The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin

The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin

Author:Jeremy Rifkin
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group

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We need to grasp the full implications of the imminent collapse of the fossil fuel civilization. Environmentalists and social justice activists have for decades been fighting the economic power that the fossil fuel culture has wielded over the global marketplace, the governance of society, and our very way of life. In recent years, we have become more and more terrified over the toll that the fossil fuel sector and related industries have taken, bringing us to the precipice of runaway climate change and an extinction event.

Where things stand now was a long time coming. In October 1973, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) slapped an embargo on oil delivered to the United States. Within weeks, the price of gas skyrocketed from $3 to $11.65 per gallon at the pump, with long lines of automobiles stretching for blocks around their local filling stations with drivers desperately waiting their turn for the privilege of pumping a few gallons of gas into their vehicles.

This was the moment that the public, for the first time, felt the heavy hand of the oil giants, accusing them of being complicit with the OPEC nations by taking advantage of the embargo and spiking the price of gasoline to ensure record profits off the crisis. The public’s anger was boiling over in neighborhoods across America.

With the 200th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party just weeks away, the comparison between the East India Company of two centuries ago and the big oil companies of today struck a chord. My organization, the People’s Bicentennial Commission, which was established a year earlier to provide an alternative to the federal government’s celebration of America’s 200th birthday in 1976, reached out to local community activists in Boston and New England with a call to protest the giant oil companies. Over 20,000 Bostonians joined us in a blizzard, tracing the steps of the first Tea Partiers from historic Faneuil Hall down to the Boston wharf, where a replica of the original East India ship was docked and the mayor and national officials were huddled to open the ceremonies. Local fishermen from Gloucester sailed up into Boston Harbor and docked alongside the replica ship and climbed the masts, dumping empty oil drums into the harbor while thousands of protesters chanted “Impeach Exxon” and “Dirty oil, polluted world,” initiating what The New York Times would call the “Boston Oil Party of 1973” in the next day’s edition. This was the first protest in America against the giant oil companies, to our knowledge, but it would be far from the last.

After forty years of protests against Big Oil all over the world, suddenly the tables have turned. The fossil fuel sector, once seemingly invincible, is quickly collapsing before us. It’s happening at a speed and on a scale that we could barely have imagined just a few years ago. While we will have to remain vigilant in taking on the oil industry, we will also have to quickly begin building a green culture from the ashes.


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