel right now, oil would flood the market and global prices would reflect that. Gas would probably be 50 cents a gallon in America. Saudi Arabia’s people do benefit from their oil richness. They have a higher per capita GDP than most of the Middle East. But of course, the owners of the company receive the largest share by far.
For many people oil is part of the “solution” because it is another resource. But do we really need it? Does Saudi Arabia or any other country need it to survive and have sustainable growth? As stated there are nearly an infinite number of ways to make a living. But these options are made limited and made to look even more limited than they are. Saudi Arabia’s government has been ruled by dictators, dogma, and extremism for decades. (An interesting side note is that Saudi Aramco was hacked by the Cutting Sword of Justice with the Shamoon virus. Their systems were down for a week before they could fix them and they lost a good deal of money. Attacks like these can be quite positive.)
In case you hadn’t heard of Saudi Aramco or Sinopec Group or CNOOC Group, I should mention a few other oil giants roaming the globe with impunity. British Petroleum (or BP) headquartered in the United Kingdom had a revenue of $396.217 billion in 2013. Aside from making billions selling oil, they’ve also had numerous oil rig and refinery explosions and chemical leaks. A significant recent example was the major oil spill in the Gulf Coast in 2010. BP makes some solar as well.
The Chevron Corporation in the United States made $220.264 billion in 2013. The company is most active on the west coast of North America, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Southeast Asia, South Korea, South Africa, and Australia. In 2010, Chevron sold an average 3.1 million barrels per day (490×103 m3/d) of refined products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. It has also been responsible for environmental damage in Ecuador, oil spills in Angola and the coast of Rio de Janeiro, destroyed forests in Bangladesh, and stolen gas from Poland and Romania.
ExxonMobil Corporation made $420.836 billion in 2013. They have had major oil spills including one in Yellowstone River and they have funded global warming disinformation and denial. If you want to know more about this, I would suggest checking out Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. ConocoPhillips is another smaller US oil giant.
Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands had a revenue of $451 billion revenue in 2013. Royal Dutch Shell’s revenue was equal to 84% of Netherlands’s $555.8 billion GDP at the time. Total SA in France made 171.65 billion euros in 2013. Total operates the Yadana natural gas pipeline from Burma to Thailand and is currently the subject of a lawsuit in French and Belgian courts for condoning and using slavery to construct the pipeline. Check out the documentary ‘Total Denial’ or the NGO Burma Campaign UK for more on this. Italian executives of Total SA have also been arrested for corruption charges.
In April 2010, Total SA was accused of bribing Iraqi officials during the rule of former dictator Saddam Hussein to secure oil supplies, dubbed the UN “Oil-for-Food Programme” for Iraq. A United Nations report later revealed that Iraqi officials had received bribes from oil companies to secure contracts worth over $10 billion. They have also bribed Iranian officials to give them access to Iran’s Sirri A and Sirri E oil and gas fields. The Securities Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice settled the charges, expecting Total SA to pay $398 million, more than the oil fields were estimated to be worth.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is another government owned oil giant. Its revenue was $114 billion in 2013. In 1951 Iran nationalized its oil industry, much to the chagrin of the CIA. They killed the freely elected Mossadegh who nationalized it in 1953, and now it’s just in the hands of those who wanted it the most.
Russia’s oil monopoly, Gazprom, (Gazovaya Promyshlennost) was created when the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry was privatized, retaining all assets. It currently drills in the Arctic. It made $153 billion in 2012. The government currently owns 50.01 percent, so it is just narrowly a majority shareholder, which basically means those invested in Gazprom have the ability to change this company from public to private or make it “more public.” Most of Gazprom’s oil reserves are located in the Gulf of Ob in Western Siberia. Gazprom made 8% of Russia’s GDP in 2011 and 17% of the world’s gas. Gazprom Germania own 71% of Turugaz in Turkey. It also owns the majority of Sovkomflot in Switzerland, has a joint venture with ENI in Italy, and owns NTV global network in Israel. Centrex Europe Energy & Gas AG is an international group of companies that basically launders money for oil companies like Gazprom and ENI.
Lukoil (Лукойл) is Russia’s second largest oil company and its second largest producer of oil. In 2012, the company produced 89.856 million tons of oil (1.813 million barrels per day. Headquartered in Moscow, Lukoil has 19.3 billion barrels of oil and operations in more than 40 countries around the world.
Italy’s largest oil empire and largest company, ENI, (Ente Nationale Idrocarburi or the “National Hydrocarbons Authority”) is headquartered in Rome. It has operations in 79 countries. Their capitalization was 90 billion in 2013. 2.012% of the company is held by the “People’s Bank of China.” ENI UK drills in the British claimed North Irish Sea.
