My inbox is full of reminders that this Friday, September 15, 2023, is the Global Climate Strike; marches and demonstrations are happening everywhere (here in Vancouver, starting 1PM Pacific at City Hall). But I’m not going. I’m too angry, angry enough to be stupid.

September 2023 Global Climate Strike

We’ve been marching and demonstrating and petitioning and getting arrested for decades and yet greenhouse gas emissions are not going down. Forests are burning, cities are sinking. This last summer, full of the hottest-days-on-record, will be one of the coolest that today’s children will ever experience. The deaths have started.

The way forward starts with something like The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has received enthusiastic waves from Pacific nations, the European Union, and the state of California, and so far has had no effect.

Fossil Fuel non-proliferation treaty

You can yell all you want but nobody with any power is listening. People may cheer some of the better planks in the Biden Inflation Reduction Act, but everywhere I look, governments are still robotically approving every fossil-fuel extraction project that comes across their desk.

In Canada, our national police force has been enhanced with an attack-dog division specifically for busting up climate-justice activism.

Here’s the thing: That march is going to downtown Vancouver, infested with big glassy glossy storefronts for all the banks and “energy” companies. The Canadian banking sector’s annual profits are in excess of a thousand dollars per citizen of Canada per year, and includes some of the largest financiers of fossil-fuel extraction operations on the planet. I am so emotionally bent out of shape I might do something really stupid in that environment.

Maybe, millions of people marching all over the world this week will make a difference this time. I really hope so.

I sign the right petitions and donate money and am working on a publishing project (will blog soon). I would really like to find something else useful to do that would move the needle. I want it to be non-violent. Eventually, without effective action to stop the burning and drowning, the violence will start. I won’t help start it. But just now, I have to stay away from situations where it could happen.


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From: Rob (Sep 13 2023, at 11:58)

I see some brave folks have organized one here too; protesting fossil fuels can get a little uncomfortable here in Calgary. I'll see if I can slip away from work for an hour & get yelled at too.

But anyway, I expect you will have some Albertans attending your Vancouver events:


From: KAR (Sep 13 2023, at 15:09)

The date is wrong in the first line of the post (should be Sep 15, Fri).


From: Ryan Baker (Sep 16 2023, at 10:00)

I appreciate your concern for preventing climate change, but I think part of the reason you are pessimistic and angry is that the strategy you're backing here was never a particularly realistic or powerful one.

The difference in strategy is supply side vs. demand. Trying to choke supply of fossil fuels never seemed like it could work.. it'd be wack-a-mole, and a lot of the moles were hiding in places you had no chance of reaching.

In addition to that, if it ever did succeed, the next outcome would be something would break. People might change behavior when oil, gas or coal was less readily available, but they certainly weren't going to be happy about change that was introduced that way.

Developing alternatives and undermining demand always seemed the more powerful strategy. And that's why I'm more optimistic now, because that strategy has had a lot of success and is at what I see as the final tipping point. Emissions growth may not have reversed globally, but the rate of growth has slowed to almost nil, and actual growth has reversed in many important places.

Now, that's not to say the supply side protesters were destructive. I think it helps.. just less than the other aspect. I tend to think if a few more people had believed in demand side (providing renewable energy) solutions we might have got farther, but there's definitely ways that supply side resistance helped undermine the forces that were just as intent on stopping demand side solutions. Especially true in the coal area, one place where supply side had real impact in accelerating change.

But in the realm of oil and gas, yeah, if you thought supply was the only solution I'd see why you'd be pessimistic about progress.


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September 13, 2023
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