Turkey doesn’t have an oil giant, (aside from the Turkish Petroleum company, but even that only made $3.5 billion in 2012, which is nothing for oil giants) mainly because of Russia’s Gazprom. Instead, there is Erdoğan, a highly corrupt and vain dictator willing to fund the oil industry at whatever cost. Erdoğan opened up the Blue Stream gas pipeline from Russia into Turkey in a joint venture between Gazprom and ENI. He also suppresses dissent, encourages discrimination against women, and engages in massive political censorship.
Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (Petroleum of Venezuela or PDVSA) headed by President Rafael Ramirez is a state-owned enterprise. Citgo is owned entirely by PDVSA. It made $114 billion in 2013. PETRONAS, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad owned by the government of Malaysia had a revenue of $100.744 billion this year.
As mentioned canals such as those in Venice could replace roads and if sea levels continues to rise at the current rate, we may not have much of a choice. Increasing wetlands on Earth intentionally isn’t a bad idea. The land masses of the Earth have a natural tendency to move due to the heat from the core of the Earth and the hydrosphere. The very hot core of the Earth produces radiogenic heat as isotopes decay in the mantle and crust, and it also gives off primordial heat from the formation of the Earth. This heat is responsible for tectonic shift, which creates rifts, ridges, faults, mountains, rivers, basins, earthquakes, volcanoes and most natural features and geological processes of the Earth.
According to NASA, the remnants of Pangea will slowly come together again, reforming the super-continent about 225 million years from now. But it is predicted to look much different than the original super-continent. This shift is not based on human welfare or even the welfare of Earth as a whole. Volcanoes can wipe out populations. There is little we can do about that, except prepare and move when they do come (or not live near volcanoes ideally).
One billion years from now, about 27% of the modern ocean will be subducted into the mantle. If this process were allowed to continue uninterrupted, it would reach an equilibrium state where 65% of the current surface reservoir would remain at the surface. This would mean a large extinction event. Again, there is little we can do about this, but I bring it up to illustrate the fact that the there is no divine hand holding humanity together. (In fact, it is often people’s dogmatic conceptions of God that pull us apart most.) Humanity’s recent presence has killed about half of life on Earth, dubbed the Holocene extinction event. However, this man-made extinction event can be reversed by living more sustainably, recycling, growing our own food, reforesting, not using fossil fuels, and instead only using renewable sources of energy. Increasing wetlands I think may be one of the best ways to increase biodiversity and serve human and ecological need. It would also create millions of jobs.
Deserts on Earth will stay deserts unless fresh water comes to them. Humans dig out canals for drinking water and more industrialized cultures pipe their water to transport it. Agriculture is also often supported by digging canals to arid land (or using drip irrigation). If this was done on a much larger scale than it is now, (i.e. digging out waterways to deserts based on human and ecological need) the possibilities could be endless.
Our current waterways won’t always exist, especially if oil giants are allowed to continue destroying the Earth. Climate change and tectonic plate shift can dry up or change the direction of waterways. Opening up bodies of water serves many purposes. However, while I believe we would benefit from aiding this process globally, it would have to be done strictly with human and ecological need both equally in mind. Let’s take the Great Lakes as an example. Though far from a desert, they are polluted and over-fished and farm land around them has suffered from erosion as a result.
The southwestern side of Lake Michigan has far too much infrastructure, and this has also resulted in erosion and greater pollution. Figure 1:
Lake Michigan is one of the most polluted lakes in the country likely due to the fact that residents leave compost and waste along the western side of the river and it is overfished. The most heavily populated coastal regions of the US like the coast of Louisiana, New England, and Virginia are fished too much as well, resulting in less biodiversity and more pollution. Water quality is still poor in America, despite the Clean Water Act of 1970 and others like it that have been effective, just not universally enforced. The EPA stated “There are more than 20,000 such waters identified nationally, comprising more than 300,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than five million acres of lakes. The overwhelming majority of Americans live within ten miles of a polluted waterbody.” But we can fix this.
While many people would object to digging out waterways through their city or major roads, opening up bodies of water through unpopulated, less biodiverse, eroded regions with a great amount of pastureland used for caged livestock and traditionally farmed land would be welcomed by plant life, animals, farmers, and common Americans alike. (This could also be done globally.)
Ideally, new dug out water ways should not run through small farms either, but instead through large tracts of land being used for monoculture of one of America’s staple exports like soybeans, wheat, corn, or cotton. By rerouting the flow of water in such ways, there would be a natural increase in fresh water and biodiversity. Water from these waterways would add water to currently drier, eroded soil. This would ultimately increase the health of the surrounding underground and aboveground ecosystems.
Initially, digging up the Earth on such a scale would kill some underground detritus feeders and other underground life, but if only eroded land was dug where there isn’t much underground life, this would also increase the amount of available freshwater for human use and for all life, which would result in much greater biodiversity.
The Southwest wasn’t always so dry in America. America used to be lush with life. Modern, conventional monoculture with synthetic pesticides, insecticides, GMOs, and automated everything in the Southwest where the land is treated like a commodity has been the cause of much of the desertification. These farms employ as few farmers as possible. Instead, large aquifers are drained by pumps and sprayed mechanically over crops to reduce labor costs wherever and whenever possible. The chemicals used on these crops ends up in water-ways and causes eutrophication. Salts in the soils rise to the surface when there is little water around and the ground loses tilth.
By increasing the world’s wetlands, the habitats of fresh water fish would also increase. Rain would start to fall where it hasn’t normally in weeks or months. Submerged vegetation would spread, (and this process could be aided by humans by planting it) and ultimately oxygen levels would increase in the water and more carbon would be sequestered. Fruit and nut trees could be planted along these new waterways to increase carbon sequestration and oxygen in the atmosphere. These trees would have a steady supply of water and they would attract more types of life, as well as offer them a supply of food.
To illustrate this idea, I edited the image above. I mostly connected rivers and opened up lakes to them to give greater water access to dry areas and conventionally farmed areas while avoiding urban and forested areas. Doing this would cost billions of dollars, of course. But it would increase America’s biodiversity, food production, fresh water, oxygen, and reduce pollution. This is a rough drawing. There are many factors to consider and it would have to be a process wanted by the majority of citizens. Locals in collaboration with geologists, agronomists, and climate scientists could decide where waterways should ultimately go.
This is not a new idea. It has been done all over the globe, but not at the scale I’m suggesting and not always for the same reasons.
Let’s take Africa, as another example. Most of Northern Africa is arid and dry. Acquiring safe drinking water can be difficult, so if the Nile was opened up to West and North Africa or new rivers were dug from the top of the continent in, safe drinking water could be more widely accessible. Similarly, in China and India the major rivers there could be diverted to cover the more arid regions while planting new seeds along the way. 40% of China’s rivers were polluted by industrial and agricultural waste by late 2011. This crisis is compounded by increasingly severe water shortages, particularly in the north-east of the country.
In Brazil the Amazon River could be opened up to more of South Brazil without destroying any of the beautiful jungles, and instead expanding them. In order to reverse the global climate crisis we must protect the jungles, old-growth forests, and national parks from resource exploitation. Sustainable forestry can be done with very well-managed timberlands. We don’t need much wood anyway and it is senseless to take it from jungles we need. We already grow more than enough timber to meet our needs for construction. Bamboo and hemp can also be used for construction and take far less time to grow.
If this process of increasing wetlands and reforestation was done according to human and ecological need without discrimination biodiversity would flourish. There would be less over-fishing, illegal hunting, and exploitation of resources in general because they would be more abundant and their use more sustainably managed.
The world we want and need and the world we have now are vastly different. Water, food, and other life-saving resources go to the highest bidders, not those most deserving. They are not allocated by need, and one could argue this is the source of most of the world’s problems. If we started city planning with an entirely different framework, building and planting by need, as opposed to greed, this could be feasible. We need big ideas to change big problems.
One might argue that this is a foolish, overly ambitious idea or a vain attempt to control nature. But the reality is that we already do control nature. We impose our will on it everyday, whether we mean to or not. Our excessive roads, infrastructure, dams, logging, drilling, mining, fracking, mountaintop removal, and all of our pollution destroy ecosystems and people in them. The process I am suggesting is instead biomimetic. It would speed the progress of nature and evolution.
Finally, I hate to bring up geoengineering because it’s often labeled a “conspiracy theory” but geoengineering companies operate openly and the Air Force has admtted to doing it. We can all see them in our sky. They spray ice-nucleating, sun reflecting particles in order to (mainly) control the weather and vainly try to offset global warming without actually reducing fossil fuel consumption. That is senseless vanity.
What we have been doing hasn’t been working well enough to fulfill our needs and the world’s needs, so we need vastly different approaches. If you want to do something for yourself, start by helping someone else or at least free your own mind of its biases, prejudices, and everything that you feel is harming you. A world wherein human and ecological needs are met is not a pipedream. It can be reality given the will and determination.